The Pitch

don draper

EFG Window Washing, LLC. Cleveland, Ohio.

A clear summer day overlooking Lake Erie.

Do you like books? One of the things I like about books is their ability to tell stories that make people want to read them over and over again. I studied history in college because history majors are required to read a lot. And write! We write about what we uncover in lectures, books and research materials. Analytical thinking and critical thinking are involved, but the final outcome depends on how well we can write a story about the social, political and economic developments of a particular time period.

Looking back, I had a rather superstitious way of studying history. I sat up close in class and took lots of notes. The week before exams I started rewriting the notes I had taken in class from day 1. I transformed hieroglyphics that only I understood into legible paragraphs. Then I threw in some extra material I had found in big books at the library. By rewriting my notes instead of memorizing, I was practicing to be a writer. I was also learning the most important parts of history by transferring knowledge from my pen, up my arm, and into my head. I went through legal pads like you wouldn’t believe!

I tackled research papers with great vigor. Writing papers was something I was good at. Take away research papers and I’m an average student, maybe worse. If you let me write something, I can get an A. I stayed up late typing papers on an old typewriter.  The kind that Kathy Bates smashed over James Caan’s head in Misery. I don’t know where it came from, it just showed up at my parents’ house one day and I started using it. It was the 80s. So I typed and I typed. Scores of legal pads, correction tape and dog-eared textbooks were stacked high on both sides of me. I had the urge to order a pepperoni pizza and time it just right so it’s delivered as I am writing that last sentence, trying hard not to smile because I know this paper is good but I don’t want to come across too confident.

After I graduated I kept writing. But I nearly stopped reading. When I got married I told my wife I’ve got to read more books. She was always reading books. Soon, all 4 of our girls were reading books. Newsweek and other name brand weeklies were publishing “Must Read Novels before You Die” lists. So I did what they told me. I started devouring books containing real literature. I read literary magazines like McSweeney’s, Tin House and The New Yorker. I made trips to library book sales. I had to build my library! Lucky for me, it’s one of the most affordable hobbies to get into. After finishing a book one day, I told my wife, “This reading for pleasure is really fun!” She smiled.

When you have good content (Thomas Paine’s Common Sense comes to mind) readers become more informed and lead better lives. The spread of ideas through pamphlets (the world’s first internet) was how the American Revolution was started. Companies, like books, have to set themselves apart from everyone else if they want to get noticed. This opens the floodgates for critics, bad reviews and poor publicity, but that’s the price you pay when you author products and services. If you have the wares and an interesting tale, the people that matter will find you and never leave. Everyone likes an immigrant story about recipes from the old country, an arduous journey to get here with not even 2 nickels to rub together, and life-threatening bouts with the consumption…until that day when the sign gets put up. Before long, the family business weathers a century. It looks into the eyes of the Great Depression and laughs in its face because it has seen worse. People eat this stuff up. Maybe not as much as Mama Mancini’s rigatoni and meatballs, but their mouths water for fresh stories, even if they’re just a new spin on traditional favorites. They like to be reminded of why they started going there in the first place. After all, they are a chapter in that restaurant’s book.

Now I know you’re not Mama Mancini. You’re EFG Window Washing. I heard you’re the one who’s responsible for all those dazed birds flying around out there! That’s because no one shines windows like you do. Cleveland has 142 skyscrapers. You’ve been washing the windows of Terminal Tower and the Keith Building for 30 years. That means there are 140 high-rises in Cleveland that have so much dirt on their windows that employees inside have to work under kerosene lamps because no light comes through. Their people have to call the people in Terminal Tower and the Keith Building for tales of Cleveland’s skyline. “Tell us about the rainbows, George! Tell us about the rainbows!” They can only imagine what life would be like if they, too, could look out their windows: Moods brighten, productivity increases. Words like barricaded and congested are no longer part of their vocabulary. EFG Window Washing joins Thoreau, Whitman and Frost as the true storytellers for embracing beautiful surroundings. Can you imagine what birds flying into the windows of 142 skyscrapers at the same time might sound like? Let’s start writing your story.

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