I can’t believe how low I’ve fallen! I’m just a Copywriter! And yet, more than 40 years ago I was Head of the Earth.
“What,” you say, “that’s impossible!” You doubt I was Head of the Earth!
Well, it’s true. As the Readers of my blog, 10 Minutes of Brilliance know, I actually was the Head of the Earth. And it wasn’t just the business cards with my title that proved it. I even had the written backing of the United Nations.
Before I explain this further, would someone please tell Millennials, Echo Boomers and Generation Why what “business cards” were.
All right, no one ‘s going to explain it to them. Then I will.
Back in the day, my young friends, business cards were non-digital thin sheets of material manufactured from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances creating an end product we called “paper.”
Long before texting, LinkedIn, What’s App or Facetime, business people printed their name, title and company on a “piece of paper” and then physically handed them to another person in a sort of ritual dance. The person on the receiving end then handed back his own title and company-identifying piece of paper.
STAN: There he goes again, Harriet. Goldman never seems to reach a conclusion. It’s already the 8th paragraph and he has yet to explain how he was Head of the Earth.
HARRIET: Give Jack time, Stan. Sure, he may take a circuitous route, but he always reaches his destination.
Where was I? Oh, hey, let’s go feed the animals!
Sorry, my ADHD just kicked in.
Now, I remember, in 1972, I formed a company called Earthday and I launched International Earth Day.
As far as I know, I was the first person to suggest that Earth Day should be an International event. One of my first public service ads was, “The Earth is a Mother!” Another was, “It’s your Planet. Keep it clean. There is no Plan-et B!”
Up front, I’m not claiming I came up with the idea for the first official Earth Day. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is credited with raising the environmental consciousness on Planet Earth.
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and it was a huge success.
A year later, in 1971, an even more successful Earth Day was held, although not everyone who showed up on Earth that day attended the event.
The problem, as I saw it, was that by 1972 many people were already getting tired of hearing about the environment. They viewed the twin Earth Days as a “Been there, done That twice” kind of deal.
However, I didn’t want the cries of “OK, next subject” reverberating through the endangered wilderness. As I figured it, we still had a lot to do to tidy up the planet and put everything back where we found it.
So, I did the only thing a sane, sensible and caring person could do. I appointed myself Head of the Earth. I had business cards printed, stationary, the whole 43 million yards* (*circumference of the Earth x yards in a mile).
You might question who gave me the authority to become Head of the Earth. Well, the position was open. And there were no other applicants.
Besides, I was young and figured it would look great on my resume.
Next I carefully studied the field to learn all I could about the Earth, endangered species, plant life, pollution, green marketing, population control, water and energy conservation, recycling and the myriad efforts needed to Save Our Planet.
An hour later, I started to work on business cards and stationery for my new company, Earthday. While I joke about my accomplishments now, in 1972, I was serious about helping Mother Earth. (One of my favorite ads was “The Earth is a Mother.”
I got radio stations across the country to tell listeners about “The 100 Things You Can Do to Save Planet Earth.”
I convinced governors to announce Earth Day proclamations, citizen groups to hold Earth Day Awareness events and even got The Today Show to interview an expert on the continued importance of the environment.
I told them all, “Hey, I’m Head of the Earth, you breathe the air. We need your help.”
My stationary was on recycled paper, so they must have figured I was for real.
But my biggest accomplishment was getting the support of the United Nations. I remember my first phone call. It went something like this.
“Is this Whitman Bassow from the United Nations?”
“Yes, it is,” he said.
“I’m Jack Goldenberg, Head of the Earth. We need to talk.”
Without questioning my authority, Whitman Bassow laughed and said, “You’re Head of the Earth? Wonderful! When would you like to come by?
I can understand why you might not believe that this actually happened. But I still have the letter from the U.N. from 1972 to prove it.
The U.N. gave me permission to use their name and logo and slogan from their “Only One Earth” Conference on my “Tickets of Admission to the Earth.”
I wanted to charge people for coming to the Earth on Earth Day. A dollar for adults and 50¢ for children 12 and under.
As I saw it, while it wasn’t mandatory to have an Earth Ticket to show up on Earth on April 22, 1972, but it sure would be a nice gesture. And also a cool way to donate to top environmental causes.
Was my campaign for International Earth Day successful? Well, yes and no. The Earth is still here and the once-a-year fervor to care for Mother Earth has been institutionalized, commercialized and co-opted by big business. And that’s a good thing.
A few years later I wanted to proclaim myself “Master of the Universe.” But some damn toy company beat me to it.
Thanks for stopping by. To hire the only Head of the Earth Copywriter, send an email to: email@example.com
Now I’m wondering, can a man really be head of the earth? And, can Mother Earth still tell him what to do, which would mean he isn’t really the Head of the Earth. Really enjoyed this piece!