In my younger days I performed quite a bit. I liked rehearsing and being on stage. I was a student teacher for an acting class. I somehow became the host of my high school talent show (footage of that has been burned). Yet despite having zero qualms about putting myself out there once my lines had been memorized, I was completely and utterly terrified of auditions. To this day, I have recurring nightmares about auditioning for a play and bombing so miserably that I feel embarrassed for hours after waking up.
Last month, we Happy Coggers packed up shop and moved into a co-working space down the road. Cutting down on square footage meant saying goodbye to some of the former office’s wall decor (I’ll miss the periodic table of metal bands) but one piece that survived the journey is a framed typographic print by designer Anthony Burrill. You’ll probably recognize it: “Work Hard and Be Nice to People,” a mantra that’s ubiquitous these days, but one that embodies the Happy Cog way nonetheless.
I buy books. Antiquated, I know.
I love the smell. I love scribbling in the margins and dog-earring pages. What I love most, though, is stepping back and looking at what I’ve collected. The obsessive-compulsive organizer in me is satisfied by the neat arrangement of rows; the varying heights, widths, and colors create a rhythm that satiates my desire for visual delight. Some people see my bookshelf and roll their eyes. “You still buy books?” Or worse, “You keep the books you’ve read?”
I have a confession to make: I was a theatre nerd in high school. The heights of my nerdom were reached when I joined an improv troupe that was aptly named “Awkward”—a ragtag bunch of 16-year-olds literally making it up as we went along. Perhaps you remember our renowned performances at the local Chick-fil-A?