Where have you gone, Around the Block? A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.


I’m back…with a little help from my friends, Cole Porter, Paul Simon and a concerned reader.

I haven’t posted in a while…a long while. I just checked. My last column was published on December 16. It’s been so long since I’ve written that the other day I received the following message from one of my most devoted and responsive readers:

“Are you okay, Ted? It has been quite a while since your last post. I miss your writing. Are you ill, or is someone you hold dear unwell? From a concerned reader.”

Worry not, concerned reader. Yes, it’s been a while since my last post. But, I am not ill. Nor is someone dear to me is not unwell either. I am sincerely touched that you miss my writing and that you are concerned.

Here’s the thing. November and December were very busy months for me and my output reflected that busyness. I looked at my archives and found that, including that December 16 story, I only posted two other stories that month. And only three in November. Contrast that with October and September (six stories each).

So, what was keeping me busy?

Ted channeling Adam Sandler in “The Chanukah Song”

I’m a member of a performing arts club in my community. The club presented a “Holiday Variety Show” on December 17th. I not only performed in that show, I wrote several of the skits. While the show was a success – the writing, the re-writing, the rehearsals – just wore me out. Wore me out to the point where I guess I just needed a break from creativity.

Then in early January, Sharon and I embarked on an almost three-week cruise and tour of South America. The trip included stops in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. It was my first sojourn to South America since 1968 when I was the Gunnery/Fire Control Officer aboard USS McCloy (DE-1038) which circumvented South America as part of joint operations with various South American navies called “Unitas IX.”

So, there you are – fatigue and travel are the culprits to my lack of productivity.

Nope. Easy excuses, but there’s more to it than that. Neither being worn out by other activities nor travel has limited my ability, but even more, my joy in writing.

Was it ennui?

Ennui? You’re probably thinking, “now who does he think he is Cole Porter?”*

*In the song, “You’re the Top” from Cole Porter’s show, Anything Goes, the opening verse first sung by the late, great Ethel Merman, goes like this:

My story is much too sad to be told, 
But practically everything 
Leaves me totally cold. 
The only exception I know is the case, 
When I’m out on a quiet spree, 
Fighting vainly the old ennui 
And I suddenly turn and see, 
Your fabulous face.

What is “ennui” anyway?

Ennui can be defined many ways, but is mostly identified with boredom or lack of interest. Does that mean I stopped writing not because I was tired, not because of travel, but because I lost interest in the subject matter I generally opined about?

That wasn’t it because I definitely hadn’t lost interest. So I dug deeper into the word’s meaning and found this: “A feeling of weariness and disgust; dullness and languor of spirits…”

That’s it, disgust; particularly if you, like I, have been following current events over the last several weeks. Weariness to a degree; but disgust for sure. Disgust that, as Mr. Porter writes, “Leaves me totally cold.”

The good news is (or the bad news depending on how you view my commentary), two things occurred this week. First, of course, I turned and saw a fabulous face…my concerned reader. And then I watched the GOP’s juvenile actions at the State of the Union address. Was it that repugnant conduct that shook me out of my lethargy. Whichever, I think I’ll begin to ease myself back. So stay tuned. more to come. And as Mr. Porter also wrote, “Anything Goes!”

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

5 thoughts on “Where have you gone, Around the Block? A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.

  1. Welcome back, Ted! don’t worry about the boredom or lack of enthusiasm since many of us, in these political season days, undergo such sentiments.

    Navy profile photo is a good one and suits you well.

    Off to a 14 day cruise ourselves on 27 March. Tokyo to Tokyo

    Semper Fidelis


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