Friday, April 24, 2015

Quality vs Quantity

   I met my friend Kathy for a few beers the other night. 
   We met at a roadhouse on State Road 436 up by Casselberry, near where I live.
   We were just meeting for a drink, but I was going to stay on afterwards for something to eat. I like the fish and chips they serve. The fish is deep-fried just right and the chips are as thick as your finger. 
   But I hate the coleslaw that comes with it. 
   It’s too soggy. Like someone figured if a little bit of dressing was good then a whole lot must be better. 
   Like many things, good coleslaw is a matter of Quality vs Quantity. 
   When Kathy arrived we ordered a beer. We thought we’d try a couple of Shark Attacks, an IPA known for it’s body, and the fact that (to some) it tastes like shark’s piss.
   How they’d know what shark’s piss tastes like I couldn’t say… but a Shark Attack has a certain unique something that’s hard to deny. I’m just glad when they serve it nice and cold.
   To me, beer is also a matter of Quality vs Quantity.
  The server behind the bar, whose lowrider jeans revealed a flabby ass-crack whenever she bent down and reached under the counter, yawned and handed the Shark Attacks over. 
   “Thank you,” said Kathy politely.
   (Kathy can’t help being polite. She’s from Ohio.)
   “Yeah. Sure,” sniffed the server. “My boyfriend drinks that beer.” As she poured the beer I noticed her arms were covered in tattoos of all shapes and sizes. Dozens of them. I studied these tattoos for a moment with my artist’s eye. 
   I must say not all of them were very good pieces of art.
   Most of them looked more like pieces of something else.
   Those tattoos were another example of Quality vs Quantity. 
   Kathy and I used to discuss Quality vs Quantity all the time at Walt Disney Animation when we worked there in the 1990s. That’s where we met. She was the talented young professional artist just entering the animation game and I was the grizzled old assistant animator who’d been around and knew the ropes. We liked each other immediately and eventually worked closely together for many years. Millions of people have enjoyed our work on the silver screen, and delighted at the characters we helped bring to life.
  But these magnificent cartoons were expensive to produce. The bosses at Disney were always asking us to go faster. To produce more footage in the time allowed. To hurry it up!
   Animation is a very good example of Quality vs Quantity. 
   We called for two more beers. 
   (Aha, I thought. Maybe when our server bent down to get the beers I’d see her ass-crack again. Then I could quietly point it out to Kathy. Heh heh. Kathy would be embarrassed and her discomfort ought to be good for a laugh.)
   Alas! At the precise moment when we might have caught a cracky glimpse the server’s telephone rang and she crept away to answer it.
   Another server, with a nod from Lowrider, saw to our Shark Attacks. 
   (Rats! I cursed to myself. No ass-crack for Kathy.)
   Perhaps that’s just as well. 
   I’m pretty sure Kathy doesn’t like ass-crack with her Shark Attack.
   We sipped our beers and talked about her latest book illustration job. 
   She showed me some sketches and color studies on her smartphone.
   “Wow!” I said. “Looks great Kathy!” I like looking at Kathy’s work, you don’t have to lie to say it’s great. 
   “Thank you,” said Kathy. “I want to do it. It’s a lovely story and I like the style they want.” 
   But guess what?    
   It was Quality vs Quantity all over again.
   It was needed in a big rush, too, did we mention that? But it had better be good, the best you’ve ever done! 
   And of course, they wanted it cheap.
   Kathy and I laughed together as old friends do. 
   We laughed together at the folly of being an artist in this material world.
   Then I caught the eye of the lowrider wearing server. 
   She came over and I spoke.
      “Two more Ass Cracks, please.”

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