One of my favorite jobs in my wide array of work experiences was The Meridian Hookah Lounge. I started as a server there in 2014, and remained there for over a year before I left to go work for the railroad. By the time I left, I felt like I was a part of family, and if I could return to any job based on enjoyment alone, it would be Meridian in a heartbeat. The job did instill in me a respect (and guilty pleasure) for hookah culture, but to this day, it remains one of the most freeing and laid-back places I’ve ever earned a paycheck.

Case in point, the infamous Meridian chalkboard. It was nothing special, just a chalk signboard that we would use to advertise shisha flavors, specials and discounts, events, etc. But the liberated air of Meridian allowed for a high level of creativity, humor, and downright snark, and the chalkboard was no exception. I personally took great pleasure in flexing my artistic muscles. Here’s a few that I drew for Meridian.

IMG_20150212_194753“Velociraptor Tears” was an early attempt. As you might gather, Meridian would infamously create unique flavor combinations and give them wild names. The names would invoke memes, pop-culture, and patrons’ inside jokes. Some of the most fun was trying to find a fun way to advertise these combinations; some of them were more abstract than others, but others (like this one) really presented a great opportunity to draw something silly.





I did eventually begin to run a little dry on ideas for the chalkboard, at which point, I would find a customer or coworker and ask them for a prompt, usually in the form of a loveable character. “Draw Sonic” or “draw Pooh.” Once we landed on a good one, I’d pull up a reference photo and do my best to do it justice in chalk. Here’s a few favorites.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun with the board designs. I highly recommend finding a way to test your creative talent, even if it’s just taking an art prompt or suggestion from a friend and seeing what you can make with it. You might surprise yourself, especially as you make more art and try new things. Even if one piece doesn’t turn out great, you can have a great time in the artistic process spent with friends. And if you’re ever in Tampa near USF, and if you don’t mind a little tobacco smoke, drop into Meridian and tell them Misha says hi.

Until next time,

-Misha Mouse


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