I haven't done DFM in some time. So...as I seem to do every year...we start again.
Some random thoughts from my hotel room...
I am in the Atlanta area; specifically, the Buckhead area. Seriously? Buckhead? Who came up with this name? Buckhead sounds like a word the teachers invented when they dealt with some offensive graffiti by adding some semi-circles to the capital 'F' making it a 'B'. Can't you picture it? "Some kids thought that they would ruin our school; well, we showed them. No one will be offended by BUCK-head!"
I didn't know what I would find when I came to Buckhead, given that dialog that was running through my head. Turns out, Buckhead is a posh area of Atlanta--sometimes referred to as "East Beverly Hills". It has a mall with valet parking for heaven's sake. There is a movie-dinner theater; you can watch Inception or Eat. Pray. Love. while you eat (praying and loving are optional).
Now the dialog in my head isn't about changing foul words to meaningless words. Now the dialog is more like someone trying to one-up his brother in naming his estate with snobbery. "Oh Phineas--you're so predictable. So you named your estate "Moraine Crest" eh? Well, I have named mine 'Buckhead.'"
Here in Buckhead I came across the regional headquarters of Fifth Third bank. Fifth Third? Again, seriously? I'm sure the boring answer is that there was a Fifth bank and a Third bank and they merged (turns out that's true). But what might Fifth Third mean? Does it mean 15th? Or is it like a competition where five different teams tie for 3rd place, so you are the "Fifth Third" and the next team is actually...eighth?. Or maybe it is 5/3, as in 1 and 2/3. "Sure, your bank is the First National Bank, but our bank is 2/3 better than that!"
As I walked around downtown Buckhead, I was surprised to see that Buckhead is also the headquarters of Spanx. Spanx is a company that makes, well, essentially girdles. No, these are not your grandmother's girdles or sexy Victoria's Secret corsets. These are modern, lycra-inspired compression-ware, and are the current favorite to make a woman's body seem to lose anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds instantly. Celebrities love them, including Oprah, Gwynneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba.
By itself, the headquarters of Spanx is no big deal, other than the whole be-honest-with-your-body thing. But...Spanx headquarters is on the same block as Ruth's Chris Steak House. Ruth's Chris must be the Fifth Third of steakhouses. Ruth's Chris? As opposed to Joan's Chris or Allison's Chris? Is Chris some specific way to prepare meat? No, it's much more boring than that. Some woman named Ruth bought a steak house from a guy named Chris. She ran it as Chris' Steak House for several years, and then her contract ran out and she moved to a new location. But so many people knew her restaurant as "Chris" that she named the new restaurant "Ruth's Chris". I'm sure she got funding from Fifth Third.
Anyway...Ruth's Chris has the largest portions of steak you can imagine. I have eaten there, and your arteries begin to harden just by looking at the menu. So you can eat an enormous steak just a stone's throw from Spanx headquarters. "Hmmm, if I buy a Spanx can I eat the "Porterhouse for Two" by myself?"
Lastly my day of random Buckhead observations was made complete by a guy I ran into on the subway (the Marta) who was selling Krispy Kreme donuts as a fundraiser. His pitch was amazing: "$5 for a dozen glazed donuts. Guaranteed Fresh--so fresh that if you actually have to use your teeth to eat one I'll give you your money back." He was personable, friendly and funny, and didn't mention that he was fundraising even once (except for the fact that the donut boxes said "Fund Raising" on them). He got off at the Buckhead stop, and as we walked down the platform together, I asked him for what was he raising funds?