Lead time can be as amusing as the comics themselves, and however long ago she filed this Half-Full (AMC), Maria Scrivan — one of the nicest cartoonists in the world — makes an inadvertent Jeffery Toobin joke.
I have some sympathy for Toobin, because I often just restart my phone to get some persistent app to shut down, but, then again, he’d have been wise to restart his computer or put a Post-It note over the camera hole or leave the freakin’ room entirely.
My first response was to look him up and see how old he was. He’s 60, so he’s not a digital native, but, then again, if being outside that demographic means you’re not familiar with computers, it ought to mean you’re slightly paranoid about them.
Easy for me to say: My laptop croaked a few months ago, and, since I don’t have to fly out to Colorado twice a year anymore, I went back to a desktop, to which I hooked up an old flat-screen monitor I had hanging around.
No camera. No microphone. Last night I watched a two-hour Zoom training for election night poll workers and it didn’t bother me to be a silent, unseen spectator, nor did anyone at the meeting seem to care.
Which brings us to this Jeremy Banks (Financial Times) cartoon, which was more of a math problem than a laugher.
The familiar lyric is “How terribly strange to be 70,” but what’s really terribly strange is to realize that your kids are in their 40s.
I still remember my eldest, back in ’83 or ’84, home from school sick and tutoring me from bed on how to write Basic commands on my new TI Pro. They’re digital natives, though it was his little brother who, years later, was more apt to be found in a mosh pit.
Anyway, Banks’ cartoon set me to doing the math and realizing that, yes, their cohort has become the Old Farts of Today.
How terribly strange.
Having said that, the 40s were the best decade of my life: Still young enough to have fun but a whole lot wiser than in my 20s. Most of the stories of my 20s are of blunders that turned into adventures and vice-versa. My 40s rocked.
However, this Wallace the Brave (AMS) sent me spinning back to that earlier decade, because, when I was in college, most of the casual food in town was Italian, and it was not unknown to ask your date how she felt about garlic bread, since, if only one of you ate it, it might become an issue later in the evening.
It wasn’t much of an indicator. My most vivid memory on the topic is of a late supper after seeing “Finian’s Rainbow,” in a small Italian eatery with a girl I couldn’t believe was my date, and, in that case, she happily agreed we could order garlic bread, not so that our breaths matched but because it wasn’t going to make the slightest difference in the world.
She was a lot like Amelia, come to think of it, and I was, alas, far too much like Spud.
Amelia would be an interesting person to run into at 40.
She certainly wouldn’t be involved in our
Juxtaposition of the Day
A pair of horrors and I’m not sure which fills me with more dread.
I’d like to think that my generation was the last in which women went to college to get their MRS degrees, though I haven’t researched it.
It was never a women-thing; it was mutual. Senior year was like musical chairs: Circle all and, when the music stops, marry whoever you’re dating.
If it’s still happening, it sure ain’t hip anymore. I just had a niece get married shortly after her 33rd birthday, at which point in life I was already on the brink of divorce.
The only thing more horrifying than marrying because it’s time is staying married because, while you won’t win the Bronze Love Eagle, you’ll avoid active conflict and family disapproval.
Passive conflict is a pretty poor alternative, and if you’re still searching for family approval at that age, you might as well be searching for the Bronze Love Eagle.
Trust me: If you want garlic bread, eat the goddam garlic bread. It’ll all work out in the long run.
On another topic entirely, Non Sequitur offered some interesting knife-edge timing.
This was yesterday’s cartoon, and, as it happened, I had been sitting by the river with a friend just the afternoon before, looking at the hills on the far side, and she remarked what a spectacular fall we have had, which was a surprise since the drought had brought predictions that the leaves would change early and fall almost immediately.
Instead, we’ve had one of those Oriental carpet autumns that only come along once in a great while, and so, when I snagged this cartoon Thursday morning, I thought I’d grab a shot of the foliage later to go with it.
But what had been gorgeous on Wednesday was all brown and rust by Thursday afternoon.
Sic transit, baby.
Speaking both of age and of things you needed to be there for, I once owned a copy of this scorebook that the Chicago 7 defendants issued as a fundraiser during the trial, but it disappeared.
I started to watch the Netflix movie about the trial but only got about a minute into it when they showed LBJ announcing the escalation and heightened draft call in 1965, then a shot of the draft lottery.
Which didn’t happen until 1969, under Nixon, and which totally transformed the anti-war movement by dividing potential draftees into “dead meat,” and “totally immune,” thus casting doubt on everybody’s motivations for protesting except for a few people in the middle range.
It also came at a time of de-escalation when the Chicago 7 trial was nearly over.
If they couldn’t get something that fundamental right, I didn’t need to see what else they’d f-ed up.
Anyway, here’s a bitter little tune for the “Marry in Haste, Repent at Leisure” crowd: