Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I recently found an old print ad I designed during undergrad; I majored in advertising and graphic design. I was a good designer, but un-noteworthy. I was however, a better writer. I was smart. On design teams, I always volunteered to write copy, something designers hated. Me? I loved it.

During one semester, my classes were centered on creating single-page ads for a myriad of consumer products that ranged from beer to crayons and bread to greeting cards. My favorite, however was hot dogs, which to my dismay, drew the scorn of my professor.

“Who’s work is this?” he asked, pointing to my work on the class critique board. Every student was required to display their work on this board, often scotch taping the corners or push pinning the white border to prevent display damage. My work was pinned with pink pins, which complimented my very green ad.

I raised my hand as high as my right ear. I was proud of my work. Sort of, anyway.

“What was your inspiration for this ad?” he asked. The sneer in his voice made me want to hide.

“Well, my product was franks,” I started. “And, I thought I would try something a little different. You know, funny,” I said smiling. I glanced at my work and wanted to laugh. I thought I was witty, and better yet, my work, hysterically engaging.

“Where would this type of ad run? Out? The Advocate? It certainly discourages me to buy hot dogs. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever eat another based on this ad.”

My classmates started to chuckle. I didn’t think it was bad. Maybe I could design it better, I thought. But, the concept is still good.

“While I’m at it, let me take a seat. This ad also discourages me from standing.”

So rude and pompous. Even though I felt like my professor had unnecessarily raked me over the coals, I miraculously found the nerve to defend my work. “Um, I was actually thinking bigger than gay publications. I think my work is more suiting to a Times Square billboard. You know, since it’s attention grabbing.”

My professor moved on, in disdain, to the rest of my classmates work.


I found the ad on a CD recently, and since it still made me laugh, thought I’d share it with you folks as well. I had to resize it so you can read the text, but figured it could be something else to talk about during your Fourth of July festivities…especially the tag line.

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy Ice

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Though my parents sent me to a tiny, predominantly White parochial school, me, along with most of the "ethnic" students wound up riding the same van, driven by Mr. Poland to school. Incidentally, Mr. Poland was Filipino.

Most of the young kids sat in the front, and although I was only in the third grade, had to sit in the second to last row of the silver four-row van. The latter rows were reserved for the upper classmen of our school—the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Since I was one of the last kids to be dropped off, I forced to sit in the back.

One day, out of rudeness, a twice-left back seventh grader named Shareece took off her shoe and extended her leg along the window’s edge so I could see her dirty, blackened foot. And smell them. I was two minutes away from home, and was hoping she would not harass me that day as she often had. Apparently not. As tears hot, silent tears started streaming down my cherubic face, all the upper classmen, including Shareece started to laugh. Loudly.

As I exited the van, I saw my mother waiting for me. She took one look at me and started yelling.

"Whey di azz yuh de cry fah?" Though her tone was gruff, I knew she wasn't upset with me; she was concerned...and probably panicked.

As I started telling her the story, Mr. Poland was getting ready to close the door and drive off.

"Just you wait a minute," my mother said to Mr. Poland and stepped closer to the van. She had code-switched to standard American English so he could understand her.

"What kind of van service are you running where my child gets bullied on her way home?"

I could see Shareece glaring at me. I almost wished my mother had not said anything.

Turning crimson, Mr. Poland apologized, stating he couldn't see what was happening in the back but would move my seat closer to the front the next day. Thinking that was resolution enough, he made a move to close the door, only my mother stopped him. She climbed in the van, then turned to me and asked me to point out Shareece. I was mortified, but not idiotic, so I complied.

Shareece adjusted her two long cornrows in front on her shoulders. Despite her attempt to be cool, nervous was visibly taking over.

"Now you look here, Ms. Shareece." My mother had sneered the word miss, so I knew Shareece was about to get it. Good.

Shareece looked.

"The next time you take off you stinking foot and shove it eena me chile face, I'll climb into the back of this van and shove my foot right in your face.
A hot, sweaty foot that was in nursing shoes all day. Then tell me how funny it is."

My mom climbed out backwards, her eyes never leaving Shareece's face. After she slammed the door, we stood there until we could no longer see the van. Then my mom turned to me and said, “Don’t you ever be a dummy again and let someone disrespect you like that. If I find out that happens again, I’ll be out here with a belt.”