Mar 23

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.