Looking back on the past few weeks, I notice that I have been way too serious. All of this stuff about politics and dysfunctional families and dishonest professionals… I am tired of it and need a break and hopefully you do too. So in that vein, I present the following:
It seems like everywhere you look there is a mission to bring back the glory days. Remaking movies and television shows, re-recording songs, and don’t get me started on all of the retro fashions and car designs. Did anyone really think that a remake of “Knight Rider” would be better than the original with The Hoff himself?
So I have compiled a list of things that I miss, that will always have a special place for me or that can never be remade or duplicated. Enjoy…
1) MTV (Music Television): There was a time when you could turn on MTV and see music videos, cool dance moves, and hear some funky grooves. Now you turn on MTV and see the celebutantes and talent-less, The Hills and Jersey Shore. Sometimes I just want a cool music video. They say Video Killed the Radio Star, but Video Stars are now a thing of the past too.
2) Socially Aware and Educational Rap and Hip-Hop Songs: Everything I know I learned from rap and hip-hop during my formative years. For example, who didn’t learn from The Fresh Prince that parents just don’t understand, or from Mellow Man Ace that “mentirosa” means “liar” in spanish, or that a white guy named Snow can make millions by rapping about an informer (a licky boom boom now)? Or, to go a step further, have you ever heard better advice than that promoted by Bell Biv Devoe, that you can’t trust a big butt and a smile? This type of music is a thing of the past, overtaken by gangster rap and words such as “crunk” and “chronic.”
3) Non-Political Music: Keeping in the same genre, I miss music that had no point. Nowadays it seems like songs are written to espouse a political conviction. Did “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” have a social message attached to it? When Lionel Ritchie sang about Dancing on the Ceiling, was he talking about global warming? Yet so many songs these days seem to be bent politically. Leave the political stuff to REM, please.
4) Communism: Ok, don’t get me wrong with this one. The tearing down of the Wall was an incredible event in my lifetime. But without the Russians as enemies there was no one else for Tom Clancy to write about. Sure, he dabbled in the arena of the IRA and Middle East, but his best books dealt with Communism and Glasnost and the KGB. And I blame the fall of Communism for why Tom Clancy has not written a book in the last 10 years or so.
5) Battle of the Network Stars: I used to love these, filmed at Pepperdine, the television stars competing in obstacle courses, swimming events, and track and field events. It all seemed so fun and was a blast to watch. And maybe I am biased. I had an opportunity to go to the taping of the Battle of the Network Stars and it was such a great time; of course, it didn’t hurt that Tony Danza said hello to me, which was a thrill.
Which leads me to number 6:
6) Tony Danza: We all knew he was the boss right? He doesn’t need a talk show or a one-man song and dance routine– he needs another sitcom and fast. Life hasn’t been the same without him. Bring back Mona too, if you want.
7) Boxing: Look, we all know that boxing is not the same as it used to be. I couldn’t name you 5 current professional boxers, but we all knew about Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, and Sugar Ray Leonard. Hey, we even knew about Gerry Cooney, not just because he did those Norelco commercials (didn’t he?). But boxing like that is a thing of the past, taken over in prominence by MMA and Ultimate Fighting. Bring back the sweet science; I am faint of heart and cannot take the MMA stuff and I miss the “Main Events.”
8) Tom Hanks: I know he is still around making movies. But I miss the Tom Hanks who cross-dressed on “Bosom Buddies” and who was in such classics as “Bachelor Party” and “Big.” I heard a rumor that a remake of “Bachelor Party” is in the works, but can you really improve upon perfection? Tom Hanks was a comedian and a great physical comic. “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia” and “Saving Private Ryan” were great films, but I miss the silliness of “The Man With One Red Shoe.”
Ok, I have others but I think I have gotten the big ones off of my chest. Just because technology improves and people evolve, it doesn’t mean that what was before wasn’t awesome.
As many of you know, I love magic. No, I personally cannot do any magic. My running joke is that my wife, Amy, does the magic in the family. She makes my money disappear! (crickets) But, I do enjoy the art of the mysterious, prestidigitation, and all of the voodoo associated with Houdini and Blackstone and Doug Henning.
But my friends, the art of misdirection and transportation should be kept to the masters of the dark arts. Lately I have seen more and more examples of other professionals engaging in the art of illusion. Lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors, they have all practiced sleight of hand on occasion. With the economy the way it is, it is difficult to get a potential client to walk in the door. And once they walk in, who wants to let them walk out without signing your retainer or engaging your services? So these professionals tell them whatever they think the client wants to hear. They make promises, they give guarantees, and then they salivate as the client writes the check. But then what happens when it comes time to perform?
A potential client called me to inquire if I could help her pursue her former attorney. Seems that the attorney promised that he could arrange a loan modification for her mortgage, and in return the client paid him $1,000.00. As the process wore on, the attorney kept the client informed that the loan modification was progressing nicely, nothing to worry about; until the client received a lawsuit for unlawful detainer from someone who purchased the property at the foreclosure sale. Turns out the attorney took the money, made promises, lied along the way, and then couldn’t deliver, and more importantly he wouldn’t break the news to the client.
We as audience members suspend our disbelief, allowing ourselves to be deceived by the prospect of the supernatural. But our clients are not audience members and we are not conjurers to the willingly misled. Our clients don’t want to be duped into believing that everything will be alright; they want someone who will be honest with them and play it straight with them.
An Admission: As a young attorney trying to make a name and bring in business, someone would call and I would promise them the world. I had the best intentions because I was that confident in my skills (immature as they were). But I found that I was doing my clients a disservice. Sure they want the best representation around, but they also want someone they can trust and I believe that a long-term relationship is more likely if I am up-front with them from the outset. It is easier to prepare a client for bad news then it is to try to explain away a poor result that you knew was coming.
So I have changed my tactic. I am honest, sometimes brutally so, with a client’s chances for success. If I think that a judge is going to rule against us, I tell the client. I don’t downplay the risks involved and then act shocked when things don’t go our way. I think that my client appreciates it and is more likely to trust me and return to me for further assistance.
So a challenge for this week (and maybe further into the future). Be honest, brutally so if necessary. Your client will appreciate it if you let them know that there is no way they are getting a refund on their return or their portfolio won’t grow 90% by next Thursday. And if they don’t appreciate it, do you even want them as a client?