Friday, June 03, 2016

The Guy Who Designed Lunch Boxes

If you were a kid in the 70s/early 80s, you likely carried a lunch box to school. On that box was probably a 3-D/bas relief-type image of your favorite TV show. Like this:

I was listening to the Mystery Show podcast last week when its host did an episode about this lunch box:

A fan of the show wanted to know where the artist had gotten this scene, since it wasn't in any of the episodes. (He'd watched them all numerous times.) Why is the jean jacket knotted? And why does Epstein look like he wants to fight Barbarino? They were friends.

To get her answer, the podcast host tried to track down the lunch box's designer, Elmer Lenart. He's no longer alive, but his designs live on in the Smithsonian, where the Kotter lunch box and many others are on display:

This is Elmer, as the giant on the Land of the Giants lunch box:

He also designed this one:

This one:

And this one:

Eventually his job was phased out. Lunch boxes stopped looking like ^^^that^^^ and started looking more like this:

And this:

Needless to say, the latter two lunch boxes likely won't end up in the Smithsonian.

Did you have a lunch box growing up?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

IWSG: Real Writers Don’t Talk, They Write

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecuritiesIf you're a writer, join in!

An interesting woman joined our writer's group several years in, showing up one day with her fancy clothes and expensive jewelry.

She didn't really fit in with our typical writer attire, but that was okay. Everyone was welcome.

At the time, my job was to greet new people and make them feel at home. Within five minutes of meeting her, I'd heard all about the book she was writing. In detail.

It continued every time she came to a meeting. For months...and months...and months. I soon realized she likely hadn't written more than a few chapters of that book and never would. She just wanted to be seen as a writer. You know the type.

The problem with writing is that it's a fairly private endeavor. It's you, sitting in front of your computer, putting words on paper. You do that day after day after day until one day you have a novel. You should look like this:

And not like this:

It's even worse now that people can self-publish. While there are plenty of talented writers who publish their own books, there are also quite a few blowhards who do it for party conversation.

The sad thing is, nobody really cares. Trust me. Every cent I make comes from writing and nobody ever wants to hear me talk about it. If you ask me what I do for a living, I'll tell you, but I'm not going to tell you every detail of everything I've written in the past month. Which brings me to my point...

Most real writers don't talk about our work. We're too busy doing it.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a conversation you couldn't get out of? What did you do?