I occasionally get to work with interesting people at the university. This year an old guy came in looking for training on the course management system. He said he’s a new part-time instructor here to teach a class in cartoons. So of course I told him I love cartoons. He said, “well it’s about all forms, editorial cartoons, animation, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, etc.” So I started talking about how I’m a fan of all those things, and it turns out for everything I mentioned, he was acquainted with the authors: Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, Pearls Before Swine, Loony Tunes (he was friends with Chuck Jones) and so on.
Suddenly I realize I know his name. He’s Pulitzer nominee Bob Englehart, a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, and I even have one of his cartoons in my desk. It was one where he used Pac-Man and ghosts as an analogy for CT state schools, Pac-man representing one that would absorb the others. At the time of its release, I commented online with critical feedback for depicting the ghosts in their normal colors, him not realizing that they were more dangerous to Pac-Man in that state, and for the analogy to work, they should have been depicted blue, reflecting their vulnerable state. I admitted to him that said feedback came from me, though only a geek my age would know that. Anyone older than me wasn’t hanging around arcades in the 80s and anyone younger had home games better games on home systems. It’s a very small section of the population who’d even notice. He says, “well where were you when that went though editing?”
So we have a laugh and start talking details about Looney Tunes. At one point he opens up his book and asks how to spell my name. After it, he scribbles “cartoon expert” and says, “I might have to have you come speak to my class.”
Laura’s making dinner, I pop in and say, “Is there anything I can do?” She looks at me and I can see the gears turning, so I add, “to help with dinner. I know there’s lots of things I could do, like, say, be a better person.”
“No,” she replies warmly, “you couldn’t be a better person.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment while it’s still ambiguous.
Why is it that all people, regardless of background, education, criminal past, or expertise, are sworn to tell the truth or risk the penalty for perjury in a court of law, but we haven’t applied that to political debates?
“When people cry I feel like they are just making a last ditch attempt to win the argument. It’s so manipulative.”
“Don’t you have kids Mike? When they are sad do you think they are manipulating you?”
“Well they are younger, so I have more….what’s the word…not leniency, but something like that….”
The word you’re looking for is compassion, Mike, and the reason you’re having trouble finding it is because it’s not in your vocabulary.”
I got frustrated with my son, he wouldn’t stop the incessant tapping and I lost it. I yelled, “If you don’t stop that tapping I swear to god…!”
To which he responded with a quote about women’s beards from his recent stint as Touchstone in As You Like It, “you cannot swear by that which does not exist! Or else you swear on nothing.”
Took the wind right out of my sails. In one quick response he displayed a quick wit, defused a potentially tense situation, showed knowledge of literature, and reflected our family’s philosophical values. A proud dad moment for me.
10 year old: Cute and bear shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.
13 year old: How about, the bear ate cute animals.
The Gettysburg Address has long been considered a shining example of succinctness and brevity. It’s studied in law schools for its capability to communicate so much, so eloquently, and in only 272 words. And yet, if he were to deliver it today using today’s means of distribution, he’d have to add:
TL;DR Country founded on equality, and falling apart trying to prove it. Too many deaths. Let’s do what we set out to do.
^It would fit in a tweet too.
In Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, Billy Joel mentions “Brenda and Eddie” 8 times, he rhymes with it 5 times, and not once does he rhyme it with Spaghetti. What a missed opportunity!