CSotD: Friday Funnies – Memories and Flashbacks

While everyone is freaking out over the coronavirus, Greg Cravens is adapting his own date with disaster as a story arc in Buckets, which begins here with the above strip, from which you can move forward, and it’s not over yet.

I made a reference to Hong Kong Flu the other day which might have seemed dismissive, but I did have it in 1968 and it kicked my ass. A friend found me feverishly gibbering in my room and got me to the campus infirmary for a several days’ stay.

People did die of it, including the mother of a friend, and the serious point here is that we can all wash our hands but what we really need is a health care system where people can go to the doctor without having to think it over too much.

A quick test (they say they’re working on it) and a handful of pills would cost the taxpayers less than having someone admitted, and a whole lot less than having them admitted to the ICU.

Though, for the sake of fiscal conservatives, I’ll admit that it cost taxpayers a whole lot for me — thanks to the ACA — to be able to say, “Oh, and I had a little blood in my urine.”

Cancer treatment being much more expensive than death, which, if I’d waited much longer, was likely.


And if you think that’s depressing, take a look at this brilliant but eye-opening examination of the emotional cost of dying at home, with a hat-tip to MK Czerwiec who pointed it out.

We really need to fix this, and, while perhaps it isn’t in the spirit of Friday Funnies to dwell too much, we’ve also got a NYTimes article about how political cartoonist Ed Stein’s unfortunate choice of supplemental Medicare coverage left him very much in the lurch and a story circulating on social media about a woman whose child was killed in an automobile accident and how her health insurance failed to respond.

But, in the words of Roz Chast’s folks

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Like how old I am, which fact is a gift from my oncologist and urologist but we won’t mention them …

I’m so old that I can remember when Thursday was grocery shopping day, because that was when the coupon supplements were in the papers.

Perhaps they came out on Friday where Arlo grew up, but you learned to avoid shopping on Thursday because the aisles would be packed and half the people would then clog the checkouts matching up their coupons.

We didn’t have day-of-the-week menus at my house, but, on the other hand, when I was a kid, everyone ate like Donald Trump and “exotic” foods were pizza or Chinese.

The only people who ate Thai or Indian or Japanese food lived in Thailand or India or Japan.


And we knew what “air mail” was, which is why I suspect that Mike Thompson is a lot older than the kids he draws in Grand Avenue.

I had a pen pal in England — “pen friend” in their parlance — whose letters came by air mail, and that light blue fold-up form announced itself before you saw the handwriting.

Today, everybody just emails back and forth as if the Atlantic Ocean meant nothing, which seems to be the fact.

Anyway, kids don’t know about paying for long-distance phone calls and I’m sure they don’t know about air mail.

I’m not channeling my inner Andy Rooney. Just stating the facts.


You want to see me go full Andy-Rooney on you, show me this Mr. Fitz, because I went to school back before everyone was a poet.

We wrote sonnets, not haikus.

And sometimes we were assigned to write Shakespearean sonnets and sometimes we were assigned to write Petrarchan sonnets and we knew the goddam difference.

We also knew writing them was hard, and it was even harder to do it well, and that not everyone was a poet any more than everyone was a piano player or a high jumper or Troy Donahue.

Or a teacher. Don’t get me, or them, started on that one.


I also remember the days before everyone was a photographer, and I had to laugh at today’s Half Full because it struck a too-familiar memory.

The anticipation of waiting for air mail was fun, but there’s a great advantage in not having to wait to see if your photos turned out, especially when they are photos of a family reunion or, yes, the amazing appearance of a cryptocritter.

I say this having worked several years at a newspaper on the shores of Lake Champlain, because we’d regularly have people come in with film that would contain pictures of Champy, or, after they were developed, pictures of a log or some diving ducks.

Coulda been worse. I can only imagine what it’s like to work at the Roswell Daily Record.


And I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at today’s Brewster Rockit, because I was the census reporter at our paper in 1990.

There was already a counting problem with the Mohawk in the region because they are among the most militant natives north of the Rio Grande, but it wasn’t helped by the fact that, at the moment, the most militant community among those already militant people was barricaded in an armed standoff with NY State troopers.

The local Census folks claimed that they had passed the books over the barricades and the Mohawk filled them out and passed them back, which was apparently a test of our ability to keep a straight face.

Undeveloped film with photos of Champy got a more respectful reception.


If I could draw …


… I’d draw a cartoon to balance the flood of those by cartoonists who either never took civics or economics or history, or else weren’t paying attention when they did.

I not only paid attention, but I even went to a speech by Robert Welch in college.

He had nothing to do with Welch’s Grape Juice.

He was selling Kool-Aid.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – Memories and Flashbacks

  1. I once met a woman who’d lived in Hampton for years, then was away for a long time. “When I came back,” she said, “Everything had changed. I didn’t know it any more. So I got a job with the Census, and went from door to door, all over town, and got re-acquainted with it all.”

    Also: A sonnet I wrote has taken third prize in a local Shakespeare contest. Tomorrow I’ll go see it on the wall at the event, and try and find a judge so I can ask the burning questions: Were there more than three entries? More than four…?

  2. I assert that this poem’s a sonnet;
    To disagree might hurt my feelings.
    I may bend the rules,
    But the master am I.
    I will not be defined by my genre.

  3. I once got a bee in my bonnet,
    That I could configure a sonnet;
    But rhyme scheme and scansion
    Succumbed to expansion
    And the poor thing was so overwhelmed by the extravagance and persiflage that it crashed and burned from all the stress put upon it.

  4. Sonnet by Ron Padgett (1942)

    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.
    Nothing in that drawer.

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