Sunday, October 1, 2017

Cellophane Flowers of Yellow and Green

It's been a couple of weeks, but I've been sick. Meanwhile, here's another short and probably meaningless story of my childhood. 

It starts out with me watching a clip of The Graham Norton Show on You Tube the other day. Now, if you don't know who Graham Norton is, it's okay. He's a talk show host in Britain who is absolutely hilarious and has an appalling laugh. In any case, this clip features Ryan Gosling telling a story about his own childhood.

Okay, Ryan Gosling can tell stories absolutely deadpan, which makes them even funnier. This story was about how his parents somehow came to acquire a truckload of cellophane (plastic wrap, in case you didn't know it), and wanted him to sell it to their neighbors and take it to school and sell it - pretty much every kid's dream, help their parents make a million dollars the easy way.

He tells it better, but it made me think back to when I was eight years old and my mother had just left my dad and taken us with her to a small two-bedroom house to live. Okay, she didn't come across a truckload of cellophane, but what she did do was spend money (I don't know where the money came from) and printed her own greeting cards. They weren't ordinary greeting cards, no, they were full of lesser-known sentiments, like "Go Get 'Em, Tiger."

They weren't even printed on card stock, just black ink on colored paper. As an aside, I think with the right packaging and marketing, these would make a million dollars today, for sure. However, in 1971 no one cared. The reason this story comes to mind is that she bundled them together and packaged them in, you guessed it, cellophane. And then expected us to go door-to-door selling them for her.

Here's the thing. I don't do door-to-door. I don't do street evangelism either. I barely do meet-and-greet at church. I'm pretty much the hermit you read about, only without the explosives. Give me a piece of land, a room dedicated to arts and crafts and a great internet connection and what do I need with people? I don't even need cable TV, the internet is that good these days.

Later on she would create a line of 3-D greeting cards on card stock; they were art projects on their own because you had to color them in and cut them out and paste them together yourself. A great idea, if  the drawings weren't too fiddly to use actual scissors on. I think the kids and I used the last of them as art paper; the backs were blank.

So yeah. That's the story. I don't know what happened to those first cards. I think if I asked my oldest brother about it, he might know where the metaphorical bodies are hidden. In any case, that was the year I got glasses, discovered the joys of OCD and got to know the neighbor kid who was also a pyromaniac. No, really, he loved to burn things. The next summer we moved to the SF Bay Area from Sacramento. 

I have a few million-dollar ideas myself; we all do. Fred Flintstone and 412-Up soft drink, but then Barney Rubble is invisible. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to illustrate a children's book, publish a book of hand-drawn mazes and sell craft items online. Just one or two little ideas. Or maybe I'll just put that PayPal button on the bottom of this blog. Free book of mazes to the first person who helps me make my first million, no cellophane needed.  

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