Not a Prostitute on the Ground

I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me he was tired and depressed. He felt like he was in a rut, getting older, wasn't in a relationship, and just felt crummy. I tried to help by pointing out that he had a new orange shirt which was nice and a new pair of gym shorts. I told him that getting older wasn't bad; it’s better than being hit by a bus. And I suggested he should be glad he wasn't in a relationship. What if he were, and went home to be beaten every night. "See," I said, "You're lucky. You have a new shirt, aren't dead, and nobody is beating you at home every night."

This advice wasn't particularly helpful. Even I could tell that the "Glad Game" wasn't working. So I told him to go home and watch any Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland movie. Babes in Arms and Babes on Broadway are especially cheerful. You know the standard plot: The orphanage is about to be sold and the poor urchins will be put on the street, so the local kids get together and decide to put a show on in the barn or street to raise money. Mickey and Judy round everyone up and their friends are all incredibly talented and hammy. They put on giant production numbers at the drop of a hat. A powerful show business executive discovers them. They raise money and the orphanage is saved.

God's Country, in Babes in Arms, has a rousing finale with lots of American flags. But my favorite is Hoe Down from Babes on Broadway. It's fresh and wholesome. It's good American farm life with a snappy rhythm. Of course, these were made right before and at the beginning of World War II. So there is a fair amount of patriotism, nostalgia for simple values, and innocent teenagers. These are a perfect antidote to those days when anyone is feeling sad.

And if that's not enough, there's always Polyanna. Don't worry, I've been told to not pursue therapy as a career.

Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos

At the Fluxus exhibition, Fondazione Bonotto, Comune di Venezia

My dad told me, “You can go along with the fates, or you’ll be dragged along behind them.” The point was to accept change and gracefully move forward. That being said, it’s not so easy. In the last year and a half, I’ve been faced with many decisions and changes. Sometimes I went along easily. At other times the universe had to slam my head against the wall repeatedly until I got the message. I like to think I’ve come through the other end with a greater acceptance of change and see it as a wonderful adventure. But, then iPhoto became Photos.

I can’t get behind this one. It does all kinds of dumb things like losing titles that I painstakingly added with names and dates (which I like to use, oddly). Then it sucked up another 70 gigabytes of space. And then I find that the dates are goofed up. So I’ve ditched it and gone back to Aperature.

The good part of this (see, always play the Glad Game)*, was that I found hundreds of images that I forgot about. Many of them from my recent Italian trip. Like most of you, mine are bereft of people. Why take photos of your friends or spouse when there is a cool cup at the synagogue in Rome?

*The Glad Game: Pollyanna, 1960

As a child with her missionary parents in Africa, Pollyanna asks for a doll for Christmas. When supplies arrive in the tiny village, the church has sent, not a doll, but crutches. Pollyanna is sad. Her father suggests playing the Glad Game. She should find a silver lining. In this instance, she should be glad she doesn’t need the crutches.


Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/ He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.