The Guilty Party

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Occupied Territory

I took another one of those surveys yesterday. The last one, which was months and months ago, was conducted by Pew Research and was focused pretty clearly on immigration. This time I didn't really catch the name of the organization but I did catch the word "marketing". The questions were all over the board, so I'm really not sure what sort of information they were trying to gather, whose product they were enlisted to assist.

The first question had to do with how good of a job I think our president is doing, presented on a one to five scale. Fractions or negative numbers were not presented as options and I didn't want to lose the nice sounding lady by being
difficult right off the bat, so I confined myself to honesty as permitted within the prescribed parameters.

The next response she was looking for was the name of the first homebuilder that came to my mind. I drew a blank. An absolute blank. I read about them in the newspaper. I see their billboards alongside the freeway. I hear their advertisements on the radio. And I couldn't think of one homebuilding company. Until the one owned and operated by the brother of a high school classmate sprang to mind. I offered it up and she accepted.

So were the rest of the questions to be homebuilder related? No they were not. Next, she wanted to know how many times I had been to Flagstaff in the past year. Sadly, the number is zero and I confessed accordingly. How often do I access the internet each month? I was honest there also, if translating "monthly" to "daily" and doing the math using that factor is not to be held against me. Value of my current home? Priceless was not on her chart, so we went with what the current market might not sneer at. Number of people in our house? Well, we have had as many as fourteen during party times, but that seemed like bragging, so I took an average and left it at that. Household income? Here I drifted into the land of fortunetelling.

And then she asked me my occupation. Not how I make a living, mind you, which at this particular fiscal moment (meaning the year 2008 as it has played itself out so far) would be a rather difficult question to answer. But to the question "What is your occupation?" I had no hesitation in answering "I am a writer." If I am not occupied in the easily observable act of writing, I am occupied in thinking about it. Writing occupies my life and seemingly has no intention of pulling up stakes and leaving. It did not ask if I wanted to be occupied, it simply did it and that, I have a feeling, will be that. I am hopeful that when the next survey worms its way past our "Do Not Call" status, that the question will be "How do you make a living?" and that I will be able to repeat my same answer.

Go Ye Forth and Do Likewise.


Lexi said...

Ages ago I put myself on a list for (paid!) market research.

Every so often a polite chap rings and asks me questions to see whether I qualify for the latest research. It has brought home to me how few normal things I do.

I have only been eligible once, and that was for the simple task of watching and commenting on TV adverts. The one they were interested in (hidden among others) was about mobile phones, so I didn't pay attention and was, I fear, unrewarding.

They still gave me £40.

(I bet your president is better than our prime minister).

plumboz said...


I respect your opinion, but you would lose that bet.

Nearly eight years of accumulated damning evidence is on my side.

It makes me proud to be an American.

I will discuss another facet of this "survey" later. The lady got completely off task right after I responded to her "And your occupation?" question.

Timber Beast said...

If W can be President, I can be a writer.

plumboz said...

If there was such a thing in this Universe as fairness or proper allocation of rewards relative to merits you would have landed an agent, suffered through a fierce bidding war on your as yet unfinished manuscript and a certain mentally challenged Texan would be trying desperately to keep hearth and home together selling Chinese toothpaste.

But the world ain't fair.

A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.