Portland, Maine

Thompson's Point

July 16, 2016

[Jean Coughlin]

Comments by Jean Coughlin

The Swag Arrives

As much as I love getting the Swag, this time I was a bit set back.
I thought to myself, don’t react it’s not that big a deal.
I made it about 5 minutes or so before I had to write this encounter 
It seemed to be the purpose of the thing.
This package represents the worst of the worst for mass-marketing.
It probably didn’t sell and that’s why we are getting it in this gift package
A delivery method that doesn’t let us choose, not to support this kind of 
Is this the new product set that the NFL or the NHL has been pumping 
out to the fans?
It violates all my rules. The die-cut styro/foam rubber is so toxic to the 
Ironically, until a year ago, I worked in a job where we would have created 
something like this, if a client had asked us to.
Suddenly I’m thinking, maybe Bob would want us to let him know what 
kind of Piss their pumpin’ out up there at corporate for him. Does he really 
have any control.
Perhaps Bob would like it if the fans pushed back a little bit and did 
something to resist wasteful products like this. I decided to do a little 
research in the field.
“Did everyone get the same thing?” I ask on the audience floor. Indeed 
the consensus was we all had received the same VIP Package.
One year I got a cool Bob Dylan beach towel. It was kind of like an Elvis 
The next time I got a totally cool and useful computer bag/ Bob Dylan 
This year the toxic world of ‘Marketing and Promotions” leftovers has hit 
the streets.
Has the executive branch of marketing mistaken Bob Dylan Fans for the 
gun toting, soda drinking, lottery ticket holding , carbohydrate consuming 
populous, and given us the old “Styrofoam is the New Wood” routine.
Then I’m reminded of the Bob Dylan song, “It’s All Good” off Together 
through Life.
This product which I will now describe as a 3D Highway 61 emblem with 
the words Bob Dylan also cut out in foam rubber and laden with adhesive 
and sandwiched together with other layers of styro/foam rubber to form 
such a useless form of 3D wall adornment by it’s nature of construction 
alone. And it’s accompanying magnet of the same nature except smaller 
and bequeathed with an equally toxic magnetic layer on it’s backside.
Did I mention the afore-mentioned display item of larger stature is a Clock. 
Had it been made of wood or even a recyclable cardboard it could have 
been a cool object. These pieces as they are made are almost instantly 
trash because the foam rubber will begin to attract dirt and start looking 
shabby about as soon as I put it on “My” wall. (said with a Bob lift on the
 “My”) It doesn’t dust well.
In landfill that thing is going to last forever in some “form”.
It doesn’t burn well.
Then I’m reminded of the Bob line.
“Sooner or later, you too will burn…”
Ironically again, I received notice of the 4lb package arriving by FEDEX 
about 5 or 6 days ago.
The VIP seats are for the Sunday concert in NH. Even though I had just 
seen the show in Boston the night before, the package not having arrived 
yet was not on my mind.
On the farm it’s a bit hard to determine where a person might be lurking 
behind a door with a willingness to sign for the package. I’m working most 
days and so is Michael so it has a deserted feeling about it. I was taking 
advantage of a planned day off after the Thursday concert. I was 
wandering around in front of the studio trying to get something going 
with my yard projects. Mostly clean-up and clean-out in nature. Suddenly 
I became aware that I had the studio/gallery jammed up with packing 
materials I have been collecting from work. I have been trying to pack 
things to send to my stepdaughter in Arizona , the bio-degradable peanut 
count had gotten way out of control.
It came into my head like a flash that if Bob and his entourage would 
suddenly drive by on their motorcycles and stop into the gallery the 
place would be full of peanuts and boxes. I had
this distinct feeling come over me that Bob could be arriving soon. I 
really had been sending our e-mail newsletter to his manager announcing 
exhibits at the studio. And he had opened it. Software doesn’t lie.
I flew into action and began shifting the boxes and stuffed all the 
packaging materials into the back of my car. I went back to cleaning up 
about the front of the place. Removing debris from sorting through 
stored boxes out in the light of day. I tipped over the buckets and 
planters filled with rainwater from the night’s deluge. My new yellow 
wheelbarrow picked up free at a yard sale up the road is proving to be 
a great tool for measuring the rainfall.
Not much being used for hauling.
A few minutes later I was inside the gallery doorway when I heard the 
sound of a large truck stopping and a door slamming. “What’s this?” I 
thought. But I didn’t react because a lot of times it’s actually across the 
street at the High School and it only sounds close-by.
Half a minute later I stepped outside and was confronted from behind 
the bushes by the large
‘Budget Rental” van parked in my drive.
I walk closer “hello?”
No one answers, no one in the driver seat, a rumagin’ out behind the 
Well now the true Mainer come out in me, the Steven King influence, 
the fear of the odd psycho driving around in a budget van ready now 
to take me away and boil me in oil for dinner.
{another Bob reference).
I decided I would start to get in my car which was parked nose to with 
the truck.
“He’ll have more trouble getting me away if I’m behind the wheel and if 
I have my keys I can just drive across the lawn and get away.” Michael 
was asleep in the house taking a well deserved nap after 7 days straight 
on the job. Shelf stocking is now a corporately driven profession. Push it 
out for profits. They drive him hard.
Just before I can get in behind the wheel, a non threatening youngish 
guy comes around the other side of the truck with a brown package 
that says not FEDEX but “Bob Dylan and his band” in bold letters on the 
outside of the plain brown box.
“Oh! It’s Bob,” I cried. “of course, Bob has arrived.” I walked up to the 
young man and he gave me the box. “I couldn’t find you yesterday” 
he said. “ the mailboxes are hard to figure.”
“Oh no it’s fine, it seems Bob and I have a date for this package!” 
something like that flew out of my mouth. I went back inside and began 
to realize that Bob actually had been on his way. He had just been 
delivered by truck.
Now I’m reminded of a Dylan line, “I need a dump truck to unload my 
The moral of course is that the experience and excitement that surrounded 
the package and the thrill of its arrival is far more valuable and long lasting to 
me than what was in the box.
“This dream of you


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