It’s Labor Day weekend, which means millions are mourning the unofficial end of summer. Final cookouts are being held, talk of baseball is turning to talk of football, and the upcoming school-year is proving difficult to ignore. Add in a bit of chilly weather in Chicago and it’s no wonder people are feeling depressed. But not me. This summer was unusually hot and humid, and there were times when I couldn’t wait for it to end. Sure, I’ll be sad to see my grill decommissioned for the winter, but I’ll also be delighted to trade my shorts for jeans, my T-shirts for jackets, and my air conditioners for fresh breezes blowing through open windows.
Archive for the ‘Hagar the Horrible’ Category
My basement needs to be re-finished pronto, and while I enjoy home improvement projects as much as the next guy, I also realize that my wife and I can’t do everything ourselves. We can’t seal the cracks in the foundation, for example, and we don’t want to take our chances setting up new lighting. So what have we done? We’ve turned to contractors, of course. We’ve set up appointments with basement sealers and will be calling an electrician to discuss lighting options. Then we’ll have a decision to make. Do we replace the frame, put up insulation, hang new drywall, prime, paint, and install a laminate floor with the help of family and friends? Or do we hire professionals and make things easy on everyone? Given the time and energy it’s taking to gut the basement, I’m leaning toward the latter option.
I’m not a fan of coffee, but there was a time in my life when I drank it. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. What I drank (infrequently) was a coffee-flavored mocha drink from a convenience store. When I was 18, I worked the overnight shift at White Hen Pantry. The hours put dark circles under my eyes, and I was sometimes so tired that I grabbed a chilled “coffee” from the refrigerated section. The caffeine kept me wired and the chocolate made the drink palatable, but I still couldn’t handle the coffee flavor. If memory serves, I drank two of these mocha monstrosities before quitting cold turkey and resolving to get more sleep instead.
Come to think of it, my six-month dental checkup is also overdue. I should have gone in for a cleaning some time in February, but home buying and wedding planning made it difficult for me to find time. Of course, it didn’t help that my cleaning came due in the middle of winter when my urge to venture outdoors was at its lowest. Maybe today’s summer-like temperatures will be just the jolt I need to call the dentist and schedule something. Until then, brushing and flossing…brushing and flossing.
This past weekend, while my fiance was in Vegas for her bachelorette party, her family gathered to help me paint our bedroom. Our mission was to eradicate an ungodly shade of pink, appropriate only for girls of grade-school age. Even the ceiling was pink. We spent Saturday priming the bedroom, applying three coats before I shuffled off to my bachelor party. The next day, we painted the walls blue and brown, with horizontal stripes toward the top of the walls and thin strips of white to complement the colors. I also made several trips to the hardware store for supplies, potted two plants, created a frame for an old hand-woven rug, and hung curtains to replace a set of aging vertical blinds. The results were spectacular (if I do say so myself) and came as a complete surprise to my fiance.
Here’s the thing about thankless jobs: the more you complain about them, the more thankless they become. Here’s the other thing about thankless jobs: they’re so grueling that you can never really be thanked enough. Hagar the Horrible is learning this the hard way by earning the undoubtedly earnest (but still ridiculously tepid) approval of his sidekick. Clapping in the man’s face? This scrawny fellow would have been better off deliberating a few more panels (perhaps waiting for a Sunday strip to do so) before retreating to a far corner of the bar to hang with a less bitterly angry crowd.
Even though violence is common in the world of comic strips (think Sarge stomping on Beetle Bailey or Lucy roughhousing with Linus) it’s usually depicted in an exaggerated, over-the-top manner. That’s why it’s so unsettling to see Hagar the Horrible not only bleeding, but suffering from such serious wounds that his blood drips from his body and forms puddles on the floor. Judging by his heavy eyelids in the second panel, it looks as if the poor man is about to lose consciousness. I’m not sure anyone would find this punchline funny, but it does illustrate the unglamorous nature of battlefield injuries in terms not usually seen on the comics page.