Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Hole in One

My former boss was speaking at a lecture last week, and because of his advanced age and gigantic unruly ego, he made some comments that were, shall we say, not the most sympathetic to women. Although, I must say that even in his social faux pas-ing, he managed to be well spoken and only graze the issue and simply hint at the other completely sexist things that he was actually thinking. So, no one could truly crucify him, also (and I am able to say this because I am the bigger person) what he said did contain a few hard to digest grains of truth.

When I first saw him lecture, I was taken with his ease and articulate confidence. I sat there with Joe beside me and a notebook in my lap and stars overflowing in my naive eyes. He seemed down to earth and yet very very smart and funny and most of all, a true artist. He would give it all up for his craft, spend nights working until it was just right, he poured thoughtfulness and spirit into all of his images and waxed philosophical often and much. I was impressed, although to his credit, Joe was not.

I went to work for him and realized that he was not only not the aging hippie with a heart and pencil of gold that I thought he was, but a serious businessman and a card carrying asshole. It upset me, it still upsets me when I think about it, but I learned several valuable lessons from that man. You dont have to be nice to be respected and above all else, graphic design is a business and not a dreamy rainbow-connection of a creative endeavour.

The other night, I was hanging out with a friend of mine. I was talking to her about how I am afraid that in science there will be assholes there too and how will I handle it blah blah blah. She cut my quivering statement in half with a comment as sharp and visceral as a rapier slashing at dawn. “You can learn a lot from an asshole.”

After it had been said, I paused to let the purity of the words take hold. And even though it felt like it was something that was as true as the rain, I had never thought about it quite that way before.

So here’s to all the assholes I’ve learned from and to all the future assholes who will keep me balanced uncomfortably on my toes with their brilliant bombast.