Palm trees are beautiful, but they aren’t the prettiest trees in the world. There are plenty of other trees that bear tastier fruit, and when it comes to shade, palm trees are never going to be anyone’s first choice. But palm trees remain popular. Everybody loves them. Why?
If you want influence, you have to be in the movies. For example, who likes the taste of martinis? Or even knows what’s in a martini? No one, right? But people still order them… because of James Bond. They’ve seen him on screen drinking martinis, he’s cool—so martinis sell. Martinis have taken advantage of this entertainment age. And so have palm trees. Whenever a movie wants to portray an idyllic, relaxing, and possibly romantic setting, it reaches for some tropical footage. Clear blue water, happy couples walking hand in hand on white sand beaches, and palm trees. Always palm trees. And now, when people see palm trees, they remember all the palm tree movies they’ve seen, and they begin to dream: what if I took a relaxing island holiday? What if I was in Hawaii and a rich, handsome doctor whose fiancé didn’t appreciate him and was cheating on him anyway fell in love with me? What if I was on a business trip to Tahiti and a humorous mix-up with the hotel booking led to an extraordinarily good-looking woman wanting to have lots of sex with me? Voila—people like palm trees.
I’m a realist; I know I’m never going to star in a Hollywood movie. I haven’t even auditioned. But what I can do is ride coat tails. So, I decided to use the influence of palm trees to improve my life. I began wearing Hawaiian shirts with palm tree designs, but, curiously, the response was mostly negative. No problem. Embrace the failure, learn from it, and try a different approach. I printed a picture of a palm tree and carried it around in my wallet. Whenever I dealt with a difficult person, I would take the picture out and show it to them. This was better, but still not ideal. People liked the picture, and relaxed when they saw it, but it soon became creased and damaged being folded up in my wallet, and a couple of times I took out the wrong picture, one of a blender I’m saving up for.
Success came when I painted some palm trees. The piece is a little bulky, so I can’t carry it in my wallet, but I keep it on the passenger seat of my car. Whenever I’m in traffic and a motorist becomes impatient or aggressive, I reach for the painting and hold it up against my window for the offended driver to see. Guaranteed, every time the driver either calms down or drives off in a hurry. That’s the power of the silver screen.
18″ x 24″ Acrylic on canvas
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