GET LUCKY by Katherine Center
By SMW Staff
Sometimes the worst thing to happen turns out to be the best and vice versa. Sarah Harper does the unthinkable and forwards an inappropriate e-mail to the entire company, losing her job in advertising. Luckily she planned to go home to Houston to spend time with her sister Mackie and her husband. Unfortunately, on the plane, she sits next to Everett, the high-school boyfriend she unceremoniously dumped. After Sarah realizes how gorgeous and successful he is, Everett ruins the moment by making a snarky comment. Capriciousness takes over Sarah’s life as she decides to help Mackie with her infertility problem by becoming a surrogate. Sarah perceives this as a bonding time for the sisters, but things do not work out as planned, and Sarah finally recognizes that the loss of her mother at a young age had major effects on her life, her attitude toward love, and maybe even her luck. Center delivers an original, engaging, and touching novel populated with quirky and lovable characters, and ripe for discovery by readers looking for a cheering read. –Patty Engelmann
First: I got fired. For emailing a website with hundreds of pictures of breasts to every single person in our company. Even the CEO and chairman of the board. Even the summer interns.
Looking back, I may have been ready to leave my job. I’d like to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes the crazy things I do are actually very sensible. And sometimes, of course, they’re just crazy.
I knew the company had just lost a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit for some very big money. I knew we were now enforcing our zero-tolerance policy. I knew somebody somewhere in the chain of command was looking to make an example. But I didn’t think about all that at the time. Here’s another thing I didn’t think about: I’d just nailed the ad campaign of a lifetime, and I was finally about to get promoted.
In my defense, it wasn’t like these people had never seen a breast before. In fact, our whole agency had been awash in them for months. We’d just finished a national campaign for a major bra company, and I’d led the creative team. I’d even come up with the concept—ads directing women to do all sorts of crazy things with their chests while wearing one of these bras.
“Dip ‘em,” one ad read, while our push-up-clad model leaned into a swimming pool, dunking her boobs in the water. “Scoop ‘em,” read another, while she pushed her boobs up toward her chin with two enormous ice cream cones. “Lauch ‘em,” ordered a third, as she arched her back up to the sky. And on and on: “Smack ‘em,” “Mug ‘em,” “Wash ‘em,” “Flush ‘em,” “Flash ‘em,” “Love ‘em,” “Lick ‘em,” “Leave ‘em.”
I’d spent innumerable hours with those boobs—weekends, nights—working my butt off to turn them into the most famous cleavage in America. Which, by January, they’d become. No small feat.
The model for the campaign was nineteen years old and profoundly anorexic with the most enormous augmented chest you can imagine. I didn’t even know her name, actually. We just called her “the Tits.” She was a petulant teen who spent all her time between shots wearing earbuds and drinking lattes and then asking people for gum. The question “Do you have any gum?” will forever take me back to that summer.
She was a pretty girl, though the freckles, bumpy nose, and squinty eyes would have required retouching. If we’d used her face. In the end, we zoomed in so close that her face didn’t even come into the shots. When it came to bras, who needed a face?
That’s really how I used to think. I’m not exaggerating at all.
If I sound crass here, that’s because I was. If I sound unlikable, that’s probably true, too. I was, at this point in my life, after six years in advertising, a person who needed a serious spanking from the universe.
And don’t worry. I was about to get it.
I was proud of the ads. They were saturated with color, eye-catching, naughty, and delightful. Everybody was ecstatic, and I was strutting around the office like a diva. The Boob Diva. That was me.
But something was off. Being the Boob Diva wasn’t as great as I’d expected. I’d been so underappreciated at that job for so long that when appreciation finally came, it felt false. Maybe I’d built up too many expectations. Maybe all the pep talks I’d given myself about my coworkers being idiots were finally kicking in. Or maybe external validation is always a little disappointing, no matter what.
The books I’d been reading weren’t helping, either. I had a whole stack by my bed that chronicled the ways advertising was making us all miserable. Who knows why I kept buying them? It’s a chicken-egg question. Did I hate my job because I was reading the books? Or was I reading the books because I hated my job? Either way, I couldn’t get around what they had to say: That an economy based on buying stuff needed to keep us all dissatisfied and miserable, needed to keep us focused on what we didn’t have instead of what we did, and needed to convince us that things like happiness and peace and beauty could be bought.
Not the greatest water cooler chitchat.
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