One Potato. Two

I was telling my daughter what Halloween was for me back in the late 50’s and the early 60’s (when I was still young enough to go out trick-or-treating). We lived in a dangerous place. In fact, when I was in college, I heard a couple of people asked if they were ever afraid going out door to door. They said, “Yes, once.” As they talked, I realized it was my old neighborhood. My mother, though, just let us out on Halloween night as though we might actually bump into Wally and the Beav trick or treating. I never noticed many parents. Mostly, it was just us, getting all the candy we could, and having a big time. My outfit was always a hobo. I had the right clothes. My shoes usually had a loose sole, and I put shoe polish (the paste kind) on my cheeks to simulate a beard. Once when we were knocking on doors, a guy (maybe 19 or 20) opened it up. He had a cigarette in his mouth and was watching television. He barely took his eyes off the set as he reached into a fifty-pound bag of potatoes and plunged one into each of our sacks.

This is a good metaphor for what it’s like putting our designs out there. We never know if we’re going to get the holy grail of Halloween candy (milk chocolate and a kind word) or a dismissive potato. To all of us who get the occasional potato, I say keep trying. So what if all you’ve got is a set of run-down clothes and shoes and some shoe polish for a beard? The potatoes are good, too. Not just for throwing them at the city buses, but also to help us to keep our feet on the ground and value the candy we do receive.