Let’s All Celebrate Being Really Fortunate Dancing Clown Zebras

Chris Rock was recently asked about doing voiceover jobs for animated films like his upcoming Madagascar 3. Was it “hard work,” like some of his cohort thespians claimed? He laughed and said, “Hard work? I stand in a booth, make funny voices and get paid a million dollars. Compared to the guy who drove me to the studio, or the woman who cleaned my house, animation is a gift.”

When I read it, I thought, Oh my God: I’m a much less funny, far less successful, and insanely less rich version of Chris Rock. Compared to A LOT of other jobs in this world, advertising is a gift. Yeah, I said it.

I mean, let’s face it, I make stuff up every day. And aside from the useless stuff—coining names for flat and semi-round shaped sandwich wraps (The Tunarang) or giving said wrap a theme song (Set the Night to Tuna)—I sometimes get to make up really useful stuff. And sometimes, I even get to travel the world, work with incredibly talented collaborators and see my stuff become real things that exist in the real world. To entertain people. And even help them. I just got back from a shoot in Chile for a medication used to treat opioid addiction, and if just one person who sees the spot on air kicks drugs and changes his or her life, well that’s kind of amazing. And more rewarding than helping people achieve shinier floors.

Is it “hard work”? A “tough job”? Well, in context and in the moment, absolutely; there are thousands of decisions to make, personalities to juggle, millions of client dollars at stake and the stress of always wondering if Rodrigo the boom guy in Santiago remembered to turn it on. But when I do stop and pick my head up for a moment, I’m fairly certain, like Mr. Rock, that the guy who drove me to the airport for the shoot, the woman who hauled my bags across the 900-degree tarmac, and Dan Chichester’s personal boot concierge—what they do is, without question, “hard work.” (Two words, Dan: Odor. Eaters.)

So even though I’m not starring as a rainbow-colored-afro-wig-wearing zebra this summer, I’ll still make sure I, too, acknowledge my gift a little more often. Sure, some days it feels like a gift you’d wait on a 7-hour line in a steamy Dress Barn to return, but most days you’d probably agree it’s a gift worth keeping.

And heck, one that’s even worth actually appreciating once in a while.


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