Friday, June 6, 2008

Test Market

Central Ohio is where ideas come to live or die. After months or years of meetings, planning, research and development, it is Columbus where many companies come to test their new ideas before rolling them out Nationwide. Executives decided somewhere along the way that we are the normal. We are the distilled core of the American Heart. Dripping the Everyman's sweat and blood from every pore, we work and sweat our way to the middle where we believe we'll finally feel comfortable.

Our opinions count, well at least for certain things.

They thought of the Baconator, a burger with approximately 6 pounds of bacon wrapped around it. They gave it to us, and we liked it, so they rolled it to the rest of the Nation. McDonalds pizza was born here. Every time Long John Silvers thinks of something new to deep fry, they load up a truckload of liquid fat and head to Columbus. Advertising executives roll out trial runs for our area, and if effective, they'll take it to the nation. Marketing Analysts spend years studying our buying trends. Department Stores test product placement in our malls and report back to people waiting in offices scattered along the two coasts. We are the deciders of what America will and will not buy. If you have eaten anything in the past month, it is because we ate it first.

It's funny to me that we're referred to as the Test Market Capitol, and that we take such pride in it. We're so damn excited to be considered normal. We revel in the fact that we get to help decide what the new flavor of sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings is going to be. We're special because we're not special. We are a giant tub of vanilla ice cream. Sure, it's good...if there's isn't any Ben and Jerry's around.

Like all things, not everyone in the city falls into the "vanilla" line of thought. We're people, just like anywhere, and we're all different. It's just the identity of the city is kind of shrouded with this boring cloak of the middle ground, and it bugs me. That's why I thought it would be fun to write a story about a normal father and son who live their lives here, do well at work and school, are successful well-liked people, who happen to give in to the urge to torture and kill innocent strangers. I'm calling the story "Test Market" for now, and I'm having more fun writing it than I have had in a long time.

Of course, I've just gotten started, so I'm still optimistic. I am taking steps though to stay interested. First, I refuse to go back and read just how shitty and broken the whole thing is. It's a first draft, and I ain't Steinbeck. Second, I'm just forcing myself to write. Even if it is a page of skid marks, I'm still usually able to pull out a sentence or two that I really like. Sometimes, that will just have to be enough. Third, I'm going to track me down one of those word count bars and post it on here if I can figure it out. There is something about the imagined accountability that I think will keep me going. ("Oh no! I've got to write tonight, otherwise if that one guy from India happens to stumble back on my blog he'll know what a lazy fuck I am!")

So sayeth the shepherd, so sayeth the flock!

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