Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Have a Dream: A Day Without Name-Dropping

DC Girl: So, what do you do for a living?

DC Guy: Graphic design.

DC Girl: (pause, eyes glaze over) What does your friend do?

(Paraphrased from

My first reaction: Is there something wrong/dishonorable about the creative services profession? Did I miss this? In Melrose Place, Bily, the ad guy, got nearly as many ladies as Jake who lounged shirtless by the pool - and Billy was on the account side, if I remember correctly.

My second reaction: I wondered, what would happen if, for just 24 hours, no one in Washington mentioned his or her job, title, alma mater, marquee clients, famous friends/relatives or upscale provenance unless it was absolutely pertinent to the conversation? (Would the city fall silent?)

When you encounter the name-dropping habit too frequently, it tends to rub off. You believe that if you don't rattle off whatever bona fides you possess, your conversation partner (like the woman in the example above) will mosey along to someone more important, leaving you bored and awkward.

Many times this is true. Yet often it is not. And in every case, something worse happens: You become the *insert derogatory noun here* you claim to despise.

A day without name-dropping. It could be a noble experiment.

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