CSotD: Friday Funnies – Truth in Cartooning

Dog Eat Doug goes back to basics — the friendship between Doug and Sophie — for this one, which cracks me up on the old principle of “It’s Funny Because It’s True.”

I don’t deal with this phenomenon, since my babies are now in their 40s and I’ve had ridgebacks — who don’t care about toys — since the late 80s.

But one of the ridgebacks and I went to something a few years back where she was given a stuffed toy with a squeaker.

Since she didn’t want it, we took it to the dog park for her friend Sascha, who squeaked it twice, then held it down with one paw and tore it open, spilling cottony guts all over the ground, then removed the squeaker and flattened it so it stopped squeaking.

At which point Sascha didn’t want the toy anymore either. Elapsed time? Maybe 90 seconds.


Over at Pajama Diaries, by contrast, we’ve got “It’s Not Funny, Because It’s True,” another installment in the ongoing story of Ben, who is somewhere on the autism scale that makes life hard for everyone.

There’s nothing funny in Ben’s story, and Terri Libenson does a nice job of having her cartoon doppleganger simply listen and sympathize.

In this case, literally, on the phone, because there was no need to try to stage the conversation beyond Jill’s facial expression of helpless sympathy.

The best part is in the first panel: Jill made the call.

It takes a substantial commitment to friendship to place a call when you know the best you can hope to hear are a few hopeful glimmers.

Though I’d add that it helps that Nanci recognizes the fact that this is about Ben and not about her. He has the problem. She has a son.

If she responded with “poor, poor pitiful me,” it would make the next phone call much harder for Jill to place.


By comparison, Pros and Cons did get a laugh today, even though it’s true and yet not funny.

I don’t know how many therapists would be that direct, rather than trying to get the patient to see it for himself, but life in a three-panel world requires a lot of compression.

Still, even in three panels, there’s a substantial difference between Nanci’s “trouble talk” about the specific burdens her family faces and this fellow’s reveling in his problems.

If you read Nanci’s dialogue again, you’ll see she’s acknowledging both improvement and hope amid her problems. She’s carrying some burdens, but her complaint is “life sucks,” not “my life sucks.”

Which is why she doesn’t have to pay someone $75 an hour to listen to her complain.


Comic timing

Today’s Pearls reminds me that, when I dropped out of college to go out to Colorado and write, I pictured myself in a cabin in the mountains, with my dog and my typewriter and splendid isolation.

And, for a couple of weeks, I crashed in such a place with a friend who was gone much of the time. I didn’t get a damn thing done. Writing is indeed hard and so is self-discipline.

I didn’t really start writing until, a few months later, I moved in with a woman so that there was someone to say, “How’s it going?”

However, for those who prosper in solitude, there is the Cornish CCS Residency Fellowship, which allows the winning cartoonist to enjoy the splendid isolation of JD Salinger’s former studio in rural New Hampshire, thanks to Harry Bliss, who now owns the place.

You’re too late for this year: It was just awarded to Tommi Parish.

You can read more here and perhaps resolve to try next year.

If, y’know, splendid isolation is your thing.

(Jerry never wrote much there.)


Dear old Golden Rule days


(Grand Avenue)

Ben set me to trying to remember what school supplies we were expected to bring, back when school budgets let a teacher keep a box of tissues on her desk.

As best I can remember, yes, a sheaf of notebook paper and a pack of pencils, plus a box of Crayons, a ruler and a three-hole binder for elementary school, though, at some point, a compass and protractor worked their way in.  By high school, the Crayons were gone and we needed subject dividers for our binders plus separate notebooks for science labs.

My kids needed scientific calculators, but, then, they learned a whole lot more, too.

Their kids needed to also bring a box of tissues. I don’t know if they blew their noses more often than we did.

Though I do know that, about the time they finally got kids to quit wiping their noses on their shirt sleeves, they taught them to sneeze into their elbows, which moved it all up about four inches.

Grand Avenue, however, doesn’t puzzle me at all: Kids don’t own dress shoes, or, at least, they don’t wear them to school.

By contrast, we weren’t supposed to wear sneakers except on gym day, and it was preferred we keep our gym shoes in our lockers and dress properly in the halls.

Our parents didn’t have to buy us calculators but they did have to shell out for “school clothes,” which we had to change out of after school before we could go out and play.


Not funny. Hope it’s not true.


Wow. This New Yorker cartoon by Teresa Burns Parkhurst makes me incredibly sad, which I doubt was her intention.

I did get a sardonic chuckle from the fact that the algorithms placed an ad for birth control on the same page. Excellent targeting!

I went through several junior and senior years and they were a lot of fun.

It was great to have another driver in the house because the driveway got shoveled, but we also had a lot of really good conversations around the dinner table.

It made us both confident that they were ready to strike out on their own, which they were.

Roots and wings: If Jill’s friend Nanci can provide them, so can you.



2 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – Truth in Cartooning

  1. When will people recognize that ‘if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well’ applies only if the thing is worth doing in the first place. Sometimes a half-assed job is justified, as in owning victimhood.

  2. So victimhood isn’t worth doing, but, given that, a half-assed attempt is good enough.

    You’ll have to expand on that. It sounds kind of, y’know, half-assed.

    Here’s my position: It’s good to recognize that you’re a victim. But that’s Step One. Until you’ve figured out what to do about it, it’s not interesting. And it becomes more interesting once you’ve not only figured out what to do about it, but have at least started in that direction.

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