A Creative Request

"Nice" me in the late 1970's

(This photograph of me is from the mid-1970's)

My mother taught me to always “be nice,” but sometimes it ain’t easy. Below is my reply to a written request from a “friend,” someone I had only just met at a party. After a short conversation, I had made the mistake of giving him my business card. Upon finding out that I’m a cartoonist (not covered in our chat), he wrote to ask me to “whip up” a quick caricature of him on a birthday card that he intended to send to a woman he was trying to impress. He also specified that I should hand-letter the card, including the woman’s name, in a “cute cartoon-ish” style, and write something “witty” on it. To top it off, he said that I should not sign the card.

“Thank you for the opportunity. I’m flattered that you’ve selected me for your project, one that you estimate ‘will take no more than a few minutes.’ However, cartooning and writing is what I do for a living, and both skills took years to develop to a professional level. Bottom line, I work only for pay. In fact, my per-minute fee is so high that I’m sure you can’t afford my services.”

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