Groundhog Day seems like an appropriate occasion to talk about “One X at a time,” the sloganclone that, like Punxsutawney Phil, keeps popping up. Year after year I point with alarm. And yet the formula thrives, in sunshine and shadow, in winter, spring, summer, and fall. I feel like such a failure.
If I had to identify the source of all this at-a-timing, I might single out “One Day at a Time,” the Norman Lear sitcom that enjoyed a robust run on network TV (1975–1984) and which last year was revived, with substantial changes – chief among them a Cuban-American family at the center of the action – for Netflix. The second season arrived last week, and a third-season renewal was announced on January 30.
Also on January 30, I walked by the Flying Falafel restaurant on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley and observed this slogan.
“Falafelizing the world one pita at a time.” Points, I guess, for verbing falafel, which to my knowledge no one else has attempted to do.
“Transform lives, one wish at a time” isn’t just lazy, it’s illogical, in my estimation. It’s always less than desirable to repeat your name (or part of your name) in your tagline. And it isn’t the wish that transforms a life: it’s money, determination, and effort.
Last weekend I saw someone wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “one film at a time,” but I couldn’t get a photo and now can’t remember what the cause or festival was. While searching for it, I found this instead, from an organization I’d never heard of: Menstrupedia, in Gujarat, India.
Menstrupedia’s “friendly guide to healthy periods” is a worthy endeavor in a part of the world that badly needs it. I wish the slogan were less of a cliché (and the name less academic-sounding than “Menstrupedia”), but it seems mean-spirited to object. I give up. Go ahead and at-a-time us, Menstrupedia, and keep doing your good work.