Friday, October 10, 2008

Everybody Do The Twist!

Back in the early 1990s I found myself in a terrible financial predicament.  The bottom had fallen out of my attempts to build a career as a freelance writer specializing in the American opera scene. I owed nearly $70,000 in credit card debt and had no foreseeable income.  Faced with the prospect of becoming homeless, I was forced to bite the bullet and look for a real job.

A relatively unflappable  friend from the gym said "Don't worry.  When one door closes, another one will open."  What I learned that day is that the trick is to be able to see the door that is opening and find a way to propel yourself through it.  For me, that meant returning to the field of medical transcription -- a job skill I had completely forgotten I had once learned.

With the past week on Wall Street leaving many people hopeless, helpless, and desperately terrified for their futures, I'm happy to share some good news.  There is a career you can embrace which will make you happy, help you earn money, and requires very little in start-up costs or advanced education.  It's a job skill that is totally portable yet cannot be outsourced.  It offers a future line of work where you spread joy far and wide while being your own boss.

You won't believe what it is!

This month SFIndie Fest's Docfest is presenting one of the happiest documentaries you will ever see.  Twisted: A Balloonamentary not only shows the sense of fulfillment and happiness people discover once they master the art of twisting balloons, it is also a disarming infomercial for those desperately seeking a way out of financial straits.  

Among those who have succeeded are (1) a teenager desperately hoping to escape life in a depressing Arizona trailer park, (2) a convicted felon who has turned his life around and is now a "gospel balloon artist," (3) a breast cancer survivor who left the laboratory which required a Ph.D. for her job and now makes balloons for children, and (4) a black man who grew up in abject poverty and now uses balloon art as a way to inspire kids to embrace their imagination rather than guns and drugs.

These people all converge at the annual Twist and Shout balloon convention where some may stay up all night creating new balloon sculptures.  Some of them have paid for their cars and homes by making balloon animals.  One of them even got married in a wedding gown made of balloons!

A Twist and Shout participant relaxes in a chair made from balloons.

Balloons have a long history of delighting children of all ages. Unless you suffer from an allergy to latex, balloon art could very well be your financial salvation.  Some people have met at Twist and Shout, fallen in love and gotten married.  Some have developed six-figure incomes while bringing smiles to the faces of total strangers.  Others have built a team of balloon artists who get sent out to work in restaurants, at corporate events and private parties with an annual billing of close to $1.5 million.

This geisha made entirely out of balloons won first prize at a Twist & Shout convention.

While some have developed a specialty for "adult" balloon sculptures (it's really easy to make a circumcised penis with balloons), others have turned their attention to using balloons as a way to spread the gospel -- even finding ways to let a balloon Jesus "bleed" red ink.

Even Jesus has his balloon disciples.

If you're looking for a way out of this week's financial nightmare, I'd suggest you purchase the DVD here instead of hoping to build an Amway distributorship or peddle your ass on Craig's List (not everyone can have the luck of this Wall Street hotshot.)  Here's the trailer:

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