Monday, September 22, 2008

I Want to Write for Wald

There. I said it.

This flies in the face of not one but two of my formerly held beliefs. One, that the four years I spent writing ad copy were a soul-sucking evil that will take years (nay, decades) to erase. Writing advertising is like throwing up: When it's over, you can spit and swish and gargle all you want, but you're still going to taste the bile long after you've flushed down the remains of yesterday's lunch.

The second formerly held belief is that all things Wald are cheap, heavy, and have no place on a "real bicycle." Sure, a Wald basket may be just the thing for collecting scrap aluminum on a Huffy, but no self-respecting Cyclist with a Capital C would ever strap two tons of Kentucky steel on a refined double-diamond thoroughbred. No way, no how.

The revelation that has changed my mind for good is the Wald website. I don't know who's responsible for it, but there's someone out there having a really good time filling in the copy. It ranks up there with the nameless Nashbar scribe who once desperately fattened up a word count with, "It's not just a kickstand... it's a Greenfield." Granted, it
is just a kickstand, but I can't see one now without thinking of that line.

One example of why I envy Mr./Ms. Wald Copywriter:

The Wald 8069 handlebar provides an industry-unique feature: clothes hanging compatability.
(sic) With a meager rise of 13 inches, you could hang a half dozen shirts on the handles easily (provided you remember to stow the bags so they don't get caught in your spokes).
There are endzone uprights with shorter reaches than these pillars of chrome.
Pillars of chrome! Poetry. And a metaphorical comparison to a football goalpost! Now THAT is good stuff. Unconvinced? Try this on for size:

If commuters are the demigods of dedicated cycling, then messengers are titans of devotion. For those of you a little rusty on your Greek mythology, the Titans held powers usurping that of the gods. Bike messengers have what most might consider a death wish. They stick to their bikes no matter what and are determined to make certain cars, SUVs, buses, cabs, and garbage trucks know they are on the road. If you dare cross into the bike lane they occupy, prepare to be yelled at.

In my days of copywriting, I think I made one tiny stab at a Greek mythology metaphor (likening a gigantic outdoor grill to some obscure, flame-wielding deity -- yeah, I was stretching), and was promptly laughed out of a creative meeting by several spellcheck-deficient graphic designers (it's a tragic ailment of the breed). Meanwhile, over at Wald, some ink-stained wretch (who's probably working on a novel on the side) decides that bike messengers are "titans of devotion" and (envy rising) gets away with it! Beautiful.

So, if any Wald-folk in Maryville, Kentucky are reading, consider this my job application. I'll freelance from here, move to Kentucky, work for chrome fenders and big baskets, you name it.

Now, which one of my bikes needs a dash of Kentucky chrome? Heck, which one doesn't?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Cycle Goes Ad-Free

I admit it, when someone told me, "Hey, you can actually make money just for throwing your words against an electronic wall," I was hooked. That's the writer's dream, after all -- actually getting paid to listen to yourself talk.

But after almost a year, my Google-inserted ads have netted me an underwhelming two dollars and change. The kicker? Those ads only pay out in increments of $100. I'm no math major, but it would seem that at my current rate of return, I would have seen that first check on my 85th birthday.

So in honor of my stunning lack of success as an online entrepreneur/scribe, I've just removed the ads from this blog. From here on out, you read for free, no spam cluttering the view. Hopefully, it balances my karmic account for the four years I spent as an advertising lackey.

I may still spam and/or endorse bicycle-related products in my actual writing, but you can be sure I'm plugging them because I've actually used and enjoyed them, not because they were given to me or I was paid to talk about them. If for some reason that changes (hey, maybe there's a bike company out there just looking for the testimonial of a sparsely-read, fat commuter), I'll be sure to provide full disclosure.