A Different Approach

Sometimes, the same-old, same-old doesn’t work. Just ask my wife, Carol.

Recently, she’s been battling our oldest daughter, Marin, over a seemingly simple family rule. When you take the car, you are required to text us when you arrive at your destination and when you leave your destination.

Simple. Right?

It takes a second or three to type “here” or “leaving,” hit send and go on with your life.

Lately, Marin has been running into all types of problems—ranging from “I’m so sorry, I forgot” to “I hit send, but the building I was in must not have had cell service—it never went through.”

This latter is my favorite. You would think if she hit send, the text would show up when she returned to cell service. That never seems to happen. Maybe the send button is broken?

In any event, the battle raged on. Car permissions were revoked, promises of better behavior were made, car permissions were re-granted and so on.

Last Friday night, my wife tired of the fight. When Marin went to play indoor soccer with her friends and the text announcing her arrival failed to show up, she sent this text:

“Hello ... It's me.

I was wondering after all these years if you would text me when you arrive.

Hello from the home side.

I must have checked a thousand times.

To say are you sorry for breaking my rule? Hello from the inside.”

If you’ve turned on a radio lately, you probably recognize these as lyrics to Adele’s newest hit song.

Marin read the text and started laughing. She showed it to all her friends, who Tweeted it out—high praise apparently—and in the end the rule seems to have finally sunk in. We’ve seen a renewed effort in communication from her—and, unwittingly, turned her friends into champions for the cause. They now remind her to text us her whereabouts.

This little story popped into my head as I read through this month’s issue. We cover some of the coolest projects completed in 2015. And, if there is one thing that ties all those diverse and unique projects together, it’s the willingness to look at the project from a different angle. To solve design challenges in unique ways—to stretch the imagination without losing site of form and function. To avoid the same-old, same-old.

This is easier said than done.

In a previous engagement of the text battle—Carol called the manager at our local Dairy Queen and asked her to go out to the table of teenage girls, none of whom were answering their 17 cell phones, and hand Marin the store’s cordless phone so they could have a conversation.

There’s a SnapChat video of this interaction, set to music. The title, “When Your Mom Calls You at Dairy Queen.” We saw no change in her behavior after this attempt. Maybe her friends were hoping for more social media fodder. I suspect it’s coming.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year—and thanks for continuing to choose PRB!

Till next year…

Rodney J. Auth