Christopher Schmitt

designer, web developer, author, strategist, dreamer

Working with the web since 1993, Christopher Schmitt directs, Inc., a small new media publishing and design firm. The author of several books, including CSS Cookbook and Photoshop in 10 Simple Steps or Less, Schmitt is also a contributor to many web development magazines.


I Can’t Complain

7 months ago

"I can’t complain,” were the words you always heard from my grandmother when you asked how she was doing.

She always said it with a crisp and positive delivery, you knew she believed those words and lived them.

Inez had the love of family and friends, a roof over her head, a passport full of stamps, and—for most of her life—a clean bill of health.

She couldn’t complain.

She was raised in Cincinnati, but was a world traveler. You name the country, Inez probably visited the place before its civil war—if it grew old enough to have one.

For the last several years, though, our focused and headstrong matriarch fell ill to dementia. At first, it was small lapses in memory. Eventually she would forget conversations that happened in minutes and start them up again.

It was frustrating, but still, she couldn’t complain.

Inez seemed to bounce back from a recent hip surgery. But after a week, her body began to falter and finally give way.

Last Saturday, her family and friends came together to say goodbye, to be thankful she’s been released from pain and frustration, and dwell in the gratitude for her presence in our lives.

I like to believe my grandmother understood what I did for a living, she just didn’t take to it.

We tried over the years to think of simple ways for her to get an email address to write to family and friends, she would refuse—politely—all attempts at IT support. She wanted to talk to you, to hear your voice, to know that you were well.

When WebTV was a thing (before it become another thing), Inez would refuse to even try it. Even the fabled easy-to-use iPad never made the cut.

She was happy that I had a job in a new land, a new medium—but she wanted no part in it.

In an era of social media, people cut down each other for sport—jockeying for virtual wins. There is a lot of hatred out there.

Ease of communication to hundreds, or even thousands of followers, means the most witty of complaints gets the most likes, the most attention.

I spent the weekend with family and friends and almost no devices, other than the occasional shared text or photo. We talked, laughed, and cried together and then went our separate ways, each of knowing the other was well.

Inez would have loved it.


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Designing Web & Mobile Graphics

by Christopher Schmitt

New Riders, 2013