Safety tips for the Bizarre Bazaar 

What you don’t say in front of an artist might save your life

My first craft idea was brilliant. I would paint boxer shorts with hearts on them. They would be a massive hit and a huge bestseller. People would clamour for them around the globe, I would become rich beyond my wildest dreams and retire at 25. Besides, how long could it take to paint simple little red hearts on boxer shorts?

Are you kidding? Nanoseconds!

Wrong. The actual procedure, which seemed so simplistic in my head, became fraught with hundreds of unexpected delays that didn’t jive with my anticipated time schedule. Just getting the boxers out of the package, unpinned and ironed took up a remarkable amount of time. The paint smudged, my hearts sucked and my screams of expletives woke the neighbourhood. But finally, after a few hellish weeks, the first pair of perfect hand-painted boxer shorts finally rolled off the Bushwoman production line. Bolstered by the glowing initial reaction from my friends, I signed up for my first craft fair and put them in public for all of Whistler to see.

It was nerve-wracking. Here was something that I created all by myself that was up for public scrutiny. Suddenly I didn’t care anymore about the millions I had planned on making because the real test had come. Would they be a total flop on the open market? Were my friends just blowing smoke up my insecure ass?

I just wanted people to like them and sure enough, they did. After selling a few pairs I finally relaxed.

Until a couple of gals strolled up to my booth. One said, "Ohhh, look at these! They’re so funny!"

Then the other one said, "They are, but you know, I could do that."

I wanted to lunge across the table and strangle her.

"I could do that." The most hated remark of every artist I know. Yet it falls so easily off the tongue doesn’t it? Hell, everyone has said it at one time or another without thinking about what they’re really saying or who their insulting in the process. I’ve said it myself. But not anymore. Not since an old business partner and I looked at some funky wooden clocks, declared that "we could do that" and then actually tried it.

The clock, it turned out, was constructed out of 32 separate pieces of wood that had to be cut, sanded, painted, assembled and varnished. It took us about a month to master one. If we had wanted to get our money back in labour alone the clock would have to have sold for $2,000.

What frustrates artists most by someone declaring "I could do that." is that one thinks they could do it cheaper. Now let’s examine that shall we?

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