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!
click on an image to view larger and see the whole thing