Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Tao of Peggy Olson

With AMC’s Mad Men having recently poured its final glass of 9am bourbon, neat, I am left with a moment to reflect on the show whose legacy was always a little bit grander than its reality. And really, isn’t that sort of what we’re all aiming for in life? You’ll see a hundred op/ed pieces on the technical hits or misses of the show, but for me, even though the show was centered around Don Draper, the true protagonist of the series was Peggy Olson. Don’s was a journey that was focused on discovery on self (and probably more than a couple of STDs as well), but Peggy’s was a true battle. A David vs. Goliath struggle where sometimes her Goliath was the ultra-misogynistic corporate workplace of the 1960s and /70s, and sometimes her Goliath was herself. With that in mind, I present a handful of moments that Peggy brought us that will stick with me much longer than Don’s loose views on fidelity and identity theft. And so I present to you:

THE TAO OF PEGGY OLSON

“When I was little, my mom would take a twin pop and break it in half and give one to me and one to my sister. We were completely equal in her eyes. Beloved. Everyone does this with Popsicles, but they may not realize what it means. It has nothing to do with an ice cream truck on a hot summer day. Or the flavor. Or the color. It’s a ritual. You take it, break it, share it, and love it.” —Season 2, Episode 12
• A central theme for Peggy throughout the Mad Men series was that of love. Not just romantic love, but familial love, love in friendship, love in a professional environment, and love of self (or at least learning to accept yourself for who you are). This mini monologue (minilogue?) is a great example of Peggy romanticizing her own past (to a fault, at times) for the sake of remembering the good and the love that surrounded her, rather than focusing on the negative aspects of life. Classic Peggy.

“Every time something good happens, something bad happens.”  —s4,e11
• Peggy’s strength as a character (and as a person) isn’t that she’s blindly naive and ignorantly optimistic, it’s that she sees the world for the crappy, run down mess that it is…but chooses to hope anyway. Anyone can live a sheltered life and think the world a perfectly pleasant place, the real challenge is to continue to seek after your ideals in spite of adversity. If Peggy was a pro boxer, she wouldn’t be a one-punch wonder, she’d be the sort of marathon fighter who wears you out by taking hit after hit for twelve rounds and staying on her feet till the final bell. And in life you’re going to have a lot more knockdown, drag-out fights to endure than quick, Muhammad Ali-esque 15-second KO’s. Be built for the full twelve.

“Well, I’m fun! And I love to have…fun.” —s3,e4
• For the pitch perfect pitchman she became (pitchwoman? Pitchperson?), Peggy was always a little too humble to really sell herself, and we see that here in her awkward attempt to sound…well, fun, on a first date. Even though she struggles to really sell herself for the great gal she is in this particular instance, she manages to get to the heart of “free time Peggy,” which is that even though her work/life balance might have been a little uneven at times, at her core she’s still just a girl who wants to have fun, and be fun to be around to others. Despite how intense her career focus could be at times, you still get the idea that she found fun in her work, and wanted others to find the fun in theirs as well (as long as it didn’t compromise the quality of the final product). Remember kids: Be fun, have fun. It’s what Peggy would want.

“Don Draper: That’s how this works. I pay you for ideas.
Peggy Olson: You never say ‘Thank you.’
Don Draper: That’s what the money is for!” —s4,e7
• Despite her eventual rise to the top creative ranks in the ad agency world, Peggy was never in it for the money or the power or even the acclaim…she was in it for the respect that she knew she deserved and the recognition of her talent in a world that tried repeatedly to write her off. A recurring theme throughout the series is Peggy working out her daddy issues through Don (sometimes effectively, sometimes not), and ultimately having the revelation that we all need to have: someone else’s approval is never going to replace or validate our own self worth. I know a lot of us feel under-appreciated and even unloved in our professional and/or personal lives, but the moral of the story is that it’s up to us to know that we have value, rather than waiting for the accolades of the outside world that may or may not ever arrive. Easier said than done, perhaps, but worth the effort nonetheless.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” —s6,e5
• At the end of the day (one of my all-time most hated clichés, but gets the point across), we almost always know the right thing we should say or do or not do in a given situation, but the real test of mettle is whether or not we can act on that knowledge, to resist the easy path in favor of the more difficult one, even if it’s less rewarding or we won’t get any recognition for doing so. How many times in your life have you looked back on something you regret and thought, “Geez, that was stupid…I knew better”? And you’re right, you did! The difficulty lies in having the willpower to not do the stupid thing in front of you, no matter how appealing it might be in the moment. A daily battle for most of us (or at least me), but a battle worth fighting, even if the victories are more infrequent than the failures. But just know that in spite of your past mistakes, you have ability to make the right choice the next time. And the next time. And the time after that. I’m pulling for you. And so is Peggy Olson. I’ll even buy you a shot of bourbon when you get there. Good luck and God bless.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.59.45 AM

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every other Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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My Week with Apple Watch

The absence of a house, spouse, child, or discernible adult responsibilities of any sort in my life have left me with enough extra income to purchase Apple’s latest gadget, The Apple Watch. (Anyone who calls it the iWatch might as well stop reading now and save both of us the hassle). The following is a day-by-day account of my first week with The  Watch, journaled for posterity so that when the robots have taken over in the semi-distant future, we will have a better idea of where we went wrong.

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

April 30, 2015

Day 1 — The Apple Watch is definitely a solid device, meeting or exceeding all my expectations. Big takeaways so far are that battery life is way better than advertised, it’s more water-resistant than I realized, and I’m finding nuanced little features I hadn’t heard about before all the time (i.e. using the watch as a remote control for my AppleTV, using it to take pictures with my phone, checking into my gym with it, etc.)

Day 2 — Really dug into some of the fitness features today. The Apple Watch has a different workout setting for most of the common cardio exercises; really cool to see my heartbeat and calories burned in real time. I sprinted a mile as part of my workout and felt myself pretty out of breath…hm, weird, I would’ve thought Apple Watch would’ve fixed that. Apple Watch also failed to add ANY weight to my max bench press. Odd. Might have to make a Genius Bar appointment to make sure I didn’t get a defective unit.

Day 3 — Despite owning the Apple Watch for almost half a week, didn’t get to see Avengers 2 yet. Weird, because I know I really wanna see Avengers 2, and Apple Watch is supposed to be the more personal and effective device ever and yet here I am, still not having seen a single second of what my girlfriend has called the “I will break up with you” movie of the summer. Instead spent the day reading Shakespeare’s King Lear on my Apple Watch. Eyes were pretty strained after the first two hours, blacked out from a migraine for a little bit, but felt way better after I woke up. Thanks, Apple Watch!

Day 4 — Got fired at work for physically assaulting my boss when he said he thought the Apple Watch “wasn’t for everyone,” definitely didn’t see “getting fired” as a side effect of the Apple Watch, but it’s still a pretty new device so they’re still working out some of the bugs. Hopefully future versions will be less likely to get their owners fired. Getting pretty good at drawing dicks on the Apple Watch screen and sending them to my friends.

Day 5 — Well my girlfriend left me (out of nowhere!), and despite me REPEATEDLY sending her my heartbeat via Apple Watch, she still hasn’t come to her senses and begged me to take her back yet. And my heart was beating extra fast today, too! (It always does when I’m taking her cute best friend out to dinner). Really need to make that Genius bar appointment to make sure I don’t have a bum unit. Maybe her cute best friend will go with me, and we can see a movie and take a moonlit walk on the beach afterwards under the stars. I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple Watch is altering my perception of time to better fit in with its own battery cycle, as I’ve been up for 51 hours but Apple Watch keeps saying it’s still Tuesday. Which is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me.

Day 6 — At this point I’ve had the Apple Watch for almost a week, yet that STILL didn’t stop the bank from foreclosing on my condo today, something about 18 months of back-payments and overdue property taxes. I don’t know, I didn’t get any reminders about anything like that from my Apple Watch, so it must be some sort of clerical error. Clerical Error would be a great name for like a speed-metal band. Oh also my (now ex) girlfriend finally texted me back today and told me she was pregnant, but said she won’t let me near the kids, which is a terrible Apple Watch feature that I hope they fix in the next beta.

Day 7 — The IRS is auditing me totally out of the blue, despite the fact that I literally just filed my taxes four years ago. Sounds like an Apple Watch bug. There’s just a sinkhole where my condominium complex used to be, although I’m told the bank can still foreclose on my condo even if it’s three stories underground now. As if that wasn’t enough of a bummer about the Apple Watch, my neighborhood has been hit hard with an intense breakout of tornadoes, famine, tsunamis, freshwater drought and a plague of toa-locusts (a genetic hybrid of toads and locusts), but I think that last one is because my next door neighbor bought a Samsung Galaxy Gear from one of those resellers on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Having some real difficulty finding a virgin for sacrificial purposes (that’s Los Angeles for you I guess), DESPITE using Apple Watch’s Siri integration. Even though I’ve been charging it every single day, Apple Watch has yet to repair the estranged relationship between me and my father. Maybe I should’ve sprung for the solid-gold “Edition” version of the Apple Watch.

Day 8 — Returned my Apple Watch today. Honestly, I liked it a lot, but having to deal with all of the other side effects just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I’ll pick up a future version, but for now I’m happy to be a little more low-tech than the next guy.

Day 9 — Everything is back to normal now…I guess maybe it isn’t for everyone, after all. Looks like my boss was right on that one…but don’t tell HIM that ;) (Rest in peace, Mr. Johnston).

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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