See, I thought I wanted to be a journalist, and I often still glamorize what my life would have been like if I had stayed that path. I even wrote about it here.
As a journalism major at The University of Texas, I was required to take a class outside my chosen major, but within the School of Communications. I chose to take a class in Advertising.
It was a lecture class of hundreds, with one man standing on a stage in front of gigantic screens that played slideshows and videos of classic Volkswagen ads, Samsonite ads, Jewish Rye, etc. You know the ones.
And something in me clicked. A lightbulb went on when I realized I could still be a writer, but I only had to write 8 words of clever copy (your average headline) and make a decent living at it. I even had the right to be funny. In fact humor was encouraged and often the most effective form of the craft. Great Scott!
I swooned. I changed my major to Advertising. I never missed a class.
I got an A.
This Intro to Advertising class was taught by John H. Murphy II, and I believe it still is, 20 years later. Since then, I’ve been telling the story of how I was once a journalism major, and how one charismatic professor changed all that. I have never forgotten how much that class affected my life.
This past Saturday night at the Austin Addy Awards Show, I ran into Dr. Murphy. And I got the opportunity to tell him what an impact he had on my life.
It was the highlight of my night.