March 22, 2013, claims the calendar

Dear Mister Wonderful,

I am friends with a number of designers and feel obliged to go backstage after their shows to say hello. But if it’s a bad collection, I never know what to say. I feel like a phony if I offer congratulations, but it seems uncharitable to tell the truth. What’s the best approach in this situation?


Dear Henry Rollins,

Yes, I can see how this would be tricky… because if you just set fire to every venue and scarpered out the back, eventually someone might put two and two together and raise taxes in the area to cover the firefighters’ overtime. Hurm.

Now, Mister Wonderful is all for any scheme that puts extra biscuits in the Dalmatian’s bowl, but why don’t firehouses have more appropriate mascots? An elephant, for instance? I’ll tell you why: trunk envy. Also, elephants become dangerously amorous in the presence of three-alarm chili. We’ve known this since the Secret World Fair of 193B.

Where was I? Disguises. Trouble with that is: itchy. And edging awfully close to sitcom solutions. We had to close an entire wing of the Labs after the Laverne & Shirley & Dark & Malice incident.

Series of incidents.

Crime spree— look, call it what you will, Milwaukee PD says it’s still officially unsolved.

Anyway. Point is. The best approach is a good retreat. Tell the truth about false things. If the theme was blue, praise the spider gods. If light was important, share your enthusiasm for the ignorant grandfather clock motif. No one will dare contradict you, fearing you have greater insight into their work than they do, and hoping they are deeper than they knew.

Oh hells, I just realized that’s what Douglas Adams had Ford and Arthur do when confronted with Vogon poetry. Well… just bet on the fact that designers can’t read.

WONDERFUL LABS: Now A Graphic Navel!