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CSotD: Friday Funnies

Today’s “Pardon My Planet” falls under the “Funny As Cancer” category.

I’m two-and-a-half years out, which means I’m only halfway to being officially “cured,” but my checkups have become more like reunions, because the scans are clear and we just chat for a little while and set up the next one.

It carries a bit of survivors’ guilt, but one of the first things you learn after you’re diagnosed is that everybody’s situation is different. There are a whole lot of different kinds of cancer and, within each type, a whole lot of different ways people’s situations come down.

So I was lucky, if by lucky you mean 12 hours of surgery and various continuing residual pains and twinges and getting to pee through a plastic tube.

And, yes, I’ve sure seen people who were a whole lot less lucky.

But get this straight: “Lucky” is not getting it at all. Once you’re in the club, luck has nothing to do with it.

Brian Fies’ Mom’s Cancer broke the vow of silence, and he did it with a combination of portraying the horror a family goes through but adding some of the odd and, yes, funny things that happen.

Since then, a number of cartoonists and stand-up comics have come forward to share their experiences.

And here’s what I noticed, hanging around the oncology department, among those who are neither cartoonists nor stand-up comics: There are people who are quiet about it, there are people who are more outgoing about it, some wear the knit hats, some are bald and beautiful, but I never heard anybody whining.

So back to that cartoon: A few months ago I had a meeting with my oncologist and everything was copacetic, so we were talking and I said that I felt lucky that my cancer was pretty much confined to my bladder and prostate, but it scared me that it had also shown up in one of the 56 lymph nodes they removed.

And this big Russian bear leaned forward, put a hand to the side of his mouth and stage-whispered, “Scared me, too!”

Today’s joke being that you’re not supposed to say that until afterwards.

 

As long as we’re dealing grim humor

Joy of Tech brings up something that hadn’t occurred to me, but will stick with me now.

Here’s the PG-13 version, from the Guardian, who basically softened the R-rated Verge report.

And Joy of Tech asks the question, if you think what slips through the net is distressing, can you imagine what doesn’t?

And would you want to?

My dad’s unit wound up at Dachau at the end of the war, and he didn’t hide it, but he didn’t go into much detail, either. A few years after he died, I asked my mom if he had been there when they first liberated the camp or if it were kind of cleaned up by the time he arrived.

She said she didn’t know, that families had been told not to probe for details but to let the returning GIs tell what they wanted to tell in their own good time, and he had never told her very much about Dachau.

Which seems like a bad sign.

Go ahead and click on that Guardian story, but think twice before you visit the Verge.

 

Is ‘caring’ on the curriculum map?

I don’t know why I’m in such a serious mood, but here’s Mr Fitz with a new character: a principal who cares.

David Lee Finkle is a for-real teacher who writes books for teachers, and his strip traces the day-to-day life of an eternally idealistic teacher in an increasingly bureaucratic world.

Not every school is a hell-hole of perfect five-sentence-paragraphs on a template, and some of the nonsensical jargon you hear spouted is actually good teaching once it’s translated into practice.

 

But as someone who deals with young writers, I do see some results of trying to squeeze subjective work into an objective template, and I have to do a little bit of deprogramming sometimes to get kids to write what they want to say instead of what they think I want to hear.

Finkle mixes old strips with new, hence the stylistic differences here, but one thing that objective grading of writing has brought about are college essays and similar pieces of work that are evaluated more by the level of vocabulary than by the content of thought.

The funny part is that, while I fully expect to have to bully my kids into finding synonyms for “amazing,” and I’m not surprised to have tell them that “said” is invisible and generally preferable regardless of what they were told in school, I’m most distressed to have tell them to stop beginning their last paragraph with the word “overall.”

Apparently, teachers love the word “overall.”

 

Nitwits in High Places

I hesitate to laugh too much at this Flying McCoys because it’s way too close to the truth in way too many offices.

I did laugh. But I was careful not to laugh too much.

 

Speaking of Kids

I’m not sure about today’s Zits, because a kid old enough to have a driver’s license is probably through most of the growth spurts.

By that stage, the issue is whether he even owns a suit, much less a pair of leather shoes and by “leather” I mean the kind you polish and wear with a suit.

I wonder if we’re missing something by not having “school clothes” and “play clothes” and “church clothes” and, by Jeremy’s age, clothes you wear on dates.

It’s not about the clothes but about the hierarchy of events.

 

Watching “Total Access” on the NFL Network reassures me that some guys do know how to dress for an occasion. Most nights, these fellas make the models in GQ look like they’re going out to change the oil in their cars.

There are some athletes young men should not hold up as role models, but, come on, son, learn to tie a Windsor.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Brian Fies
March/1/2019
@ 10:04 am

I had a good English professor in college who looked at the first paper I turned in and basically said, “Yeah, that bullshit might have worked great in high school, but it won’t fly here.” I’d done very well with a big vocabulary and convoluted sentences that sounded high-falutin’ but didn’t say much, and my aim as a writer ever since has been to strip out the filigree and say exactly what I mean as clearly as I can. It’s not easy!

(Come to think of it, that’s also my aim as a cartoonist.)

Thanks for the update on your health. We worry. Glad to hear you’re doing so well, and I appreciate your perspective.

#2 Maggie Zakem
March/1/2019
@ 12:09 pm

Yes, I got shot down by a professor who didn’t appreciate my graceful transition sentence that began “It is very difficult to discuss. . .” with a cold comment, “That’s what the paper is about.” I learned very quickly that the fluff that earned accolades in high school didn’t work.

I’m glad you are doing well and halfway to the mark.

#3 Paul Berge
March/1/2019
@ 12:16 pm

Better “Overall…” than “At the end of the day…”

I don’t know why that ubiquitous phrase grates on my nerves, but it does.

#4 parnell nelson
March/2/2019
@ 10:58 am

I love the Dodie Stevens production. The microphone (which ain’t real ‘micro’) and the long cord cracked me up. Ah, the 50s, when you knew for certain that the stuff on Television wasn’t real…

#5 Hank Gillette
March/2/2019
@ 10:03 pm

A late growth spurt can happen.

I had a classmate in high school who was two or three inches shorter than I was. When I saw him 40 years later, he was my height.

#6 Mike Peterson
March/3/2019
@ 7:44 pm

40 years is a long time, Hank. Are you sure he’d gotten taller?

#7 Mike Beede
March/4/2019
@ 8:26 am

I still don’t really get the gag in first cartoon. Are we supposed to imagine the nurse is addressing the patient or the surgeon? I guess I’m having trouble getting past the patient being clearly conscious even as the doctor has his scalpel poised… I wondered at first if the gag was related to the two characters having Spock ears, but I decided that was just the artist’s style. I will assume your reading is correct even though it seems *beyond* dark for a newspaper comic.

Overall, I think we are all happy you’re doing so well, though, Mike.

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