In the midst of all the tributes to the former First Lady and mother of “W.”, we couldn’t help but wonder how this woman survived in the midst of two Georges and a Jeb.  So we did a little research and found this quote from her:

“The darn trouble with cleaning the house is it gets dirty the next day anyway. So skip a week if you have to.”

It seems that Babs overcame society’s push towards having everything neat and tidy (which, as we all know, life never is). One could also extrapolate this to include work, eating vegetables, and returning phone calls from the IRS.  We applaud her for turning her back on such small-minded thinking in favor of letting her freak flag fly — as well as not dying her hair or getting any botox (that we know of.)*

*As for her politics, well…as Babs also said, “I don’t like attacking.” So we’ll leave it at that.

 

On this day in 1938, the first true superhero comic book was born. And the artist? Joseph “Joe” Shuster.

You might think that Joe lived a charmed existence after Superman became a hit. Instead, Joe’s life was wrenched by a series of unforeseen tragedies, starting with selling the rights Superman for a mere $130.  For a couple of comic book guys back then, this wasn’t unheard of.  Plus they received a contract to keep coming up with new stories.  What more could you ask for?

Later, after Superman had become a success, the pair tried to void the contract. No dice. Eventually after more legal hassles, the comic book company used other artists and writers to create new Superman stories, and removed Joe’s name from the title altogether.

As you might guess, Joe’s career headed mostly downwards after that. Despite trying to create another smash hit, he couldn’t find much traction with titles like Funnyman (a TV comedian becomes a superhero, using practical jokes to render criminals helpless!). Eventually Joe’s eyesight went bad, preventing him from drawing. He worked as a deliveryman to keep food on the table, moving in with his mother for a time.

The only saving grace for Joe was a protest movement in the ‘70s that helped restore his name to the Superman franchise. In order to not incur the wrath of the public, DC comics also agreed to give him a yearly stipend of $20,000 and health insurance (later raised to a whopping $30,000). Despite this backhanded acknowledgement, Joe fell into debt and died of congestive heart failure and hypertension.

So why is Joe’s story one that a SuperOptimist can celebrate? Because Joe created what is arguably the most successful comic book character in history! Because he was a human being and made mistakes in areas that he wasn’t skilled in, like reading fine print and engaging in corporate malfeasance! Because he had to deal with pain and suffering like we all do! Because many artists get ripped off during their lives by corporate entities, and yet the white collar criminals who screwed Joe out of his creation will die in anonymity, while Joe remains a true American hero!

Finally, would there be a SuperOptimist with a Superman? Probably not! So here’s to Joe Shuster. May his creation continue to battle the forces of evil, and take out a few corporate attorneys in the process!

 The ritual of playing a joke or spreading a hoax on April Fool’s Day is all well and good. But the merriest of pranksters know that returning to the narrow confines of “good behavior” for the other 364 days of the year completely misses the point.

The wise among us realize that our foolish nature is something to be embraced — and as often as possible. Apple pioneer Steve Jobs urged on the graduates of Stanford with the mantra “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” The queen of show business reinvention, Cher, says, “Unless you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.” Both agree that you must free the wild child inside you rather than timidly hide beneath a veneer of “respectability.”

So the question is, how will you embrace foolishness today? What pranks are you planning to shake up the status quo? What could you do tomorrow, next week, or next month that will have the office, locker room, or family den buzzing with laughter and conversation (after the shock wears off)?

Shouting “April Fool’s!” once a year is really not the best way to practice the art of foolishness, unless you do it on April 3rd. Or December 15th. Here’s to acting like Cher, or Steve Jobs, or your Uncle Dave, 24 hours a day…starting…now!

Even today, Cher is unafraid to act foolishly.