At Art Center, no one can hear you scream.

Sold in the Art Center student store, located across the hallway from the seriously awesome cafeteria, were black t-shirts printed with one iconic orange dot on the front and this tag line in small-point, white sans-serif Helvetica letters on the front. At Art Center, no one can hear you scream.

The movie Alien was released in 1979 and it was the first of what has turned into a story franchise over the years. At the time, there was nothing like it. No movie had yet been made with such impact on Science Fiction movie-goers, or any movie-goer for that matter. The movies’ tag line was ‘In space, no one can hear you scream.’ That statement alone is chilling to ponder. Still frightening to watch, the movie has left an indelible impact on motion picture movie-goers for all time.

Our first day of school was filled with feeling afraid, nervous, anxious, excited, thrilled, and every other emotion combined at the same time. All new students were standing in multiple lines in the Library, waiting to check-in and receive our Art Center College of Design ID cards. They were cool I thought, and I still have mine. I was silent with excited nervousness, but there were some students talking with one another. The feeling of discomfort was holding me tight as I could do nothing else but overhear various conversations.

One distinct voice I overheard talking with someone else. I ended up becoming good friends with this guy, continued to this day. All I remember hearing was his discussion with another student about a mutual acquaintance who had recently died in a tragic car accident. I remember thinking how terrible it was for someone, around my age, to know an acquaintance that was killed in such manner. Not sure why that memory stuck.

Mike has a voice that ‘carries’ in that you can clearly hear him when he speaks, even from a distance. It’s not a loud or obnoxious voice, there is simply a lower-end pitch level that lends itself well when he speaks.

I didn’t know Mike going in to Art Center. Not sure anyone actually knew one another as we were from various locations throughout the country, and globe. At the time we had no idea just how close-knit we would all become. The Big Chill motion picture was released in 1983, just after we started Art Center the previous year. In my memories of that time period, our group would eventually become ‘The Big Chill’ lived out in real life of the early 80’s.

After our ‘tribe’ of friends formed, we all came to know one another well. Each individual with his/her own quirky personality and history. Mike was always a hard worker. Dedicated to everything he does, his hardcore work ethic and handyman know-how were serious. He seemed to know how to do everything, and if he didn’t, he’d figure it out somehow. His know-how was always something I envied, in a good way.

School work was no different. Sure, we all deprived ourselves on many levels of sleep, but it seemed like Mike did more ‘all-nighters’ than anyone else. Certainly more all-nighters than me. At least that’s what it looked like from his face in the midst of any Trimester. To me his overall look portrayed the visual definition of tired and sleepy. Not a look I needed to see. Reason being is as with Munchausen Syndrome, defined as a factitious disorder imposed on another, his look alone made me tired and sleepy.

But that was Mike, and none of that mattered because we all knew this visual appearance in us all was due mostly to sleep deprivation.

Mike was the only one I knew who could start nodding off while being directly spoken to. You could see it coming… disheveled hair, glazed look in his eyes, slurred words, lids starting to close, head-bob, everything. There was nothing subtle about any of it.

I remember once driving with Mike and heading West on the 210 fwy. Time of day was dusk, and although I don’t specifically remember where we were headed I can only guess we were headed to Stats in Glendale. Otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten on the freeway.

Mike had a half-filled mug of coffee in his hand. I could never understand how anyone could drive while holding an open mug of coffee. You can’t set it down because it would clearly splash and/or spill, so it had to be actively held. During our drive and in our perpetual state of sleep deprivation we most likely chatted about what project we were currently working on.

I knew that I needed to keep an eye on Mike while he drove because one never knew if, or when Mr. Sandman would overtake his seemingly conscious state of being. There he was. Left hand on the wheel of his 1967 Ford Mustang, right hand holding the coffee mug at dashboard height, and I noticed his head slowly decreasing its angle forward. Along with the head-bob, eyelids began transitioning into a closed position.

Wake-up,… wake-up,…MIKE! Usually that’s pretty much all that was ever needed. Mike would always snap out of his half-unconsicious state of falling asleep, albeit pitifully. This revived state of alertness was only a temporary condition however. One had to watch him with vigilance in order to ward off the next, most-certain, impending bout of an uncontrolled physiological necessity for sleep.

At Art Center, no one can hear you scream.