It had been one of those weeks. Monday I got the news that I would not be landing the juicy new account repping the Emirate of Matar. Matar was trying to improve its image in the United States, which needed some buffing because six of its citizens had been apprehended trying to set off that radioactive device in the New York subway. That was Monday.
Wednesday I arrived in the office to the marvelous news that a pilot for an airline I represent had tried to fly a jumbo jet from Chicago to Paris while drunk. The air-traffic controllers ordered him back to the gate after he started singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as the plane taxied for takeoff. I issued a statement highlighting the fact that the co-pilot was a Mormon and would have been able to land the plane safely. In public relations you live with the reality that not every disaster can be made to look like a misunderstood triumph.
So I wasn't in an excellent mood when my secretary told me there was someone with a pronounced English accent on the phone who wouldn't give his name but was "most insistent" that he speak with me. Frankly, I almost didn't take the call. I don't want to give the impression that I'm one of those snooty types who stand on ceremony. On the contrary. Ask around and they'll tell you that Renard Strategic Communications is a "people" firm. To us, a client is not just a source of endless billable hours (though he is also that) but a soul in need, whether it's a soul who has just been charged with insider trading or one whose product has poisoned some watershed and made an entire species extinct (usually some type of frog that really no one aside from biologists with too much time on their hands is going to miss). Anyway, I took the call.