Jan 3 2012

#248 Less is More (3)

From a stranger in Birmingham, Alabama

The Dress Code Hypothetical:

You work in an office performing a job you find satisfying (and which compensates you adequately). The company that employs you is suddenly purchased by an eccentric millionaire who plans to immediately raise each person’s salary by 5 percent and extend an extra week of vacation to all full-time employees.

However, this new owner intends to enforce a somewhat radical dress code: everyday, men will have to wear tuxedos, tails, and top hats (during the summer months, male employees will be allowed to wear gray three-piece suits on “casual Fridays”). Women must exclusively work in formal wear, preferably ball gowns or prom dresses. Each employee will be given an annual $500 stipend to purchase necessary garments, but that money can only be spent on work clothing.

The new regime starts in three months.

Do you seek employment elsewhere?

~ Chuck Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV)


Sep 29 2011

#152 “The Man in the Mirror”

From a stranger in Canada

Several questions about this particular piece have plagued me ever since I received it a few months ago, but in the end they all revolve around one central query: Who is the man portrayed in this illustration?

Based upon the doodle in the upper left hand corner of the drawing, I can easily assume that the artist possesses a significant talent that would allow him/her to produce a magnificent “conventional” rendering of a wolf. And even though I support the nontraditional and encourage the weird and the unique, this still doesn’t stop me from pondering the obvious question at hand of why the artist would focus on the man instead of the beast.

In the end, the list of specific subquestions that I have puzzled over include the following: Is this a person who is intimate with the artist? Or is this man possibly the subject of derision here? Is the subject an individual that somehow displays certain qualities of the lobo in his daily life? Does he look like a wolf in some way? Smell like one? Behave like one? And if so, does his behavior reflect the sentimental side of the creature or the more savage side? At which pole of the wolf spectrum does he fall? Is this man some sort of pseudo-celebrity that I am simply not recognizing, or is this illustration some sort of interesting yet unusual self-portrait?

Or (and I must say that I find this idea particularly intriguing) did the artist intend to suggest that this illustration represents me, the anonymous collector of lupine artwork? I can guess that at least a few viewers and contributors to this site must wonder at times what my true identity is, but is this really picture meant to be a guess at what I actually look like? I can’t say for sure, but considering this idea for a while caused me to engage in some significant introspection.

After examining this illustration, I took a long hard look in the mirror and examined what I saw there. Some of what I saw I liked. But I also noticed a few things that I didn’t like. And even though this illustration seems to explore only the physical aspects of its subject, when I consider the idea that this picture may be a guess at who I am, it creates in me the desire to present myself in a manner that will bring respect and honor to the idea of the wolf and to this project as a whole.

So, am I an aging, balding man with impaired vision? Do I have somewhat scraggly facial hair and a penchant for V-neck t-shirts? Do I breathe heavily? Do I have squinty eyes? Honestly, I’m not quite prepared to say, but I can tell you these three things about myself:

1. I appreciate every single piece of art that I receive, and I believe that each is valuable in its own special way.

2. I believe that the world is a magical place and that we all have a story to tell that is worth hearing.

3. The world needs more people that passionately speak out about their passions, dreams, and goals.

Thanks, stranger in Canada. In reality this illustration might have nothing to do with me at all and I might be totally egocentric for even considering the idea; but in the end it caused me to think, it caused me to question, and it caused me to grow. And for that I can offer nothing but gratitude.

Jul 22 2011

#83 “Huh?”

From Jeremy in Atlanta, Georgia

Just one question for you to ponder today.

Who is more strange: the man who collects pictures of wolves drawn by strangers -or- the man who draws a tiny wolf in the corner of a Post-It Note, wads it into a ball, places it an envelope with a short, scribbled through copy of an Allen Ginsberg poem on the back and mails it to the first man?

Jul 9 2011

#70 “Hermann der Wolf”

From Matthias in Austria

When I was in college I had several friends who used to brag that their pet dogs loved the taste of beer and that they (the friends) would often allow the animals to drink alcohol until they became intoxicated. To be honest, I’m not sure if I actually saw this happen in person or if the images that I have in my brain are simply imaginings that emerged  over time. Anyway, I don’t think that I could really verify whether or not these tales of drunken dogs are true, but ultimately I suppose that I believe them.

Regardless of the truth or falsity of these tales, though, I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not I agree with this practice. On one hand, there appears to be nothing overtly “wrong” about it, but at the same time, it seems unfair for an owner to feed a substance to his pet that may affect the animal in a way that it cannot anticipate or understand.  I think, though, that what is even more interesting than trying to decide whether or not this is right or wrong is exploring whether or not these alcoholic animals actually enjoy the altered reality that accompanies excessive drinking.

Oddly enough a very similar question was asked and partially answered in the April issue of Maxim Magazine in the “Ask Maxim” section. Here is the question and the answer:

Do any other animals get high?
Randal Trannel, via email

According to a recent pharmaceutical journal, yes! And on purpose. Researchers concluded that reindeers eat fly agaric mushrooms during long and boring winters. In humans the fun fungi produce the sensation of flying. So if a reindeer asks you for five dollars, you know, because he needs bus money to get back home- Do. Not. Believe. Him.

So there you have it. Take it or leave it. But before signing off, I must say thank you Matthias for this incredible illustration. I raise my glass to you Matthias. Cheers and best wishes!