Friday, August 15, 2008


Love whiteboards. Love the fact an Art Director is making tons of cash because he can draw his ass off on a whiteboard. (My Son, Travis, hates the guy. I don't know why.) Love it when you write something really good on the whiteboard. Love when someone else makes a contribution on the whiteboard.

I take a walk by our two big whiteboards that are really wall whiteboards all the time. People draw arrows, graphs, TV storyboard boxes––that would be me because I can't draw anything else––conclusions, even draw up strategies. Sometimes. Rarely. OK, almost never. But we're making progress.

In some ways, whiteboards are big blank "your ad goes here" spaces that are just begging for attention. Try walking past one that's got stuff written all over it––with some circles and dates that beg you not to erase all the great thinking––without looking. Can't do it. It's a magnet. Today, Industry Ju-Jitsu was written in red marker on the whiteboard. Nice one, Rory. I've also seen "I think I've seen your best work already", a client issuing a challenge. One that we would later meet and exceed. The first time I saw a wiki was on a whiteboard.

I got a whiteboard from work as part of a care package to help me through the cancer. I had surgery where they took out my tonsils, scrapped my larynx and took a chunk out of my tongue. So talking was not going to happen right away. And boy, did I use that whiteboard. I think my family was ready to break it over my head after a while. But the funniest thing was trying to communicate with my Dad. I couldn't talk and he couldn't read my writing. And he was wearing hearing aids that he kept saying needed to be replaced. Man, if it didn't hurt to laugh so much back then I would have died on the floor laughing. And this happened all the time. I know it was entertaining for the rest of the family.

Whiteboards are great because you can write anything you want on it and then wipe it away. As I was battling cancer, I would write down all the dates. The names of all the medications. The surgeries. The treatments. And then, I couldn't write anymore. I didn't know how to describe the crap I was going through. My mind was only concentrating on beating cancer. Keep it strong. Don't let all the stuff they put in me, beat-up my body and knock it out. Be strong so I could be there for my family. My so called creative juices were being overtaken by chemicals and radio active stuff so I could stay alive. The creativity would have to die.

There is no whiteboard for cancer, no way you can wipe away all the bad and scary things that are written about you in Doctors offices, hospitals and pharmacies. Life doesn't work that way. But maybe that's a good thing. Because, maybe, just maybe, someone researching or studying or just looking over your information will get a step closer to finding a cure for all cancers. Any cancer. Then we can go up to the whiteboard and write the word cancer.

And then wipe it away.

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