The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].

First you Panic

By Daniel Will Harris

Every time I start to design a new project I secretly fear I've forgotten how. So when I started to design I decided I would write down my steps along the way:

STEP 1: PANIC. This is always my first step. My mind races. I start to wonder if it isn't time to find a new line of work—I try to think of new careers for myself, which proves a pleasant procrastination procedure.

This time I came up with stunning new e-commerce concept: Dryer Lint of the Stars. Even the famous have dryer lint—but unlike you and me they also have fans who will pay top dollar for it. I know I would pay for Meg Ryan's. According to casual calculations made while actively avoiding work on the site, I figured that just one of her bulky sweaters would yield approximately one framed portrait in lint; a half a dozen hand-made lint-paper note cards; and 12 lint-puff key chains sealed for posterity in non-yellowing acrylic.

If you're thinking, "He has finally cracked," then you are so very wrong. If I was cracking would I think you'd think that? OK, maybe, but I have it on good authority (my wife's) that I haven't cracked, I just have occasional difficulty with the concept of reality.

Now, why would stars give up their precious lint? Cash, and lots of it! And perhaps the hope that some fan also just happens to be a geneticist who can clone them, extending their career. If they want top dollar, they can even contribute belly button lint!

See, I've thought this all out quite thoroughly and already have my first sale of Marisa Tomei's lint. My friend Ernest has offered to pay top dollar and now all I have to do is locate Marisa's laundry. My friend Karen has said she'll notarize it to prove that it's legit, and I think I can hire my wife, the unofficial "queen of eBay" to handle auction.

So I'm all set! Well, I am as soon as I meet Marisa. So if you know her, tell her I need to talk to her or do her laundry, either one.

STEP 2: COME BACK TO REALITY. I rarely like this part, unless I imagine that I will win the lottery. But that doesn't really count as reality, so this should give you a clue as to my state of mind.

STEP 3: IGNORE THE ADVICE I GIVE TO OTHERS: I do this to save time. Then, days later, when I realize that I haven't done much else other than look at watches on eBay and am perilously close to actually buying a non-working "Radium Swatch" that features an actual x-ray of Madame Curie on it, I come to the conclusion that I've wasted a lot of time.

STEP 4: DO WHAT I TELL OTHER PEOPLE TO DO. I force myself to answer the same hard, important questions that I force everyone else to answer (see the questionnaire below). This part can actually be fun and exciting, but concentrating hard on anything requires a lot more physical effort than most people give it credit for, and therefore requires adequate napping.

STEP 5: RECONSIDER LINT. I look at what I've done and think it's either embarrassingly bad or outright terrible and imagine that a blindfolded child with the hiccups and an Etch-a-Sketch driving over rocks in a Jeep without shocks could do better.

STEP 5: SNAP OUT OF IT. This is often accomplished by throwing out what I've done and starting from scratch.

STEP 6: FIND A VISUAL METAPHOR. It helps to be hit by a staggering bolt of inspiration at this point. Unfortunately, your chances of this are just slightly higher than that of being hit by a lightning-fast Ford Pinto.

Since inspiration eluded me, I had to actually be logical and realize that since I already had a personal caricature/logo I've used since my first site opened in 1995 , I could use that. The difference this time was that since the SchmoozeLetter can jump around from seemingly random points until it finally makes a picture, the logo could reflect this with a kind of "connect-the-dots" look.

STEP 7: IGNORE IT FOR A WHILE. The only way to clearly see something you've created is to put it away for a few days. Then I glance at it, quickly, pretending it was designed by a total stranger. If my first impression is, "I'm glad I didn't design this piece of..." then I know that something went horribly wrong along the way. If, however, I feel jealous of myself, I'm probably on the right track, creatively if not psychologically.

STEP 9: SHOW IT TO PEOPLE YOU TRUST but who won't be hurt if you totally ignore their advice. Apparently, my wife trusts me a lot.




My Wife and Times by Daniel Will HarrisIf you would like to read more fabulous stories such as Moms Online, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at or on



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