Things I Know 10 of 365: I’m in the market for hype

Don’t believe the hype…

– Public Enemy

As my grandfather opened his gift, my little brother looked on.

His mother had wrapped it.

Not quite sure what was within the paper, Taylor tolerated the delicate way my grandfather pulled at the tape so as not to tear the paper unnecessarily.

More Christmas presents were in the offing, and that expectation was at war with the manners engrained in my brother.

Finally, a speck of orange peaked from an opening in the paper.

“What!” Taylor yelled.

I had no idea what was going on.

“Oh my gosh, Zachary. ShamWow!”

And he was correct.

My grandfather finished unwrapping his set of chamois cum towel cum sponge. Taylor went ballistic.

“Awwww! I hope I get some too!” And he meant it.

Taylor had bought in to the hype.

It was hard to blame him.

In my early years of teaching, the ShamWow guy was a staple of mealtime conversation.

A towel that can hold up to “12X its weight in liquid?” How does that not inspire a deperate public?

A few minutes later, in a box three times the size necessary, Taylor’s 11-year-old dreams came true. His own set of ShamWow…eh…ShamWows…

“Can we go spill something?”

“Sure,” said his mother and he and my sister Kirstie were off to the kitchen.

It’s been a while since I’ve purchased stock in hype.

I bought some during the 2008 presidential election. But, like many stocks since then, that hype has lost its worth.

Still, I’m thinking of getting back in the market.

A former superintendent of D.C. schools started selling some hype today. Says she’s got the answers to education. It sounded pretty shiny. If I learned anything from my last purchase, though, it’s to be suspicious of those who have more answers than questions.

My next hype won’t be seen on TV. It won’t issue press releases. It won’t ask for my money. My next hype will require an initial payment of hope and  follow-up payments of constant accountability.

When I find my next hype, it will even outshine the German engineering of the ShamWow.


4 thoughts on “Things I Know 10 of 365: I’m in the market for hype

  1. I buy my own hype. Every day. I get myself excited about what comes next and then I start building a case for it to exist. I bought Obama's hype, and while there are some things I would have done differently, I bought in because I wanted to. I bought my own hype, not his. I still believe in me, in us. A few missteps does not change that. Everyone has the ability to be amazing and to hype that amazingness into something actually worth buying. As much as pundits want to believe they matter, it is and always will be a buyers market for hype.

    • Definitely a buyer's market, for sure.

      The thing about hype, though, is that it's hyperbole.

      When I'm owning or manufacturing hype, I'm living in that created reality. I
      know that it's not the reality I'll exist later. To live in constant hype
      would verge on the delusional.

      I knew when the election cycle was at its peek that much of what the country
      was coming to expect would not come to fruition. The hype had escalated to
      Arthurian levels. And while Tim Geithner is good, he's no Merlin.

      I believe in us too. Every day.

      I also know that the hype and the reality are different. And, I know that I
      live in both places depending on my needs.

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