CSotD: Avoiding the Bad Vibes

Today’s Frazz (AMS) reminds me of my father saying that some people duck down behind a protective fence to avoid getting hit with pies, but then can’t resist taking a peek to see if the pie-thrower is still there, and WHAP!

He didn’t say it in a disapproving way, mind you. It was an observation and he confessed to being one of those ‘satiably curious people. Given the toxic back-and-forth on Facebook these days, it’s best he died before the platform existed.

I suppose his observation was a less elegant form of the saying “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair,” which is often attributed to Martin Luther, sometimes to Martin Luther King Jr. and sometimes to a Chinese proverb.

Well, you can’t prevent people from posting their hostile crap on Facebook, but you don’t have to wallow in it, and, like Caulfield, I’m not choosing sides.

Instead, here’s another exciting installment of comics from the funny pages. As a compromise, I promise to take them each way too seriously.


For instance, Pros and Cons (KFS) has had an arc about Lyndon feeling down, and it reminds me of the start of my junior year in college.

Two weeks earlier, I’d had a horrific breakup with a girlfriend that also involved my roommate, and I took it with all the dignified aplomb of a doubly-betrayed, lovesick 19-year-old. As the school year began, people would say to me, “You okay? You look really tired or something,” and I would recount the whole sordid story for them in sorrowful detail.

Until someone came up to me and said, “Hey, you got a pair of those glasses that change color in the sun!”

Well, yes. Yes I had.


Now Between Friends (KFS) jumps two years, to the summer when I returned from having dropped out for what would have been my senior year, which I spent, instead, out in Colorado writing and getting married and generally getting my head together.

When I got back, I ran into one of the profs from my department, who asked how my sabbatical had gone. I introduced him to my wife and said that I’d just finished the first draft of my novel, at which he said that he had a novel he wanted to write.

I replied that the hardest part of writing a novel was applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and instantly knew how cruel I’d just been and that he was never, ever going to write his novel.

He retired a few years later, which would have given him time, except that, instead, he died.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
   Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
   Tomorrow will be dying.


Any sense of accomplishment in having finished the manuscript was diminished by it receiving the same reception as the proposals by this fellow in Man Overboard.

The novel was not badly written but it simply didn’t rise above the crowd. I can still read it with affection for the moment and for the young fellow who wrote it, and yet acknowledge that fiction isn’t my métier and that it isn’t really very good.


Exactimundo, Harry Bliss (AMS). Exactimundo.

But I did have an agent suggest I write something more like “Jaws,” which was the hot new bestseller of the moment.

Which also has a curious aura of drivel, but really entertaining, popular, saleable drivel.

This was the point at which I began to recognize the reality of Sturgeon’s Law, particularly since I was simultaneously learning that people would give me money for short, non-fiction drivel.

If 90% of everything is crap, it shouldn’t be hard to make a modest living while you dream of producing the other 10%.

Perhaps after you retire, assuming you manage to avoid dropping dead.


Meanwhile, we all admire starving artists, but we’d rather be bankers like Alex Masterley, who gets to be a trend-setter and eat pretend meat.

Pretend meat is apparently easier on the ecosystem, though simply eating less meatlike substances is probably a wiser and certainly more equitable solution.

I’ll probably never drive an electric car, either, and that’s a far more practical way to help the Earth. I bought a Honda Fit six years ago, hoping it would last until I became one of those old gaffers who shouldn’t be on the highway anyway.

So far, so good, and it’s paid for, which leaves me money to buy small quantities of for-real meat, if not the ersatz, expensive kind.


On a related topic, I wish I’d had the health care plan in today’s Pardon My Planet (KFS) back when I went in for what would have been my first colonoscopy.

I had it all scheduled, but, when I went to pick up the cleansers a few days before, the nurse asked if I was aware that my employer-furnished insurance wouldn’t cover it, in part because they’d rather pay for the cancer than for preventing it, and in part because I had a $5,000 deductible.

At which point “Fleet” became not what I was picking up but how I was leaving the building.

(Sermonette: I was on Obamacare by the time my cancer was discovered, and had switched to Medicare a few months later when they successfully got rid of it. When I call for universal health care, it’s because I’m here to do so.)


Mt. Pleasant (Tribune) dips well back beyond college to my junior high days, because there were a pair of twins who had a place on the lake and they were city girls, they had two-piece bathing suits and they were hot hot hot.

Or perhaps they were just not the same girls we’d known since kindergarten.

But they were city girls, all right. They lived in Massena, which had a population of 16,000 at the time. That was, like, six times the size of our whole school district.


Finally, today, the lads of Sherman’s Lagoon (KFS) continue their tour of London, providing us with a lovely and highly educational musical ending.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Avoiding the Bad Vibes

  1. The Man Overboard reminds me of Pitch Meetings on YouTube (though, in the case of those videos it’s with a producer rather than an agent), which satirizes movies and TV series through fictional pitches to the studios. The guy that does it, Ryan George, plays both parts. They’re really funny, and by now there’s tons of them.

    He does his own videos here:


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