CSotD: Friday Funnies – Tales of Anxiety and Perception

Most weeks, Friday Funnies are things that made me chuckle, perhaps snicker, occasionally LOL, but this Rhymes With Orange channels some really good existential dread.

Which made me really laugh, but only because I’ve embraced my inner slacker and I don’t have those dreams anymore.

I don’t know if it’s a sign of achieving inner peace or just a matter of getting old enough that I don’t give a damn anymore, but I’m going with the former because it sounds more noble.

Which I guess means I still give at least a small damn.

But it reminds me of Tolstoy’s description of Pierre at the start of “War and Peace,” before all the horrific experiences that make him a mensch:

He was always busy and always felt in a state of mild and cheerful intoxication. He felt as though he were the center of some important and general movement; that something was constantly expected of him, that if he did not do it he would grieve and disappoint many people, but if he did this and that, all would be well; and he did what was demanded of him, but still that happy result always remained in the future.

Anyway, I lived the student dream in real life: A half century ago, I went to the first meeting of my seminar, then skipped the second and, when I went to the third, the room was empty.

Turned out that, in the second seminar, they’d agreed to a different meeting place. So I dropped out of school and spent a year writing in Colorado.

Excellent choice.

The only anxiety dream I have left involves wandering around trying to find either my car or a particular house, and that’s usually less about anxiety and more about the wandering, which sounds more zenlike than it is.

Still, RWO managed to ring the bell, so I guess I haven’t left it all behind entirely.

I’m mostly working on avoiding anxiety these days, which brings us to what would be a Juxtaposition of the Day if it weren’t more like a story arc without a plot:

Pearls Before Swine has been avoiding actual politics and pandemic panicking by declaring itself free from the whole damn thing.

Now, let’s be clear: Pigs and Rats and Goats don’t really talk and you can’t really avoid the whole damn thing.

You still need to wear a mask in stores, you still need to vote. And if you leave the mayonnaise out on the counter very long, you should buy a new jar. (Trust me on that one; I’ve been there.)

Mostly, you have to learn the difference between sensible precautions and obsessive worry.


Though, if you do want to get all zen about it, Monty brings up a bit of comic strip physics, which involves people being immobilized because they were buried in sand.

My experience in real life is that, if you were actually buried in enough sand that you couldn’t get up, the weight on your chest would have long since suffocated you.

So I could imagine Grasshopper or Luke Skywalker or somebody being advised by the Master that you are only trapped because you haven’t tried to get up.

I could also imagine a scene like the part of “The Burmese Harp” where the young soldier-disguised-as-a-monk buries a body found in the jungle, completes the funeral rituals, then walks over the next hillside and is confronted with the ghastly remains of a forgotten battle.

Only, in this one, it’s a beach filled with people buried in the sand who have accepted that they are immobile, at which point he devotes the rest of his life to trying to persuade them to at least try to rise.


Granted, sometimes perception is reality, as demonstrated in this “topper” that Tom Heintjes posted the other day, and which ran atop a Sunday Gasoline Alley strip back in the 30s.

Counterfeit money is only “phony” when somebody in authority notices. Up until then, it’s part of a social agreement about the value of things.

Gold is both shiny and kind of rare, so that’s valuable, but diamonds are totally bogus, their “rareness” the work of a cartel whose wealth depends on everyone thinking diamonds are valuable, towards which goal they artificially depress the supply.

Money had some putative value back when we were on the gold standard, but, today, it’s largely a matter of agreement, much like the value of baseball cards, Beanie Babies and bitcoins.

Nobody forges nickels today because the effort isn’t worth the reward, but one of my sons worked an ice cream booth at a fair once where, when someone came back to buy a second small cone with a $20, he realized it was phony and that the guy was going around buying cheap items and collecting real change.

He followed him out and told a cop but the police weren’t interested in what some dumb kid had to say.

Which shows the value of yet another perception.


Finally, a more common issue of perception: Sheldon has been riffing on romance novels lately and, today, hit another of my buttons:

I used to sing “The Gypsy Rover,” until one day I got to this part

He is no gypsy, my father, she said,
But lord of these lands all over,
And I will stay ’til my dying day,
With my whistlin’ gypsy rover

and it occurred to me to wonder whether she had really made that commitment before or after she found out who he really was.

I suppose I just knew too many faux-gypsy rovers who, once unmasked, dutifully put on jackets and ties and went to the office every day for the rest of their lives.

Real gypsy rovers don’t do that.

So I prefer this version, in which she realizes her wealthy nobleman “rode East when I rode West, you rode high when I rode low,” and corrects her error.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – Tales of Anxiety and Perception

  1. 100 percent sure. It was summer camp and everything else our group took camping was fresh from the kitchen. The mayo was in a jar that the counselors kept in the trip shack. Nobody who didn’t go on the trip got sick, nearly everyone who went did — some overnight, some a few days later.

    Mind you, it was 1961, so maybe they’ve changed the ingredients. But this ol’ cat doesn’t sit on cold stove lids anymore either.

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