Intended Use: They Turned My Commercial into an Ashtray

A Mother's Day Message from Casting Director Justin Radley, CCDA


Having two kids of my own, the approach of Mother’s Day has made me reflect on all of the crappy, handmade gifts I brought home from school every year for mom. Of course she did what a good mother is supposed to do and acted like the papier-mached-macramed-crayon-colored-dreamcatcher-ish-thingy-ma-crap was the best gift she had ever received. Her enthusiasm would only be equaled by the slightly less crappy thing my older sister made her. One gift in particular stands out in my mind as being extremely special. It was a hand-thrown ceramic bowl that I glazed red because that was (and still is) mom’s favorite color. I was pretty impressed with my first pottery effort and knew mom would be pleased, but it turned out my bowl had a slight design flaw. When my second grade teacher Mrs. Wise put it in the kiln the sides drooped considerably, and my work of art came out looking more like a warped Frisbee than a bowl for mom's Raisin Bran. 

Design flaws don't matter to moms on Mother's Day. Mom loved it. She unwrapped the wrinkled tissue paper and exclaimed, “Oh, Justin, this is the prettiest ashtray I've ever seen!" Ashtray, huh? She proceeded to pull out a Salem Menthol Ultra Light and soil the shiny red glaze with ashes. Hey, it was the 70s. Don't judge. I didn't. It's the prettiest ashtray she's ever seen. That was all that ran through my mind that Sunday morning. I didn't care much that mom had a different plan for my gift than its intended use. In fact, I didn't care about intended use at all... until about 25 years later... in an entirely different context. 

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