When I was in college in 1992, I was barely getting by. I pounded the payment turning in application after application, yet I could not find a job. And after selling all the plasma I was physically and legally able to sell, I got the job of last resort.
I went to work as a telemarketer.
I lasted one week. I did not give up because I was not good at selling, on the contrary, I can sell just about anything. But I was selling roadside assistance to elderly shut-ins who no longer drove. Oh, there were the folks who would slam down the receiver uttering a few choice curse words. That was troubling, but I could not handle the guilt of selling unnecessary policies to lonely seniors who just wanted someone to talk to. They sounded so sad when I would close the sale and say goodbye.
I have never forgotten that experience, and I thought of it often as I designed Alex Drane’s Jacket: The Angel Eliza. I painted this for Alex Drane because she is wonderful and kind. She is one of those truly free spirits you rarely meet in a lifetime. On top of running Eliza, which uses internet tools and the humble telephone to communicate with patients, she also helped create Engage with Grace and Seduce Health.
When I was a little girl, I would often stay at my Aunt Hilda’s house. In my room was a little print on the wall. My Aunt Hilda called it the Guardian Angel. No one knows the name of the artist but the piece is called “Heilige Schutzenge.” It always comforted me. When I thought of the company Eliza, I thought about that picture.
This is the angel Eliza. Her wings are phone receivers and she loosely holds the coils of the receiver as those coils connect her to the patient. This angel stares at the viewer inviting them to take part in the solution. Eliza seems sacred as she floats above the scene and her head is framed with a cloudy halo of binary code.
Below the Angel Eliza, two figures sit on a dilapidated bridge. To the left side of the picture is a woman in a wheel chair. Her face is concerned. She is being reminded to take vital medications by the soothing tones of Eliza. On the right side of the painting a small boy sits while giving himself and insulin injection. He has been reminded as well.
This painting is peaceful and kind. It shows that in the darkest moments of a life there are people looking out for you. It shows the love of company and its founder. This is not a company that uses loneliness to sell a product. This is a company that uses every tool in their arsenal to help engage you in your health. It is simply beautiful.