Unexpected accolades.

Cold is coming. ©Ryan Schierling

My first job was at McDonald's in Emporia, KS. I was 16 years old, and all of my high-school friends worked there. It was a grand time, and I was making $3.85 an hour - the going rate for minimum wage. One of the most memorable things, aside from working with a manager that looked exactly like Data from "Star Trek: Next Generation," was an evening with friend and co-worker Dave, where we were on break in the basement of the store, huffing helium from the tank used to fill birthday party balloons.

I don't imagine too many McDonald's have their own helium tanks (or basements, for that matter) anymore.

We were laughing at our helium-assisted shrill, soprano voices. I took one balloon-hit too many, pulled the deflating blue balloon away from my lips, and, sounding a lot like Woody Woodpecker, uttered "Ooooh shit, Dave.....

Apparently, with more helium than oxygen in my brain, I passed out. Falling backward, I hit my head on the steel racks that contained our store's massive paper and styrofoam (it was 1988, you know) container supplies. After hitting the racks, I fell forward and hit a set of wooden doors hiding more storage, and then I finally hit the floor.

Where, according to Dave, I went into convulsions.

The whole incident lasted no longer than 10 seconds.

And under the circumstances, I probably shouldn't remember any of it.

But I digress.

I got a look at the Communication Arts Design Annual 48 today, the defacto periodical for what's hot in graphic design for the year. It's the best of the best in design for brochures, identity, trademarks, books, public service, motion graphics, catalogs, self-promotion, editorial, branding, annual reports, environmental graphics, letterhead and posters.


You aspire to get into Communication Arts.

I was surprised to find that some of the McDonald's iced coffee advertorial work I shot for DDB - specifically for submission to such contests - helped out (however marginally) with a win in the "Environmental Graphics" category.