Raoul’s 2 Cents
A Tale of Two Cities
Last Saturday I found myself in the middle of a baby shower in Temple City. I was drawing 5 minute caricatures of well-to-do young families. In the process, I got into some very interesting intellectual conversations about career choices and family dynamics. I was being paid by the hour so I was very conscious of the speed I was churning these sketches up. They had fun and I had fun myself. The guests were pleasantly surprised at this unusual treat. The hostess was so proud and happy for her choice of entertainment that she displayed my work on her grand piano and said she was passing my name out to her other friends. I appreciate that.
In direct contrast of scenery, last month, I drew caricatures for the city of Watts [one of the poorest communities in Los Angeles]. To be honest, I was a bit nervous because as we approached the basketball court where I was to set up my easel, our guide pointed out 3 rival gangs to me. This was drive-by-shooting country (I wished I gave my wife a better goodbye when I headed out the door). I was only wearing my T-Shirt in the cold night air. The halogen lamps of the basketball court weren’t the best lighting but the “show had to go on.” The line was relentless. Many never had their portraits done … probably because they couldn’t afford it. They were shocked that I was doing it for free. One young black kid gave me business advice: “Are you rich? Like … do you live in an apartment? You know, [his inventive mind churning] you could make money drawing people for $5 a face.” How could you not love that boy?
I had to wrap up when the kitchen ran out of food. The church that sponsored the Christmas event fed 700 people. When I tried to get up a stabbing pain shot up my legs and backside. I guess I had sat down too long. I was so focused that I didn’t realize I was already shivering from the cold. I couldn’t walk. A good friend helped me to the car. I survived the night — no gun shot wound … but I was still wasted. That’s okay because my heart was full of gladness.
In my pain inside the car, I started to realize that one of these days, I would no longer be able to do face-to-face caricatures. My eyesight will go. My trembling fingers will no longer follow my instructions. My back will hurt so bad I wouldn’t be able to sit still for hours anymore.
I will surely miss doing this. I’ve done this for the dirt poor and the filthy rich. I’ve talked to thousands of strangers who I’ve connected quite intimately as I searched into their eyes for the brief period they were my portrait prisoners. Every one of them created by God so distinctly. Even twins have something different about them. Every one of them — special in God’s eyes. Every one of them loved by God. Maybe next week I will share what goes on my head as I draw people.
If you have a caricature I have made of you, please preserve it. If I get rich and famous, that drawing may cost a lot. If that happens, all these poor people like the citizens of Watts will own something of real value.
I decided long ago, pain or no pain, as long as I still can, I will share this gift of drawing to others. I’m certainly thankful if they pay me, but money should never be the determinant of what I give out freely. Please let others know of my services.
Tomorrow I will be doing caricatures at the Duarte Senior Center. It’s for charity. Do drop by and support the seniors. Perhaps you can still own an original Raoul.
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own. — Lao Tzu
Joke of the Week
Our Friday joke of the week comes from: Lois of Whittier, CA
Harry Caray was a beloved, colorful Major League sportscaster who was known for the funny stories he would tell about himself. I heard a story about him the other day, which would be much funnier if you could hear the teller of the story imitating Harry’s strange way of talking. It goes like this.
Video of the Week
Side by Side
Sent by Don of Kelowna, B.C.
This is probably the third time I am sharing this but it’s too good not to share again. Besides, there have been so many new subscribers since the last time.
Growing old can be funny.WATCH VIDEO
From Don’s collection of puns
Heavy Thought of the Week
Sent by Rodney of Manitoba, B.C.
Thanks to Don of Kelowna, B.C. who shared this