I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Leo the legend

At my last job in Utah at a marketing agency of sorts, I had the privilege of working with one of the most delightfully eccentric people I've ever known: Leo. I've considered posting about him in the past, but as I was just telling a friend about him this weekend, the legend is fresh in my mind.

Leo is a couple of years my senior and like me, has a degree in journalism. He was hired for the same position that I was (interactive copywriter), but at the time, had no marketing experience. He proved to be a good writer and have a firm grasp of the English language, but was not entirely apt with client criticism and pushiness.

Leo fun facts:
-He's small in stature and bone-thin.
- Despite living in a desert climate, he carried a large umbrella wherever he went.
- Leo prefers more classic headwear than that of the contemporary young man. His favorite, as pictured, remains the fedora.
- Leo didn't drive--a feat for a town as geographically large as Salt Lake--and was at the mercy of a fairly poor bus system, often arriving at work full hours before anyone else.
- Leo got his first job, with the Salt Lake Tribune, by insulting a managing editor and telling him that his paper was full of errors. When the editor didn't believe him, Leo began correcting the newspaper by hand everyday and sending it to the editor until he was hired on to the copy desk.
- Leo is obsessed with the idea of the American hobo and in some ways tried to emulate that great character. Specifically, Leo would never tell us what his weekend plans were on a Friday, but would come in Monday with stories of great adventure--a last minute trip to Vegas for a go at the craps table; a secret desert party that he heard of while hopping Greyhounds for fun and talking to characters with one-word names; etc.

I miss having Leo in my life.
Anyway, the work was divided up as follows: I handled the big client and Leo was responsible for all of the little clients. My client was demanding, more so than it should have been, and often made poor decisions leaving me feeling distressed. On the rare occasion that Leo would have to fill in for me, he would say something like "I don't know how you do that everyday" and would appear visibly stricken from the dealings with the client.

When I left the company, I got this email from my friend Mark a couple of weeks later. I can't say I was surprised.

By the way, you are missing out on major drama here at good old Company Name. After two weeks of teetering, Leo cracked yesterday. He started writing copy straight from The Shining, then had a two hour meeting with the Creative Director, then took his dictionary and went home, muttering "If you don't see me tomorrow, you'll never see me again". Today he didn't come in to work, so the Creative Director made me go to Leo's apartment with him and make sure he was alive. He didn't answer, and when we got back there was an e-mail from Leo saying he was quitting and moving to San Diego. Oh, also yesterday he wrote a four page ramble about being a hobo. I am not making that up. So now we have zero copywriters, but I'm not allowed to tell anyone that Leo quit, and everyone is asking me what to do about copy like I know or even care.


Blogger Sara Z. said...

I "met" Leo, right? At that library thing? When he looked like he didn't want to be interrupted from his big talk with DMo by two giggling, drunken females? That is an awesome story and awesomer e-mail from your old job!

9:48 AM

Blogger FlyingMonkies said...


That's all.

10:51 AM

Blogger slcup said...

Any guy that can pull off a Fedora is alright in my book. Sara, I was going to protest and say we weren't drunk or giggly, but we were so I can't.

11:30 AM

Blogger slcup said...

Any guy that can pull off a Fedora is alright in my book. Sara, I was going to protest and say we weren't drunk or giggly, but we were so I can't.

11:31 AM

Blogger DMo said...

Actually, that was a different eccentric fellow I knew. I don't think that either of you giggly ladies met Leo and if you had, I am sure that he would have been much more welcoming than Hardy was.

11:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Postal workers aren't the only ones who go "postal". I enjoy your blog immensely. Glad you're back on the east coast too!

12:04 PM

Anonymous Mark said...

Word on the street is that the bird has come back to the nest.

6:21 PM


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