Larry Gallon and Sheryl Common met through work. Larry had parlayed business and art courses into a marketing career. Over the years, he worked as a creative artist and director with several advertising agencies and worked independently as well. Being a creative type, Larry sported a flair for flamboyance. He almost always wore a fedora from his collection of wild colors, appropriate for supporting his swashbuckling style. He specialized in creating and writing advertising and publicity campaigns.
Sheryl, on the other hand, was more nuts and bolts, efficiently arranging events, functions, news conferences and, occasionally managing crisis communications for clients. She called her practice Common Ground. Sheryl and Larry got along well and when it made sense, they collaborated.
On one such occasion, Larry brought Sheryl in to help his longstanding client with his communications strategy to plan the company’s 20th anniversary event. Larry doffed his blue fedora as he and Sheryl sat down in his client’s office.
As the client listed projects and expenses, he mentioned that he was having his website updated. He was three items further down on the list when Larry interrupted and said, “Sam, could you repeat that?”
“The part about the website.”
“We’ve budgeted for enhancements to the website,” the client said.
“What am I, chopped liver?” Larry asked.
“Larry, what are you talking about?”
“I’m your friend, we’ve been working together for years, and you hire someone else?!”
“I didn’t know….”
Larry flew out of his chair and began to flail about, roaring a stream of wild rhetoric, “You didn’t know that I do websites? You hired someone else? A stranger? Do I do websites?” “Do politicians lie?” Do I do websites?” He flung himself on the floor. Prostrate, he pleaded, “Sam, here. Walk all over me. Stomp out my hopes and dreams, my professional dignity.” Exhausted, Larry lay flat on the floor and closed his eyes.
Sam looked at Sheryl for some understanding. She tried to look impassive, inscrutable. Finally, Sam sighed. “OK, Larry.” Larry looked up, hopeful. “All right Larry. That was quite a performance. Do you really do websites?”
“Do I do websites? Does a telemarketer always call at the worst time? Does a golfer cheat?”
“OK, I haven’t signed a contract with this guy. It’s yours if you want it.”
“I want it. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Larry calmed down and they finished the agenda and concluded the meeting.
A few minutes later, as Sheryl pressed the elevator button for the first floor, she said, “Wow, I didn’t know you did websites either.” They entered the elevator.
Larry put his hat on with a flourish. He grinned, “How hard could it be?”