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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