A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon

March 23 Ever since writing the very first RepMan blog back in 2006, I’ve been trying to find a good fit for my favorite Pink Floyd lyric, ‘A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.’

And, while I’ve never been quite understood the lyric’s context within ‘Comfortably Numb,’ I’ve always found it incredibly evocative (and, can actually visualize that ship sailing on the horizon trailing a plume of smoke in its wake).

So, here’s the link. I’m starting to see just the faintest hint of an economic turnaround. A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon, if you will. 

The initial harbinger was a robust two or three week’s worth of new accounts and new business prospects at my favorite PR firm. Yay!

The second was the hustle and bustle at the good old Lincroft Inn on an otherwise quiet weekday night. Virgil, the ever-affable bartender, confirmed that he, too, has been noticing a definite uptick in midweek elbow benders.

The big breakthrough, though, came today at Boom, my local Park Avenue fitness club. There, in the men’s locker room, I spied Q-Tips. This is a very big deal. Those damn Q-Tips have been noticeably absent since the market meltdown in mid-September of 2008.

Q-Tips are important to me. They form part of my daily hygiene program. And, based upon the brand’s longevity, I would suspect they play a role in many others’ wellness programs. In fact, in their heyday at the pre-market meltdown Boom, Q-Tips disappeared faster than one could say Bear Stearns. So, for me, a Q-Tips free locker room has been a depressing, if not unhealthy, thing.Curious about the big, and unexpected, Q-Tips comeback, I asked the guy at the front desk what was up. He shrugged his shoulders. The fitness trainers were equally clueless. The locker room attendant finally gave me the inside scoop. The Mt. Sinai Medical Center is apparently donating coffee cups filled with Q-Tips to all the fitness clubs in the area. Ah ha. Smart marketing, no?

So, while the Q-Tips may or may not be a distant ship’s smoke on the horizon, might they still be considered a harbinger of better times? Mt. Sinai clearly had the marketing money for the little white wonder sticks.

If not a harbinger of better times, maybe the prodigal Q-Tips at least signal the end of bad times. The latter thought enables me to inject one of my favorite Winston Churchill comments as well. Speaking about his country’s victory at El Alamein, Churchill said, ‘This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. Though it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ Here’s hoping those Q-Tips mark the end of the beginning as well.

9 thoughts on “A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon

  1. Awesome stuff, Mike. Thanks so much. I may run some other obscure Floyd lyrics by you in the future.

  2. Hey Steve. The lyric fits in with the rest of the song in this way – Pink is so far gone on the drugs (the immediate) and his insanity (the existential) that once familiar faces, voices, memories, even his own soul, exist in a place he can’t touch or feel anymore.
    This is especially true of his memories…the very things that caused him to build “the wall”.
    He knows it’s all out there, he can just barely see it, but he can’t touch it…like “a distant ships’s smoke on the horizon”
    Further, the lyric follows the “pinprick” – his hit of heroin. The immediate effect is that he is now out on the horizon, far from the immediate, its enough to get him through one more show.

  3. What, Bob? Can you speak louder? I can’t hear you. Must be the punctured ear drums.

  4. Feeling the same way out here on the prairie, Steve. Looking around the bend for better news. BTW, regarding the Q-Tips? Unlike pursuing new business, stop when you feel resistance.

  5. I am indeed, Lunch, and will listen to the Moodies the next time I go for a long run so I can pinpoint specific lyrics that are blogworthy. Will do the same today with Ziggy Marley. Love his lyrics. The pope might want to listen to ‘Love is my religion.’

  6. Steve:
    PR agency leaders are telling me that their clients are taking budgets out of the deep freeze, that they’re pitching and winning business and they’re hiring again.
    On a personal level, I’m observing agencies starting, reviving or expaning training programs, engaging in dialogue about training, wanting to hear more about specific courses, and glory be, more willing to write checks.
    I’m happy for all of us!

  7. I hear you, Rep. I hear you.
    Aren’t you also a Moody Blues fan? A few songs by the band that relate to today’s business climate, too.