Let's talk about this
It is very funny sometimes to me when I think about our human obsession with drinking, as the way-in on social settings, vacations, or just at the end of a hard day.
I mean, when you get very granular about it — alcohol is simply a thing we consume. One of many possible things we consume.
What would it be like if we were all, for example, obsessed with something else, like traveling to different lavender farms and sampling all the different types of lavender that there are?
Getting super nerdy about lavender terroir?
Investing emotionally in different lavender varietals and tribal about our allegiance to our favorites?
Ordering lavender by the case and bringing it to every single dinner party?
(It would probably be great, tbh.)
Or what if at the end of a hard work day, we were like, “whew, what a long day, can’t wait to go home and have an egg”
(God, I want this one to be real, y’all.)
I like wine. Ditto beer. Cocktails, yum. It all tastes great, but when I think about it objectively, about the many many many varieties of human that there are, it does seem strange that so many of us are so obsessed with consuming this one particular type of thing.
“oh I hear ya, that meeting was rough! Egg sounds so great right about now.”
If I write this down enough times maybe it will insert itself into the zeitgeist and become true.
“hey are y’all doing anything after work? let’s go check out that new egg place for happy hour.”
“omg, you mean Egg Bar? yeah I hear they’re doing scrambles with ghost peppers and amabito no moshio, c’mon we have to go early if we want a good table.”
But I know: Eggs don’t alter your brain chemistry and cause you to loudly proclaim how much you really, really, really, really, really, no but listen, really reallyreally love your friends. Eggs also don’t cause entire rooms full of grown, voting-ass adults to sing along with Neil Diamond. As far as you know. Maybe you just haven’t eaten enough eggs. Anything’s possible if you just commit.
It’s also possible that I just have eggs on the brain because today is day five of a fasting-mimicking diet, which Grant and I have been doing with some friends of ours for the first five work days of every month this year. Some scientists say this kind of diet can, similar to intermittent fasting, increase your longevity.
The fasting-mimicking diet includes a hard-boiled egg for breakfast and also, you don’t consume alcohol during it, so that is the probable genesis for this eggs/alcohol tie-in.
That or the fact that I am hungry.
Now that I have stumbled upon this concept, though, I wish with all my heart it was real, and I am feeling very little regret about having inflicted it on all of you who, like me, probably also had a hard week at work in a global pandemic and did not ask for this.
However, at least one good thing has come of it all, which is that in order to write the Egg Bar scene above, I Googled “What’s the rarest type of salt in the world,” which, for as much as I love and obsess over salt, seems like a strange thing for me never to have Googled before, and that led me to learn about the aforementioned amabito no moshio, which then led me to learn about amethyst bamboo 9, the most expensive salt money can buy, which led me to The Meadow, a luxury salt boutique.
That exists! A luxury salt boutique! The world is incredible. Why are we wasting so much time out here getting drunk on eggs when there is a luxury salt boutique out there waiting to be visited?
(They’re based in Portland, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.)
Another fun fact: apparently that amethyst bamboo salt smells sulfur-y, “like eggs but in the good way,” according to one salt-reviewer.
No kidding. Bless this internet of ours.
Anyway, if you would like to read a much more thoughtful and nuanced take about sobriety than whatever it is I’m doing here, you should check out this story by my friend Allison Stice.
While I’m thinking about it, I also like this Instagram account about sobriety by a woman I don’t know but who seems great.
So I was chatting to my business coach this week about the need to fire one of my clients.
I’m wanting to be sensitive to the client but also explain to you what the issue was in a way that will not compromise them, so I’m going all-in on the egg metaphor from above, and we’ll just all find out together how that goes.
So let’s say, hypothetically, that there was something like an international… egg shortage. The egg shortage started, oh I don’t know, I’ll say somewhere random like Wuhan, China in, and this is just me picking a date out of thin air, November of 2019.
Unprecedentedly, over the course of the next few months, the egg shortage spread all around the world until, by March 2020, everyone in the entire world was talking about the massive egg-shortage pandemic.
There were no eggs anywhere, and world governments came up with a variety of different plans to deal with this, some of which worked better than others. But overall, the world experienced repeated crisis and trauma in attempting to deal with the egg shortage, and it landed hard on every single human out there.
(This is turning into a parable worthy of James Thurber and I am very into myself for creating it.)
Fast forward to March 2021. Although some countries have successfully developed novel ways of getting eggs produced again, things are still very egg-less in certain jurisdictions, and people who live in those areas are having to just suck it up, power through, and tough it out.
The government says to please keep bearing up under the intensifying egg restrictions under the third wave of egglessness, and remember that soon there will be eggs again for everybody, and the egg pandemic will be over.
And so, one year into the egg-shortage pandemic, this client hires me to write a newsletter for them. It’s going to go out to a list of people they influence, and will cover business and personal topics.
During the initial newsletter interview, they tell me they want me to craft some messaging around the local government’s terrible response to the egg shortage.
Then they want me to instruct their followers about what to do:
Everyone just needs to ignore all these ridiculous government restrictions about eggs. Eggs are simply too important for our mental health. People should just go eat eggs anyway. Don’t let the government tell you there aren’t any eggs. You deserve eggs, so just go eat them.
So… I can’t write any of that, and I can’t advise you, as your brand-new content person, to put messaging like that out there, which can be so, uh, damaging to your brand, and also to the fight for eggs.
We stand by this. It’s too important to us to let people know they can and should continue to access eggs.
Okay, well, my partner is an… egg farmer. I’ve watched him deal with this egg shortage for an entire year, and the strain it’s put on him, and I’m not willing to write something encouraging the public to just go out and eat eggs when that’s not backed by science or, you know, reality.
Well, I guess your partner probably hasn’t seen the latest report that just came out March 15th which shows that British Columbia is already at 85% herd immunity, uh, I mean, egg production levels.
[smiling fixedly into the computer screen, but inwardly thinking: ‘this dude really believes he knows better than an egg farmer because he read something on the internet. i mean, it’s a take’]
And anyway, the government’s a bunch of communists.
I can’t argue with that logic, but—
Look, I do know the egg shortage is serious, but to call it an egg pandemic is a total sham.
I’m going to be very blunt with you here. If it is this important to you to write this and tell all of your followers to go eat eggs during the egg shortage, I am not the right writer for you.
Excuse me. I am a grown adult, I’m smart, and I can make up my own mind about whether I’m going to eat eggs during this so-called egg pandemic. It’s starting to feel like you’re moralizing at me. About the eggs.
I support your right to make whatever choice feels personally correct for you, and I, too, love eggs, but I’m not going to write any of this or encourage you to, because it’d feel irresponsible to put this out there.
Eventually, the client agreed to soften their language, but I could tell it was a détente, and neither of us was very comfortable with where we landed.
I took the long weekend to think about it.
I saw two diametrically opposing possibilities:
If I have the chance to work with someone whose views are this different from mine, I might learn something new, and I might also have the opportunity to effect change with a population I ordinarily wouldn’t have access to.
I shouldn’t apply my word-smithing talents to help anyone amplify a message I fundamentally disagree with.
I decided I’d need to part ways with the client. They saved me the trouble by ending the relationship themselves, however.
I showed Grant the email they sent me, and he said, “That’s so hilarious. Imagine choosing this as the hill you want to die on. Imagine that they missed out on working with you… for this.”
(Insularity is bad, but having people around you who have your back is very, very good.)
In all seriousness, I know the pandemic is hard and it’s getting to all of us, and the governments of the world have screwed up in a variety of ways (but I mean, it’s a pandemic, we’ve had zero training for this), and the continued extension of restrictions (in British Columbia, anyway) are hard to take, but I am really proud to say that the people in my sphere, the folks who influence me, I don’t know anyone who is responding to all of that difficulty by trying to pretend the pandemic does not exist.
It’s such a strange take, like looking in one of those funhouse mirrors that reflects your face back at you, but reversed, or upside-down, or just in the shape of, you know, a giant egg.
Anyway, my business coach congratulated me for realizing I would need to fire the client, even though I didn’t end up having to actually do it.
“It’s a pro move,” she said, “not taking money for things that are going to compromise your values. And then you always open yourself up to something new that flows into that energetic space that’s even better.”
I like that. And it was true in this case: the day I decided to fire the client, I got an out-of-the-blue email from a former client who I’d loved working with, asking me to partner with them on a new and much more interesting project.
Where I’d landed is that, I’ve got a brain filled almost to the brim with words, and an almost comical ease at letting them flow out of me. If this is my superpower in this lifetime, I’m not willing to apply that superpower toward spreading a message I don’t agree with.
And of course, I consider myself principled. I would’ve expected it of myself to take this kind of stand if pressed, but up until this point, that was only ever theoretical. It had not been tested in a professional setting.
Now that it has been, I’m glad to know: I won’t write creepy weird takes (or lies), even if you pay me. You can rely on me for truth-to-power type shit if you’re into it. Hot take: The pandemic is real! Science is real! Eggs are good! Cut and print!
I’ve thought about whether it made sense to set up a paid subscription here, but until now, I didn’t have a reason to do it, because I didn’t have a good idea for weekly content.
But now, I have a good idea.
Way back in 2016, when I was first working to build Quupe, I realized that it would be fun and instructive to have a record, right as we were building the business, of all the things that happened to us along the way. I envisioned an honest, unvarnished record of the good and the bad, the losses and wins and learnings and outcomes and frustrations and travails and novelty hats, but it’s often so hard to write about those things while you’re in the middle of them. It’s both emotionally hard (admitting failures) as well as hard to find the time for it.
But looking back, I still wish I’d done that. I’m sure I’ve forgotten more than I remember.
It’s so hard to write the story after it happens.
So with this new business, I’ve decided I’m going to try that.
Here’s the plan:
I’m going to send out a weekly roundup — story or stories — about whatever’s going on, just as I did above.
The good, the bad, and the questionable: I’ll report it.
Mistakes. Successes. Overworked metaphors. (Building a business is like cracking eggs to make an omelet! am I right! hashtag sayings!)
If my experience building Quupe, or Supersnack, is any precedent, it’ll be an interesting ride. Maybe we’ll even learn things.
I am going to continue to anonymize the stories, and obviously no active client projects will be shared. Plus, I probably won’t keep talking this much about eggs. But maybe. Who can say, really. You’ll have to subscribe to find out.
But don’t worry: if you’re happier hearing from me on the monthly cadence and getting the more far-ranging and random emails that are filled with stories about Woodrow, conversations with poll workers, and, uh, oak wilt, the free-plan subscriptions aren’t going anywhere.
But here’s the place to go if you’d like to subscribe for the weekly stories.
And hey: eggs for everyone, but only once we’re vaccinated, y’all, safety first!
a shoutout and new subscriber content? It's ALL happening! And that client can go suck eggs.