rebirth and art

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Humorous Bits
Tags: , , , , , , ,

One innocuous morning you are happily singing along with your favorite Jimmy Buffet tune when it hits you. You’re living the life of a stranger. You’re not a pirate at 40; you’re not even a pirate. You’re an accountant or lawyer or sanitation worker or cop. Far worse, you are at the mercy of everything swirling around you, everything imposed on you by those who are not you. It’s a jarring and life-altering moment, one demanding contemplation and correction.

You scuttle off disoriented to your den, that private retreat where poisons purge from your body, where your spirit re-energizes. In this special place your mask slips away and you can be you. Your pulse steadies as normalization begins. Until you look at the walls, walls which are now an abomination, a portrait of a life you never wanted, a reflection of a person with whom you suddenly recognize all your share is a name. The walls are a vicious lie, a misleading ad campaign, the roadmap of an imposter. You see an expensive replica of Monet’s Water Lilies and framed degrees of higher education, but these are relics of a deceiver. They’re old, uninspiring and misleading. Your den should reflect your doctrine and what hangs on the walls is its messenger. But you realize this is no longer true. The Old You is gone and your sanctuary must reflect this shift.

Instinctively you know exactly what is missing, exactly what is needed to illuminate the truth. Away with Monet! Goodbye to the sheepskins! It’s time to bring in that special art form, that medium born in the ‘have a nice day’ 70’s and still going strong today. It is art that defines sensibilities and makes people think “Now there is a man who knows himself!” For this art is a marriage of photography and literature, and everyone knows you love both. This is poster art.

But not just any poster art. Motivational poster art! Those distinctive pieces found in board rooms and bedrooms, offices and train stations. Works titled Perseverance and Courage. These modern masterpieces show horses pounding along the ocean surf, their manes blowing in the brisk sea air, or a lone bald eagle soaring between snow-capped mountains, the world beneath a featherbed of evergreens. Accompanying the photo is a profound, yet simple quote from Emerson, Whitman or Byron designed to embolden the human spirit. Motivational poster art enlightens. People know the artist is a thoughtful humanist. And if the artist is a thoughtful humanist, the person choosing to display their art must also be.

There’s no time to waste! Like any American demanding instant gratification you hop into the car and speed to the nearest mall. (Where else does one go to buy great art?) Perseverance, Courage and countless others await the swipe of your credit card.

The art store shines like an aurora sandwiched between ‘Aeropostale’ and ‘Things Remembered.’ You make a mental note to stop in ‘Things Remembered’ to buy Aunt Emily and Uncle Bill an etched paperweight for their 50th wedding anniversary, but first things first.

Entering is like strolling up the ramp and seeing the amazing green pastures of Fenway Park for the first time. Spiritual only hints at the depth of emotion. Immediately, replicas of Van Gogh and Cezanne’s popular works overwhelm you. Moving deeper into the store you detect numbered, limited-edition lithographs from McKnight. At every turn you cannot escape Kincaid’s idyllic scenes of a world long gone (or perhaps never realized). But those fine pieces, stirring as they are, are mere distractions, simple amusements before heading to the back of the store where redemption waits.

Realizing you are not who you thought is foundation-shaking and requires constant encouragement in order to adjust. Therefore, motivational poster art should be chosen with great care. Options abound, yet you must start sensibly with one defining piece. This is paramount. A bad choice can do exactly the opposite of what you intended, like the poster hanging in the doctor’s waiting room that reads “Have patience for I have other patients.”

You consider a piece called Dreams which shows a pyramid of perky, grinning cheerleaders from the Pac-12, pom-poms at the ready. But that’s the Old You. You’ve moved beyond posters of scantily clad, nubile young women. The New You is serious.

The remaining choices are so familiar, so clichéd. A Commitment poster of a marathon runner in a wind-swept rainstorm; Excellence showing a man atop K2, arms trust in exaltation towards the heavens; Integrity depicting a lone infantryman bandaging what is clearly an injured enemy soldier. None of these reflect your philosophy, a philosophy which can only be expressed on a poster created by a person you’ve never met. Surely something different is available, something cutting edge which hits the perfect note. Yet with each mundane poster hope diminishes. You decide to look one last place – in the stack marked “Clearance” leaning against a far wall.

As you approach your spirit inexplicably lifts. Confidence grows with every step. You’re guided by unseen forces. As if by magic your hand jumps to a piece in the middle of the stack, its gold plated frame glittering as if dipped in stars. You don’t know why you picked it. You just know a greater power is in play.

You carefully lift the piece and place it on a nearby easel. An instantaneous transformation occurs. Your nerves tingle; you become light-headed. The majesty of the art washes over you like a benediction. The piece is amazing and beautiful and original and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The photo is stunning, the words epic. Move over Ansel Adams. Step aside Emerson, Whitman and Byron. You’ve found purity in a frame; you’ve found the true expression of the New You. You’ve found Gentleman.

Beneath the title is a black and white photo of young people dancing in a densely-packed, dimly lit, and vaguely seedy club. The oppressive raw heat of bodies mashed together, gyrating and moving as one to an elemental beat pulsates through you. The photo alone lifts your soul to exhilarating new heights, but the words sketched below, the words of Eminem, seal the deal.

Baby it’s all on you, it’s you I call on boo
Let’s set a day up so you can fall on through
We’ll take a spin in a Lexus you can chill for dinner and breakfast
Long enough to see how this gentleman sex’es.

Hallelujah! Perseverance and Courage have their place, but not in your sandbox. The songs of Buffet and the mundane pabulum of Commitment, Excellence and Integrity do not belong in your life. You live real, you live true. You do not climb mountains because they are there. You do not live a life prescribed by others. You’ve found your rap, your true self. Water Lilies be gone! You are reborn, a man infused by the slim shady side of life! And the art in your den will prove it.

  1. sparklebumps says:

    You have a Things Remembered in your mall too? I miss our picture place. I once got a great surreal poster there with a man holding a briefcase while standing in water at the bottom of an escalator….


  2. And I thought you were going to end up with the poster of the dogs playing poker – very nice.


  3. Can I have the rum AND the margarita? Not at the same time, of course.


  4. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Oh my had me totally sucked into this one…I was laughing and thinking…”hhmmm” at places and then you threw me for a loop at the end! And Jimmy Buffett will always be a cool dude.


  5. greg says:

    I am SO a pirate.


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