Food & Drink

Good vibes amid gloomy times

So life doesn't seem so good? You're worried about the mortgage crisis, layoffs, the price of gas and who knows what else.

Take a break, Jake says, and enjoy some of the good things in life: the delicious tingle of a snow cone … the absurdity of a watermelon seed spitting contest … the joy of hanging out with family and friends.

Who's Jake? If you have to ask, you've missed the Life is good phenomenon. Jake is a cartoon stick figure with a message of optimism that two brothers from Needham, Mass., parlayed into a $100 million-a-year clothing business called Life is good. (Like a sentence, only the first word of their company is capitalized.) Jake's mug and the trademark phrase adorn T-shirts, PJs, caps, sweatshirts, bags, etc., etc.

I guess you'd say Life has been very good to the Jacobs brothers, Bert and John.

To give back and to reconnect with the roots of the business, Life is good hosts festivals around the country. One is coming to the Outer Banks on Aug. 14, outside Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head. The festival is free, said Wes Gutekunst of Kitty Hawk Kites. Donations go to the Life is good Kids Foundation and to the nonprofit Wright Flight Inc. (

You can spit watermelon seeds, lick snow cones, tie-dye T-shirts. There's even a dog bowl toss.

It's their way of reminding us that no matter how bad it gets, Life is good.