The perfection of art is to conceal art.
Quote from, I believe, “a Roman rhetorician from Hispania” called Quintilian
I’m not known at work for being any use whatsoever when it comes to judging the success of new products. Fortunately for me, I’m employed at the moment to tell people what they want and what has to happen rather than letting them choose.
We (the business) designed a product aimed at students, the idea being that we would save them time by costing them money. I said it wouldn’t sell, because I would personally rather do washing up than pay nearly double for something. It’s our top seller in that category and it appears that I wasn’t as lazy a student as I thought.
However, I also missed the success of one product as part of a “hidden vegetable” range. I think a few companies had this idea of basically dicing up vegetables so small that kids can’t see them in something else. We took that one step further in that we chose to conceal the vegetables in other vegetables! How clever is that?
The other part of where I saw that product failing was that we branded it along the lines of “Hidden Vegetables” with those words on the label in big letters with pictures of vegetables. It was basically hoping that the vegetables were so small that the child couldn’t see them, but also that the child couldn’t read and that their parent / guardian hid the packaged food from them. Apparently, though – pretty successful.
I also remember, come to think of it, someone I used to know who was kept at Her Majesty’s Pleasure once for smuggling a mobile phone in to a prison. Said contraband was found in this person’s bra but, not only had she decided that the best place to store a phone was in her underwear, she also tried to conceal it in a Mars bar wrapper in her underwear, because that’s less obvious.
(It also must have been a teenie tiny phone).
(I say that because of the size of a Mars bar, not her boobs).
I’ve mentioned this before in Facing Fears – I don’t like leaving heat sources unattended so I photograph them turned off before I leave the house. I don’t like the idea of having to explain why someone’s stuff has gone missing, so I also (sometimes) photograph locked doors. They’re just small mechanisms to put my mind at ease and debating the merits of that has already been done in that previous post, so I won’t do it again.
The reason it came up was that I was once accused of keeping the “problem” from someone, and that it could be a sign of other underlying issues and of keeping more secrets which is, of course, usually a bad thing. “Conceal a flaw and the world will imagine the worst” is a quote attributed to Roman poet Marcus Valerius Martial. I’m all over the Romans today!
I’d made no attempt to conceal what I was doing. It was something that some friends and certainly some family members knew about but it wasn’t a massive issue for me. It still isn’t, and I’ve been assured by a professional that it really isn’t (having gone through it pretty thoroughly). There’s something quite nice about being told that you’re sensible and well-adjusted!
A bit like those there hidden vegetables that we didn’t put a massive effort in to actually hide and the Mars bar that went too far (ha! That rhymes!), at what stage of not sharing or of just concealing something does it become a secret? Answers on a post card, or maybe just in the comments below.
Who has to know
The way she feels inside (inside)
Those thoughts I can’t deny (deny)
These sleeping thoughts won’t lie (won’t lie)
And all I’ve tried to hide
It’s eating me apart
Trace this life out
Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects
(You have no idea, having already mentioned boobies, how much willpower it took for me not to put a picture of a carrot that looked like it had a penis as the featured image).