A Toast Story

Failure with a side of Toast

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Antonio “Shades” Agee is a Detroit graffiti artist. He went through a lot of struggle in his life. At one point of time he was homeless. He had to find different girls at night just to have a roof over his head. He talks a lot about being a garbage man, which some people view it as a failure. Would not consider that a failure because in order for him to become a garbage man he had to sober up and get his life together. In the Failure Lab video, he mentioned how he became an artist was because he came from a family of artist(pars.4:05-4:11). He also mentioned in the video why he picked graffiti. In the video, he said that he picked graffiti because he liked the idea of being low-key(pars.4:19-4:30). Shades was then recruited by the Detroit Institute of Arts, where he made some amazing graffiti for the institution.

In a way, I can relate to Shades’ story. I have been through some struggles in my life growing up on the south-side of Chicago and my mom having me at a young age. My mom had me when she was only 16 years old, which put some struggles on her because she was just a child having a child. It was a struggle because my mom and I clashed a lot of times, which made it difficult growing up. In many ways, the struggles that I encountered shaped my life into the person I am today or the person who I want to be when I get older. Additionally, I always wanted to learn how to draw. I like to draw or doodle, so I can understand why Shades fell in love with graffiti, and why he wanted to do it. I further my knowledge more about Detroit Institute of Arts, and I learned that the museum has been around for over a century. On the website, it says, “among the top six in the United States” (DIA. par 3). Now that I am living in Michigan, I think that I need to get out of Ann Arbor and go see this amazing museum!

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Shades’ success story reminds me of another successful person named Giulietta Carrelli. Giulietta Carrelli is a woman who owns a coffee shop named “ Trouble”, she also suffers from a mental disorder called schizoaffective disorder[1], and she has been dealing with this since she was in high school. Giulietta comes from a family that of Italians, and for the most part they did not eat American food other than cinnamon toast, which is one of the options on the Trouble menu. A little later in Giulietta life, she met an older man named Glen, who then helped her start her own coffee shop. In the article, A Toast Story, the author says “And the brief menu, toast was a standalone item- at $3 per slice” (Gravois. par 2). This toast that was getting provided from Giulitta was ridiculously expensive! I guess if a coffee shop primarily sells toast, then the price of it has to be expensive.

Giulietta’s story is amazing and inspiring. She has to struggle so much and deal with a lot of mental and emotional distress, yet she finds way to cope and keep a sense of herself. She is inspiring because if she gets up every day not knowing what to expect, who are we to complain about the little stuff that life throws at us. When you are given bread, make toast! Speaking of toast, toast was San Francisco’s artisanal food trend. I researched some more about other food trends in 2016. On the Global Food Forums, it says that savory yogurt is the next kale in 2016. (Global Foods Forums. par 3). What is surprising is that there has not been a lot of news about popular food trends, especially savory yogurt. Giulietta is a perfect example of a person who made something out of herself and made a successful business. In a way, she is almost like Blake Mycoskie, the creator of TOMS.

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In Mycoskie’s memoir, Start Something that Matters, he created a new definition of what success of what success meant. He says that success meant working on one’s own terms and contributing to the world (Mycoskie 16). I think that Shades and Giulietta both fit into Mycoskie’s definition of success. Shades give back to Detroit by contributing his artwork to the art of institute. On the other hand, Giulietta fits into Mycoskie’s other definition of success, which is working in one’s terms. Giulietta owns her own business, so she decides when she wants to come to work and when she wants to open her shop. There are some similarities between the three, yet there are some differences as well. One of the main differences between the two is that Shades and Giulietta had some kind of struggle in their lives that got them to their success; whereas, Mycoskie grew up very privileged and probably did not have to struggle as much as them.
My own personal definition of success is getting my major in psychology and actually growing up to become the person that I want to be; however, I am still in that process of finding who I am. I plan on being a psychiatrist when I grow up. So my own personal success would have to involve me furthering my education and going to college. I need to go to college in order for me to have the life that I want to live where I don’t have to need or want for anything because I already have it. Also, another part of my success definition is to have a successful life. I do not want to bring children into the world without without having my life together. Shades and Giuletta had a struggle in their life, yet I cannot relate neither of them. My definition of success is different from their own definition of success and what it means to be successful. My takeaway from the TOMS reading, Shades, and Giulietta is make the best out of life. When life throws you apples, smash it and make apple sauce.

Work Cited

Agee, Antonio Shades. “Failure Lab Grand Rapids.” YouTube. May 23, 2013. Web. 20 July 16

2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNvonl9d7M8

“The Cultural gem of Detroit-Museum Info.”  DIA-Detroit Institute of Arts.  DIA, n.d. Web. 25 July 2016. http://www.dia.org/about/history.aspx

Duron, Alexandra. “The Next Kale? The Foods You’re Going To Be Hearing About Constantly

In 2016.”  Global Food Forums.  Global Food Forums, 4 January 2016.  Web. 25 Jul

2016 http://www.globalfoodforums.com/food-news-bites/2016-food-trends/

Gravois, John. “A Toast Story.” Pacific- Standard. Jan 13, 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2016. https://psmag.com/a-toast-story-df3b8e99d07f#.5smf0s6y2

Mycoskie, Blake. Start Something that Matters. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2011. Print


[1] Schizoaffective disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia and mood disorder.



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