Whenever I go looking for success in some sundry endeavor, be it stringing Christmas lights from the maple tree out front, penning the next Hollywood blockbuster or cheating my way through a surprise drug test, I follow a tried ‘n’ true formula: I copy what everybody else is doing.
So, in searching for creative ways to market ‘A Rite of Paso’, I have been studying how the PR hired guns at various wine enterprises sell product, and let me tell you, these guys have balls the size of the one that drops in Times Square every 31st of December.
Take the Wall Street throwaway with the impossibly patrician name of Raiford C. Cockfield III. Having gone down with the Lehman Brothers ship, III re-invented himself as a wine merchant who cashes in on cancer patients. ‘Brimming with entrepreneurial zest’ is what the pundits called it when Cockfield III formed Altruistic Boutique Wines which, with III’s characteristic self-abnegation, is used as a vehicle to arrange ‘events’ for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, the SPCA and the Women’s Foundation. Hat’s off to you, sir—short of changing my name to Christian C. Kasselfield III and distributing free books to hospices and dog kennels, I can’t top this for sheer cynical genius.
And there’s Tulip Winery in Kfar Tikvah. A paradigm for the old ‘what to do if life gives you lemons’ dilemma, Roy Itzhaki once ballyhooed Tulip as ‘the biggest non-kosher winery in Israel’. Turns out that being a big non-kosher winery in Israel is really stupid, but he employs a staff of mostly non-religious handicapped people from the nearby special-needs kibbutz, and the organizations that kosherify you refused to touch him until he fired everybody with a pagan limp.
You can’t find a Tulip wine review that actually talks about the wine—it’s all about the atheist gimps who make it. Alas, short of trolling the byways on the qui vive for heathen ‘tards and infidel cripples to help me package books, I will have to allow Tulip their peculiar marketing exclusivity.
And then there’s Markham Vineyard, who is so self-smitten and autogenously besotted with their own spirit of ‘giving back at both the local and national levels’ that they actually produce wines called ‘The Altruist’ and ‘The Philanthropist’ just so that you, the consumer (willing to pay $55 per bottle as a way of saying, ‘Thanks for being you, Markham), don’t accidentally overlook their Good Samaritanism. See, for me to use this form of braggadocio, I would have to approach the publisher and the graphic designer and change the name of the book to ‘A Rite of Paso: The Gospel According to God’s Gift to Wine, Wordsmiths and Smoking, Barely Legal Starlets’ and that sounds too much like work.
Back To Me and Frei.
But, re-reading an old press release sent to me by Jim Collins, Chief Viticulturist at Frei Brothers in Sonoma, I think I may have hit literal—as well as metaphorical—pay dirt. In a touching show of philosophical waxing, Mr. Collins reflects on the growing season with a special emphasis on the Frei Brothers’ eco-friendly improvements, including:
- Reducing electricity use by 200,000 kilowatt hours—enough to power 20 homes for a year.
- Reducing water use by 5.4 million gallons—enough to supply 54 homes for a year.
- Setting a goal to reduce propane use by 50%—equivalent to removing 80 vehicles from the road.
So there you go. Looking around my own sprawling suburban estate, I realize that like Jim Collins, I too believe that ‘if we take care of the Earth, Earth will take care of us’. I notice the various ‘greenwashing’ upgrades that I have implemented in 2013, in my sod, my servants and my soul, promoting sustainability and carbon-footprint-reducing behavior modification. In fact, the only reason I haven’t sent a folksy, personalized letter to all my neighbors outlining the specifics is because I didn’t have anything to sell them.
So, let the decree be send forth like that of Caesar Augustus in the year that Christmas lights were invented that all the world should purchase my book because—and I mention this merely in passing, of course—the author is:
- Reducing dependence on bills from Comcast by tapping cable lines in someone else’s backyard—saving the equivalent of twelve envelopes and associated postage per year.
- Reducing milk consumption by pouring Colt 45 over my cornflakes instead—allowing one cow to become obsolete and eliminating said cow’s ozone-destroying methane emissions.
- Turning in my illegal alien gardener to Homeland Security—adding one available job that Americans refuse to do to the American job market.
- Firebombing the Chevvy Traverse that sideswiped my mailbox—equivalent to removing one vehicle from the road.
As a way of tipping my hat to Frei Brothers for their marketing savvy, I have promised—and yes, I’m bragging about it—to involve them in my next Hollywood blockbuster screenplay, whose working title is ‘Frei Willie’, ‘Freiday the 13th’ or ‘The Freinch Connection’.