Dear Crabby, How do I survive the Art Institute?

Dear Crabby,

My girlfriend loves art and always wants to take me to different museums to stare at walls full of art. I really want to enjoy it, but I find it rather difficult. What can I do?

Sincerely, Knott A Picasso

Dear Knott A. Picasso,

Being the art-lover that I am not, I have actually found several ways to enjoy the art museums. You see, since Mrs. Crabby does love art, she likes to drag me along to The Detroit Institute of Art whenever she can. After barely surviving my first trip to this place years – no, decades – ago, I realized I needed to be creative if I was ever to survive it again. So here are some of my tried and true remedies. Having a brother who is obsessive about straightening picture frames, I have learned to recognize those same types of people in the crowd. While Mrs. Crabby is a few steps ahead of me admiring the paintings, I very subtly shift the frames so they hang just slightly crooked. Then I watch from across the room as one of these said people starts having a fit about all the crooked frames. Inevitably some unknown individual always tells security and my poor DearCrabby“victim” gets in trouble for trying to straighten them all. No matter how many times this happens it still cracks me up! Other times I wear a navy sports coat. Basically because anyone wearing a navy sports coat always looks to be in charge. As a new group walks in, I begin my instructional tour. I have been told before that I have the gift of making things up. I usually pick the modern art section, you know the splashes of paint on canvas and the large red board with a white line down the middle. There I come up with grandiose stories of what these pictures symbolize. Stories like how the blue stands for the industrialization of our country and how the yellow stands for the purity of the native Americans, and this is how The University of Michigan chose blue and yellow for their school colors! People not only buy into this stuff, they actually thank me with tips and accolades! Some people even ask if I’ll be back the next week. I usually mumble under my breath, “Not if I’m lucky!” But I’ve had fun with it, and in doing so, continued to keep people thoroughly confused about art in general. So keep working at it – it will all work out eventually.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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