Friday, April 15, 2011

Meager Mutterings

I have to start carrying a pad and pencil because I always think of wonderful witty-isms when away from the keyboard. I had come up with something earlier that would have had you howling with laughter, but I forgot what it was.  Trust me, you really would have enjoyed it.  You would be sharing it with your friends and have them rolling on the floor, or at least slapping their knees.  Sorry, but my memory is of the Swiss cheese variety, not a solid chunk like cheddar.

To steal an old Walt Kelly gag: "Friday the thirteenth fell on a Wednesday this month."  Show of hands, who knows about Walt Kelly?  Walt Kelly was the writer slash artist of the comic strip Pogo which ran in newspapers from 1948 until 1975.  Walt Kelly's life ran from 1913 until 1973.  Walt was such a dedicated cartoonist that he continued to draw Pogo for two years after his death.  Another Walt Kelly saying that I have always liked is: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

The character Pogo was a possum.  The comic strip Pogo was a political satire.  Pogo was like Doonesbury except with talking swamp creatures instead of humans.  Walt Kelly could draw animals to resemble famous people.  He had a blood hound that looked like Spiro Agnew.  Spiro Agnew was Nixon's Vice-President who resigned when it came to light that he was a tax cheat.  Walt Kelly also drew a bull dog that had the likeness of J. Edgar Hoover.  The bull dog wore a tutu. For some reason, when it came to Richard Nixon, Walt Kelly copied his features into a teapot.  I guess it was easier to fashion Nixon's nose after a tea spout than find an animal sporting an adaptable proboscis.

When I was a boy, I had a small talent in art.  I had the delusion that I would be a comic strip artist when I grew up. The closest I ever came was to draw several editorial cartoons for a community newspaper, one of those once-a-week editions that is mostly coupons and advertisements.  That led to some side jobs doing flyers.  But altogether, the wages were barely enough to supply peanut butter and bread for the month, never mind luxuries such as butter and bananas to complete the Elvis special.

So I left the lucrative world of starving artists, and took a job in a sawdust factory.  Aw, now that was some money.  Minimum wage and all the sawdust you can inhale.  But that's another story for another day.

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