I don’t like to write about corporate matters, but I do like to write about my favorite musical artists – Daryl Hall and John Oates, so when an opportunity presents itself to leverage a Hall and Oates reference in the context of life at the 9:5, I’m willing to make an exception.
I was in a meeting where praise and plaudits were flowing like the Slurpree machine at 7-11 on a hot summer day.
After the backslapping session, I was asked by an associate why I didn’t take more credit for a successful high profile project of which I was an instrumental part.
I answered, “Just call me John Oates.” My colleague was a bit confused by my response.
I shared the story of Hall and Oates’ meteoric ascension to the top of the charts in the 80s, and how during that period, John came to accept the fact that Daryl’s voice had become the sound of Hall and Oates.
My co-worker still didn’t get it, so I continued.
John understood that Daryl sang the hits. The hits sold records. The records drew (and still do) revenue.
Even though he wrote, co-wrote and/or arranged a respectable number of their most memorable songs, John – a decent vocalist in his own right – saw the wisdom and good business sense in taking a back seat – vocally speaking – to Daryl.
And I told my colleague that’s what I did – metaphorically speaking – during our meeting, and in most aspects of my professional life.
Much like my soft spoken, spotlight-shunning idol, I don’t need to be the front man. I know my worth and what I bring to the table. Sadly, too often we encounter – shall we say – lead singers who would do a better job gassing up the tour bus than carrying a tune center stage.
With skin that fits me comfortably like a glove, I’m perfectly fine singing background vocals (of course until it’s time to embark on a solo tour – a story for another day).
With advancing age comes (if you’re lucky) advancing self-awareness. It’s just another positive side effect – The Oates effect – of life in the middle ages.
There was a time long before e-commerce when we relied on procuring goods through mail order shopping.
We wrote a check, completed a printed order form, put it in an envelope, affixed a stamp and dropped our order in the U.S. Mail.
No tracking number, no express delivery. We waited – often times six to eight weeks for delivery.
Long-time readers of these pages will recall my walk down memory lane regarding this topic several years ago.
One of the items I obtained via mail order shopping was my membership to the Daryl Hall and John Oates fan club.
Those of you of a certain age may have joined similar fan groups for your favorite artist.
I don’t remember if I received a membership card, certificate or some such club paraphernalia, but I do remember ordering t-shirts promoting whatever particular tour the guys may have been on that I may not have been able to attend.
Looking back, the one thing the fan club didn’t provide was interaction with my fellow Daryl and John (In my mind we’re on a first name basis) aficionados.
Fast forward 35-years to the present day. Mail order has been (Thankfully) replaced with online shopping, and if I want to order a t-shirt from the Hall and Oates fan club, it’ll get here in a couple of days.
And thanks to social media – specifically Facebook groups – I get ample opportunity to interact with my fellow Daryl and John fans.
In fact, I find I have more fun digitally chewing the fat with an intimate number of friends in my fan groups than the broader number of friends elsewhere in my social media universe.
Maybe it’s because most fan groups tend to shy away from the random topics of the day – the Patriot’s squishy balls (A term you won’t find used too often in these pages), high scores in Candy Crush and photos of people’s feet with exotic wish you were here vacation locales in the background.
Maybe the appeal has something to do with hanging out with people with whom you share a common interest.
I go back and forth in my resolve to spend less time on the internet (Bending your ear in these pages notwithstanding). Maybe my objective should be spending more quality time on the Web.
Now you’ll excuse me while I go shop for the latest tour t-shirt and see what’s happening on my favorite fan pages.