by Lin Stone
|There are two kinds of men in this world; men like my Dad and men like George W. Davis. |
Daddy struggled for years for recognition. George has it thrust upon him almost daily.
Daddy invented the dual headlight system and almost got put in jail over it. George invented necklaces by stringing ticks on a strand of metal; he was written up in the papers and put on national television. Daddy had to pay a fine to stay out of jail, George made thousands of dollars per week until he ran out of volunteers to go get the ticks for him.
Daddy split his lunch with a beggar for two years. Not only did his generosity go unnoticed, one day he had no lunch to share and the beggar brought out a double portion to eat in front of Daddy. George had a wife that did Christmas charity work for six years and nobody ever said a word about it. George showed up for less than an hour of service, and it was written up in the papers -- plus he received a letter of commendation from the charity heads.
There were many, many other instances of similarities between what my Dad did and what George did, with equally opposite results every time. Now, before you go off shaking your head and mumbling about it not being fair and nobody ever gives you a chance either, let me share MY ratiocinations with you.
Daddy had invented the dual headlight system and went down the road flashing them off and on -- just showing off to people in the car how great they worked. And yes, they were great. Furthermore, he attracted attention from the powers that be. In fact, he was pulled over by the Highway Patrol before he'd gone ten miles. The officer began softly enough, but Daddy made a confrontation out of it immediately. "You wouldn't have pulled Henry Ford over for inventing dual headlights!"
George decided that the one thing his area had more of than anything else was ticks, and what could you do with ticks but String them Up! Well, he got to playing around and he did string them up. Very casually he mentioned to a few people that he was stringing ticks up. By the time a reporter got there George actually had a necklace to show off. He didn't say how great an idea it was to string them up, mostly because he didn't think it was. But the reporter assured him it was a good story and set about to make something of the creation. Before you knew it, George was on television.
Is there a lesson to learn there in that comparison? Yes. To make Daddy's invention a success let's go back to the moment he vehemently denounced the Highway Patrolman with "You wouldn't have pulled Henry Ford over for inventing dual headlights!" and ask ourselves, how would Henry Ford have announced HIS invention? Why the answer is obvious, Henry Ford would have held a press conference to show off his new invention. He would have had facts and figures ready to hand and perhaps a working model that reporters could personally try to pierce the darkness with.
Then there's the matter of dress at the time of meeting the press. Daddy was in his tattered, greasy overalls, and George was in his Sunday-go-to-meeting suit and tie. Put these two side by side in an exhibition and which one are YOU going to listen to first? Now tell me it isn't fair! The world is generally fair; it usually treats those people it meets with the same respect that individual gives to the world.
You don't get on the good side of Highway Patrolmen OR reporters by denouncing them.
Editors are the same way. Handwritten story material is not going
to grab the attention of editors anywhere. Type it out, block it up,
and send it to them as if you respected their courteous expectations.
Press releases should receive the same dedication to catering to
expectations. Give it to them the way that makes them smile, not snarl.
You'll find the world is a whole lot more fair when you meet the world on its terms.
The Author: Lin
Stone is the Great Collaborator and Touch
Up Specialist; the Perfect Co-Author. He can help you
straighten out narrative, turn mere words into powerful
quotes and rearrange your faulty story lines quickly.
He is best known for his rock-solid grasp of impertinent permutations.
Here are samples of his feature writing Skills, one written for a new cancer hospital and one on finding the papers of Josh Lee, U.S. Senator.
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