Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…and Most Other Dates
By Joe DeGrandis, copywriter, Mosaic Managed Markets
“So, do you ever forget ANYTHING?” “Do I owe you money?” “Do you remember every word of every conversation we've had!?”
“Yes.” “Maybe.” “Depends on the conversation.”
Questions like these have been like rapid fire since my60 Minutessegment aired on Sunday, Jan 12. Scientists at the University of California, Irvine are researching Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) – essentially, the ability to quickly remember the day of the week of a given date, along with its corresponding memories. I am among the fifty new “subjects” they are studying.
It’s not that I remember everything. Memories associated with specific dates (or the dates themselves) are often very palpable and possess the emotional and nostalgic qualities of a movie flashback. In fact, when I reflect upon my life, I am often involuntarily whisked down a chronological freeway. As I travel through a frame-by-frame journey, the frozen images and feelings of joy, sadness, triumph and heartache are almost as genuine as the day I experienced them.
A source of endless entertainment, however, is recalling the chronology of a particularly pleasant life experience, such as a friendship, a period of schooling, a series of jobs or a career. Sometimes I’ll think about these things as I lie in bed at night or while I walk to refresh my cup of coffee, smiling while momentarily drifting into my subconscious.
For example, my Draftfcb West 33rd Street Story began quite randomly at a party on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. While gathering at an East Village bar to toast my friend on the eve of his marriage, I ran into another friend, who mentioned he worked at Draftfcb and offered to forward along my resume. I subsequently interviewed at Mosaic’s former W. 23rd Street offices on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. Later, on Friday, Oct. 5, I met with jovial copy supervisor Christina Gawiak (my future manager) and finally, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, I interviewed with EVP Lauren Naima. “Nice view, Ms. Naima,” I remarked, gesturing at the Empire State Building looming outside her north-facing window. Aside from feeling like a tourist, I was nervous, fidgety, and sweating profusely. But hey, I got the job, didn’t I?
However, 2012 wasn’t my first entrée into Draftfcb. I remember staring at the 7th floor coffee bar in awe, thinking “I wish MY office had THIS!”, and waiting eagerly in the lobby on Friday, July 25, 2008, and again on Wednesday, April 29, 2009. At the time, I worked for a senior-targeted marketing firm. We initially pitched our general capabilities and later presented a more detailed plan to the teams here.
In any case, here I am, Mosaic Managed Markets’ copywriter on the 5th floor. I often think about the past – memories that encompass everything from that subtle, friendly gesture to that menacing scowl – trying to uncover themes and ideas, or simply extract some message or meaning from it all. This applies not only to the creative nature of my job (for example, in a pitch, I’ll think back on experiences I had related to themes or taglines I’ve worked with) but also to a greater awareness of myself, who I was, and who I am trying to be.
After all, memories paint a portrait of our past; the people we were. I hope we can all cherish and use these elements of yesteryear to help cultivate a better tomorrow.
Some Mosaic Memories in Pictures:
Top: “The Bowls Are Back” (they were lost, then found!) – Thursday, November 7, 2013
Middle: “Tacky Sweaty Party” – Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Bottom: “Last Day at 23rd” – Friday, September 13, 2013