Packaging worms !

Pack­aging worms !

Recently, my 23 year old cousin in Finland was asking me to help her with her English for her scien­tific paper on (of all things) “Gene-​by-​environment inter­ac­tions and pheno­typic effects of temper­a­ture on the immune defense and life-​history traits in Tene­brio molitor”...the meal­worm !
I was about five years older than my cousin, when I, too, was handling meal­worms. I was prompted to dig up these samples to show to you.

Here’s the history :
After only the one year that I was employed by Butte, Herrero and Hyde (I would have stayed at that job forever, had they not split their part­ner­ship), I instantly became self-​employed.
As a free­lance designer/​illustrator for thirty-​five years, I accepted every chal­lenge that came my way.
The most wiggly (and giggly) assign­ment was to package and to design stationery, promo, and point-​of-​purchase pieces for live meal­worms (!), for fish bait.
The job came to Graphics* (the asterisk is part of the name…it, now, goes nowhere), a design studio in the Wharf­side Building, that special­ized in designing annual reports and other corpo­rate promo­tional pieces. The “fish bait” job was tossed my way.

The assign­ment also included naming the product…so I asked for the help of Rex Simmons, who sat at his drawing board in front of me. He helped “brain­storm” for the “genetically-​enhanced, pumped-​up” crit­ters : Monster Meal­worms, Mega Meal­worms, Massive Meal­worms, Mighty Meal­worms, Big-​Worms, Big-​Bait, Rambo-​Bait, Bonanza Bait, Monster-​Bait, Master-.…! We (and later, the client) agreed on “Mighty Mealys”.

Our contact for the job told us that one night, when he arrived home, he set the small proto­type plastic tub with the meal­worms packed with their corn­meal diet…on a small bed that was in his garage. Days went by. He said that the meal­worms had chewed their way through the plastic and were crawling between the several blan­kets on the bed…and were in various stages of becoming beetles ! We heard this story, but assumed that the lid of the tub had popped open…how could those tiny teeth chew through heavy plastic ?
The following summer, I was up in Jackson…in “gold country” and I stepped into the town’s bait shop. The promo­tional mate­rial was displayed and the Mighty Mealys were being sold in the designed plastic tubs…after they and the corn­meal were scooped from a large glass jar.

I look back at my printed samples of my past work for so many busi­nesses : invest­ment, tech, restau­rants (and even the San Fran­cisco Ballet)…and so many prod­ucts : foods, wines, computers, drugs (phar­ma­ceu­tical) …and worms !

Ann Thompson

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