Cashing In? No.
...although a recent arrival pushed the envelope!
My husband likes to tease me about what he calls my “celebrity.” He started developing the joke when I made the mistake of taking him to a big dog show in the Bay Area. I was recognized by a few people, and I introduced myself to some others, and many of those people were nice enough to act as if they were glad to see me, and to praise Whole Dog Journal. “You’re famous!” Brian started saying. “I’m living with a dog-world celebrity!”
This is especially amusing to Brian because he knows how much I value being anonymous. I turn down opportunities to be interviewed on camera and to speak publicly. I turn my ID badge backward when I attend conferences. I’m shy! Plus I find it far more interesting to see hear what company representatives have to say when they think they are talking to someone who doesn’t know very much.
But Brian is not the kind of guy who uses a joke just once; he’ll flog this one as long as he can. He complains when I buy dog food: “I know you could get that for free if you just asked!” If I raise my voice to our dog, he threatens to call the tabloids: “News flash! Whole Dog Journal Editor Nancy Kerns Abuses Dog!” And he keeps mock-encouraging me to “cash in.” At least once a week he asks me, “Honey, isn’t it time to sell out? Let’s get that deal for Whole Dog Chow going! Let’s get some product endorsements rolling!” We both work at home; maybe we see too much of each other.
Unfortunately, his behavior was randomly reinforced last month, when I received – completely out of the blue – the first big-ticket “freebie” item of my journalism career – and, not incidentally, the first Whole Dog Journal-related item that held any interest to my husband whatsoever: a high-end, high-power vacuum, the Dyson Animal DC 23. Dyson simply asked me to consider the vacuum for a review. I am considering it, believe me; I’m considering it all over the house! (It’s a fantastic vacuum, the best I’ve ever used, but I promise to write a vigorous, thorough review of it in an upcoming issue.)
Now I just have to balance my enjoyment in having such a great vacuum against the onslaught of Brian’s newly inspired “dog celebrity” jokes. “Try to get us a new car, will you?” is the latest. “All you’ll have to do is say, ‘Lexus: It’s the best and safest car for dogs.’ How can that possibly hurt?”
Fortunately, Brian is joking. He understands that the one of the most important factors in Whole Dog Journal’s success is its independence. Neither I nor my publisher is beholden to anyone; if my or my writers’ research turns up a rat in the pet food industry or anywhere else, we’re free to reveal it. It’s a dream job for a dog-loving journalist like me.
Now, if I could just stop feeling guilty about my newest favorite household chore, vacuuming!