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VINSON: Shades of Marlboro Man reflected at public library

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Smoker or nonsmoker, I have to assume practically everyone reading this column is familiar with the Marlboro Man, either by TV, magazine or billboard advertisements.

The Marlboro Man ad campaign was created in 1954 by Leo Burnett to promote Marlboro cigarettes. The original Marlboro Man was a tanned, rugged cowboy wearing a cowboy hat, standing out in the middle of somewhere, puffing on a Marlboro cigarette.

It has been said the Marlboro Man campaign is the most successful of all time, reportedly increasing sales of the name-brand cigarette, worldwide. Though there were many Marlboro Men models – for lack of a better term – the original cowboy in 1954 remains the most popular.

If my research is correct, the Marlboro Man ad campaign ceased in 1999.

It was a couple weeks back, and my niece, Samantha, and I were celebrating our birthdays. Because my birthday is Jan. 13, and her birthday is Jan. 15, our family celebrates the Sunday after both of ours have fallen.

At the site of the birthday celebration, Samantha handed me a pouch with a pair of sunglasses. She informed me that even though she had given up smoking, she still received gifts from the Marlboro company, from time to time.

She went on to tell me that, for whatever reason, Marlboro had sent her this pair of men’s sunglasses, and she was giving them to me.

I readily accepted the designer sunglasses. They had a cool, trendy appeal, and I did need a pair. I have a bad history of losing sunglasses, so I made a silent commitment I would exert more diligence in hanging onto these.

It was several days after our birthday party, and I decided to make a visit to the Magness Public Library in downtown McMinnville. The reason for the visit was I was away from my laptop and needed to check my e-mail. Magness Library has numerous computers for public use.

I went to the desk clerk, got a PIN number, and logged on. I stayed online for about 20 minutes, logged off, then exited the library. Then I realized, where are my sunglasses?

Frantically, I dug deep inside my pant pockets.

Not there.

Next, I nearly tore out my jacket pockets

Nowhere.

Then it hit me. I had taken them off while on the computer and placed them on the desk. I rushed back inside the library and straight to the computer terminal that I had sat at just minutes prior – no Marlboro sunglasses.

I finally conceded that I had taken off the sunglasses at the computer desk, totally forgotten them for a few minutes, and someone had noticed and taken them. It served me right.

Before leaving the library, I asked the desk clerk for the key to the public restroom, located on the second floor, Walking up the steps, I kept silently chastising myself for the sunglasses gaffe.

I unlocked the public restroom door and went inside. After conducting my business, I went to the basin to wash my hands.

Raising my head to splash some water on my face, to calm down, more than any other reason, I thought, “Oh no, surely not.”

You got it, pretty as you please, there they sat up top of my head kind of buried between my hair and ears. There were my Marlboro sunglasses.

I am forced to admit I walked out of Magness Library that day with mixed emotions: Though I had managed to salvage my cool Marlboro shades, I felt like a mere shade of the real Marlboro Man.

Thankfully, as of writing this column, I still have possession of my Marlboro sunglasses.
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Health, Marlboro, Marlboro Man, Media History, Smoking, Voices
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Members Opinions:
February 05, 2013 at 12:57pm
Pretty dang funny but you know, things like this have happened to us all!
February 05, 2013 at 2:54pm
My favorite line is: ". . . I felt like a mere shade of the real Marlboro Man." Let's face it Mike, "shadows" are hard to pin down.
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