Advertising, pain and morphine. Former Chicago adman dealt tough hand in Reno.

December 8, 2010

An artist staring at the truth...

Johnking1956, The Man who would be King is a new blog worthy of our attention. Without breaking his anonymity, John King is the pseudonym of an AD/Creative Director, who used to work at a big ad agency in Chicago before getting laid off and moving to Reno to ply his trade at a resort casino. That alone makes for an interesting tale, right? I mean the creative department of a casino sounds more like the set a reality TV show than a job.

But then the recession hit, clobbering the real estate and gaming industry, nowhere worse than second tier markets like Reno. King found himself out of work. Again. Adding injury to insult, severe back problems, first encountered while working in Hong Kong, came back with a vengeance, filling King’s days with debilitating pain and copious amounts of morphine. He wears a plastic girdle-like brace to keep his spine true and may have to install a morphine pump into his body.

It’s not pretty or easy being King. However, he is still determined to find work. His blog is about that journey, a journey that begins each morning with more pain than you and I, God forbid, will ever know. What makes the story utterly compelling in the man’s bracing optimism in the face of these hardships.

This is one of those stories that breaks your heart but can lift your spirit as well. King’s tale reminds me of Mickey Rourke’s Oscar winning turn in The Wrestler. It’s that painful. That poignant. That good. You cringe but endlessly root for him.

King is talented and deserves another shot. But he is a hard hit man in a hard hit industry and place. Recovery for him or it is far from certain.

And yet, he’s chosen to blog about it.

Not to sound like a film trailer, but if you need to be reminded of the strength of the human spirit this holiday season, consider The Man who would be King:


8 Responses to “Advertising, pain and morphine. Former Chicago adman dealt tough hand in Reno.”

  1. wow – that’s some read. thanx for sharing a great find. spot-on with the wrestler analogy.

  2. Middle said

    Anxious to read a blog about all the drama that is taking place over in YOUR neck of the advertising woods . . . “Euro RSCG Chicago hires new CCO, Postaer moved to Chairman, waiting for his contract to run out . . .” Let’s get the scoop!!!

    • SRP said

      Blogging about my “situation” is not in anyone’s best interest right now.
      I’m very happy and very blessed.
      Needless to say, John King has a much harder road ahead of him.

  3. Middle said

    Fair enough my friend.

  4. plus SRP is an introvert. if you start blogging about yourself you may have to engage with people! eeek!

    that’s NOT to say we don’t want to know however …..

  5. jim schmidt said

    Greg Bashaw’s story–which was detailed in the Chicago Reader–is another very sad advertising tale.

  6. jim schmidt said

    I knew him a bit as well–before he joined the cult. He was a nice guy. Very sad what happened to him. Same with John King. We all have to count our blessings, that’s for sure. Especially around this time of year.

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