I’ve mentioned it a few times here, and I bring it up at dinner parties a lot, but it bears repeating: I wanted to be a milkman when I was a kid.
There was a picture my mom had tacked up on the wall of my childhood home. It was high-art of the pencil-and-crayon medium, a self-portrait I had made of myself, complete with cap and uniform, driving a boxy truck labeled “MILK.” The “L” was backwards.
If anyone had ever had any doubt that I was at least sort of a lesbian, well, that picture can serve as proof.
The leftover idea of being a milkman has been on my mind a bit of late. I know that a lot of Portlanders have chickens, and many are really into the idea of sustainable farming and where your food comes from (my answers are always “a box” or “a can”) so I figure I could maybe fulfill this childhood fantasy.
When I looked up the history of milk delivery I couldn’t find anything really impressive or comprehensive. Glass bottles are collectible and are valued by antique collectors, often the same kind who have photographs of their cats on their websites. Milk delivery became obsolete after refrigerators were introduced. Some small, rural communities are still blessed every morning by a few glass bottles on their front porch. There is a band known as The Dead Milkmen. There are groups called milkmen that are made up of “fathers who breastfeed.” Etc. Thanks, Internet.
I suppose dairy delivery came into existence when people found cows to be a hassle, or when wives needed someone to canoodle with when their husband went to pre-industry work. I’m not sure. But the crucial step that I couldn’t find in my research is the same puzzle piece missing from my work approach: how the hell do you convince people they need you?
I mean, some dude didn’t just show up at Mrs. Smith’s door with a six pack of 2% and a smile saying, “Howdy, lady. I see you’re in need of some refreshment and are devoid of a bovine.”
And then, later, I’m sure a fridge didn’t simply appear on the Smiths’ linoleum floor. Someone had to convince them that they needed the service, to sell it to them, may it have been with the allure of a sexy milkman or a strapping refrigerator repairman.
So how do you convince someone they need to give you money for something if they believe they’re getting by just fine without you?
As a writer, I see a shit-ton of bad copy. And that’s not to say that I’m the next Dostoyevsky or anything, I’ve had readers of this blog send me emails alerting me to typos, but I am the kind of girl who notices an apostrophe missing from a sign, or that the bar advertisement that has a single, vague sentence confusing “effect” and “affect.” At the age of nineteen I broke up with a girl because she regularly confused “your” and “you’re” and refused to learn the difference. No joke.
I like to edit and to reorganize words, to play Tetris with syntax, to indulge in vocabulary roulette. My businesses partner has a way of describing things that lassoed me in, via email, from across the country after eight years apart. Between his flourish and my finessing we are unstoppable.
But we’re also flat broke and plagued with tiny black ants and concerned that we’ll ever be able to have homes like real grown-ups do.
So my new experiment is this: cold calling. If success is based on a weird equation comprised of talent, good timing, ambition, and luck, I figure that sending a brief email pitching our writing specifically to a company could, in theory, work to bring us work. I am tempted to include pictures of me crying, too. Or maybe photos where I’m pointing to the ants in my pantry, which might actually become some sort of sustainable insect farming that could turn into food. Ant crackers, ant cereal, ant pancakes. Rich in protein! Tastes like ants because it’s made of ants! Got ants?
We’ll see how this cold calling pans out, if anything comes of it or if we come up empty. But my guess is that if there’s a need for a writer, and I call attention to the fact that there are two who are quite capable bursting out of their Inbox, a client might not only be grateful but may also develop a relationship that continues beyond a single project. After all, we made it so easy. But who knows. At this point anything’s worth a try.
I suppose that I could always just start a revolutionary new trend that combines two of what seem to be Portland’s favorite things, dietary restrictions and irony, and become a soymilk woman. Every morning, clad in skinny jeans, a message tee, and a pair of Cazals I’ll leave a few boxes of Vitasoy on the porches of stoned hipsters for a nominal fee.
Lastly, I have to tell you that I think it’s tacky but I did put a Donation button down at the bottom, on the Blogroll. I had to set up a PayPal account after one of the people who reads this blog — other than my parents — sent me some money via PayPal. I politely informed the reader that someone had broken into their email account and had started fucking with them by handing money out to webpages they visited. Turns out that this wasn’t an error, but was just someone being extraordinarily nice and paying it forward, as it were. If you’d like to contribute some milk money you can click on the link. Any little bit will help, and the more money I make off of this blog the more blogging I can do.
I also encourage email if you have any suggestions about the kinds of jobs, or other content, you’d like to see written about. Or just to write me a note because I totally love getting email from strangers who aren’t asking me to “UPDATE YOUR PENI5!!@!” or to buy Viagra.
AinsleyDrew at gmail
And, as always, if you’re looking for professional writing, hit it here.