Saturday, February 11, 2012

Confucius Say: “Be not Simply Good; be Good for Something.”

11x14 mixed media -- "Lucky Lady"

The title of this blog came out of a fortune cookie from P.F.Chang Restaurant. I liked my fortune so much I kept it in my billfold. I found it today, and thought of all the other Confucius sayings that have affected my life.

I was one of a million contestants that used to enter jingle contests when they were still in vogue. I actually belonged to a “Contest Club” that encouraged and helped aspiring writers compose winning entries. The Club held their own contests as well. In one, entrants were to caption a cartoon of an old man and an old woman dancing. My winning entry was: “Confucius say much motion in old rumbleseat make vely big back fire!”

I won a Jello contest with 25 words or less. The punchline was: …Jello makes me the “wizard of aaahs.” Minor prizes kept me going. I won blenders, carving knife sets, toasters, and other paraphernalia. The friend who invited me to join their club won a race horse. She soon discovered just how much a race horse costs to feed, to house and to train. Which “just shows to go ya:” be careful what you wish for!

Oil Painting -- "Leap of Faith"

Of course she sold that filly for a sizable profit which made entering the contest worthwhile. Gone are the days of winning because of skill to turn a phrase or coin a name. Today people are awarded for how many entries they can enter. Entries equal profits for a manufacturer or retailer. The more you buy, the better your chances to win, even though the rules say otherwise.

I discovered this with a Publisher Clearing House contest. They made me feel I was getting closer and closer until by mistake they sent me two entries, one with a misspelling of my name. They both said the same thing and they pressured me to buy. Even when I called in, they were more interested in selling me product than answering my questions.

Reminds me of a Reader’s Digest contest years ago. A contest that was exposed for their deception in leading entrants into believing they were final winners. I discovered this sham when my mother told me she thought she was one of their winners. As it turned out, so did I. Gullible, gullible, gullible are “we the people.”

Today we’re in another election cycle, and by what I hear and read, people are still as gullible as ever. Will the best person win? I doubt it! Unfortunately the prize often goes to the one who has the most money to spend (buys the most product), or offers a prize for support (bribery?). It sounds like the old contest shell game at work, to me. Either way we take our chances and go with our gut feeling.

"11x14 mixed media -- "Broken"

It’s what I do as an artist. I sold my painting: “Broken” because I was willing to give my friend a break if she purchased the painting same day. The painting was worth more, but so was my customer. Confucius say: satisfied customers walk away happy; buy again in future."