Most people don’t know this, but I have a serious disease which comes and goes in bouts of illness.  I’m fine for a while, but if I don’t watch my habits, I soon am sickened with debilitating cerebral pain, curmudgeonly cramps, an inability to focus, and general irritability.  Worse symptoms soon come about, but I won’t burden the reader with tales of the woe and pain that I suffer.

You see, I have cellulitis.

In the past week, I’ve made three trips into Manhattan, two trips to the east end of Long Island, several trips to the north shore.  I have a slough of business emails to answer, I need to tabulate my business expenses, I need to order canvases for portrait commissions, I need to drop off canvases at upcoming gallery shows, I need to drop off more business cards at the four locations in which my paintings are currently hanging, I need to fill out a scholarship form for which I have been invited to apply, I need to finish a portrait commission by December 25th, I need to drop off another already finished portrait commission that has been revised, I need to attend Artist Advisory Board Meetings at a nearby not for profit organization, I need to attend meetings in the city to jury membership applications for an art club.

My phone says that I either sent or received 92 calls.  My inbox was so filled with text messages that I had to erase it- after only one week of texts.

Nine years ago, I was in a similar situation.  I was a full time student at Stony Brook University, I was spackling full time, I was saving money in order to marry my girlfriend Margaret.  As I stood on line at a Starbucks in Stony Brook, my phone kept ringing with so many calls that I opened it up and shut it off.

I sat down with my coffee, pulled a sketchpad out of my bag, and did this drawing.  Forty five minutes after I began, I had a small crowd gathered around my table.  There was a group of nurses, doctors, administrative types, office workers- all from the nearby Stony Brook University.  They were all on their coffee break, all wearing their cellphone in that little cell phone holder thing on their waist, and they were all holding their coffees and laughing.

“Cellulitis”  Collection of Ralph Vicinanza.

Shortly after doing this drawing, I took it to the Kinkos in Hauppauge to have it scanned onto a disk.  The girl behind the counter was laughing so hard and was so taken by the drawing, that she asked me if she could have a copy.  She printed it out, still laughing, and then said “Would you ever mind it if I got a tattoo of this drawing?”  I told her that it would be flattering.  She said “I am going to go to the tattoo parlour as soon as I get off of work!”

You know, I just received a rejection slip from Eleanor Ettinger gallery in Manhattan today.  I might be paraphrasing, but they said something to the effect of “No, you are a good kisser, it’s not that, it’s me.  It’s just that I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”  Fair enough.  But, I am consoled by the fact that, somewhere in Hauppauge, a woman has a tattoo of my artwork on her.


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