A couple of years ago I was at a party, talking to a beautiful woman. I felt like that guy Mel Gibson played in that movie when he had this accident and he could hear what women were thinking so he said all the right things and chicks really digged him. In short: I was doing a pretty good job. Until…

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“Oh well, you know, I work in advertising.”

Now, I was expecting an answer richly sprinkled with words like ‘fascinating’ ‘complete turn on’ and/or ‘Is it true what they say about men working in advertising?’ Instead…

“Really? How can you live with yourself?”

“Eh?”

“Seriously: How. Can. You. Live. With. Your. Self.”

“Er..  well, you know, ehm, I try to eat healthy, drink lots of herbal tea…”

I was starting to feel like that guy Mel Gibson played in that other movie when he’s totally depressed and he uses a beaver hand puppet to talk to people and everybody thinks he’s a complete nutjob.

“You see, I work with children with learning disorders and a lot of them are in deep financial trouble because they buy into a lifestyle, trying to live up to the image your advertisements create.”

From there on the conversation turned completely sour and I just felt like Mel Gibson’s real life.

Later that night, as I lay in bed, alone, I pondered the question. As I had done many times before and plenty of times ever since. Can you work in advertising and still have moral principles? Or was Bill Hicks right: am I Satan’s little helper? Should I go suck a tailpipe?

Can you work in advertising and still have moral principles?

I mean, I’ve urged people to buy incredibly useful and life-enhancing products like instant soup, instant meals, instant kids meals, soft drinks, industrial air filters and Imaginary-Friend-In-The-Sky knows what else. I’ve worked for Evil Institutions such as insurance companies, lotteries, banks and Sky Radio.

Where should I draw the line? I once turned down a job for an online poker site (Actually, I lost the pitch. But let’s not split hairs here) Would I – a vegetarian – work for McDonalds, in order to supersize my career and at the same time help create a world filled with massive man boobs, miserable cows and no rainforest? Would I work for Shell? Tobacco companies? The PVV? Would I work for Sky Radio again?

Tough questions. Now, anybody hoping for some Answers, Enlightenment or just anything remotely useful: this is your cue for disappointment. I haven’t figured it out. I just eat biological, take the train, separate my garbage and adopted a Foster Parent kid named Akwokwo or Afafa. It’s not much, but it prevents me from orally inserting the next exhaust pipe that enters my sight.

As for you, you’re on your own here. You try to figure out how to defend yourself against morally righteous, beautiful women at parties and the knowing eyes of financially troubled children with learning disorders. Not to mention all those big bouncy mantits that you’ve helped bring into this world.

Good luck.