The one about a lesson in theatrical timing. Or that messy thing that fell from the sky.

In the 1970s, I was a student at the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts. The school was in a building just west of Fifth Avenue, on 57th Street.

The dance instructor there was a larger-than-life gent in his late 60s or early 70s who wore a black satin, red-lined cape and carried a black walking stick with a silver handle in the shape of an elephant’s head. A basso profundo with an exotic—but hard to pin down—accent, he reveled in telling long-winded stories about his glory days in—as he referred to it—theatre’s gilded age.

One afternoon after classes, a group of us headed west walking to our homes. He joined us. As we crossed 6th Avenue, he launched into a story about some grand theatrical adventure or other. And as he slowly raised his walking stick—which he always did when he was about to make an important point—an object fell from somewhere above. It smashed onto the sidewalk just a few feet ahead of us. It landed with a dull thunk.

Crushed, into and on the concrete, was a large glass jar of Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly. We could still make out pieces of the blue and white label. The round metal lid had been blown off on impact and it flew out into the street like a tiny little frisbee.

Without pausing or missing a single beat he shook his head understandingly, yet sadly, and said, “Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Lovers quarrel.” He waited for just a fraction of a second—for effect—and then continued on with his story of the gilded age.”

By Stephen Brockelman

As a Sr. Writer at T. Rowe Price, I work with a group of the best copywriters around. We belong to the broader creative team within Enterprise Creative, a part of Corporate Marketing Services. _____________________________________________ A long and winding road: My path to T. Rowe Price was more twisted than Fidelity’s green line. With scholarship in hand, I left Kansas at 18 to study theatre in New York. When my soap opera paychecks stopped coming from CBS and started coming from the show’s sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, I discovered the power of advertising and switched careers. Over the years I’ve owned an ad agency in San Francisco; worked for Norman Lear on All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son, and the rest of his hit shows; and as a member of Directors Guild of America, I directed Desi Arnaz in his last television appearance— we remained friends until his death. In 1988 I began freelancing full time didn’t look back. In January 2012 my rep at Boss Group called and said, “I know you don’t want to commute and writing for the financial industry isn’t high on your wish list, but I have a gig with T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills…” I was a contractor for eight months, drank the corporate Kool-Aid, became a TRP associate that August, and today I find myself smiling more often than not.

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