Like many Americans, I own a car, and like many of those same Americans, I hate driving it. However, my dislike has nothing to do with gas prices and everything to do with traffic. On those rare days that I drive to work, I find myself sitting in a low-slung seat for 45 minutes, my foot constantly shifting between the accelerator and the brake, my hands tilting the steering wheel from side to side, and my eyes straining to see the road. My daily train ride, on the other hand, is a joy. I ride my bike to the train station, board, sit down, crack open a book, close my eyes, put my arm around my wife, and enjoy all the things those suckers on the highway don’t get to enjoy. The fact that I pay very little in train fare is just icing on the cake.
Archive for the ‘Shoe’ Category
You know what I dislike about ties? Everything. Those stodgy fabric strings are so uncomfortable that no one in his right mind would choose to wear them, which is a shame because they’re virtually the only way to add color to a man’s wardrobe. Sure, suits and dress shoes can be sharp, but they’re hardly striking. What happens when a man dons the only socially acceptable accessory that can accentuate his dress shirt? He endures near suffocation. He also goes the entire day without realizing just how many germs have accumulated on his tie thanks to near-constant handling. One day, when I have children of my own, I’ll pre-empt any tie-related gifts they might buy me on Father’s Day by asking them to make me pancakes instead.
I recently switched cable providers and am still a bit flummoxed by the change in channel numbers. The old school networks are easy to find, but Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, SyFy, ESPN, and BBC America are all buried in the guide. Fortunately, my lack of familiarity required me to do some channel surfing and led me to a local station called Me Too, which is devoted exclusively to syndicated dramas. Now that I’ve found this treasure, I consistently tune in to watch reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation. These episodes don’t show history repeating itself so much as recent history’s vision of a distant future…repeating itself.
I guess I’d never thought of it before, but a city bus is one expensive piece of machinery. I’d read about soaring gas prices putting a squeeze on local mass transit budgets, but had never considered the cost of the vehicles themselves. A bus ride in Chicago will run you $2.25 ($2 if you use a prepaid card). That’s hardly the type of fare that makes you think you’re riding in a luxury vehicle. But the sheer size of a city bus means that the price tag has to be steep, even if you’re more likely to see an empty can of Old Style on the floor than a bottle of champagne sitting on ice in the corner.
This strip reminds me of one of my favorite characters on the comics page: Topper from Dilbert. Sometimes a person feels the need to prove themselves the smartest, most adventurous, most creative person in the room. Topper’s antics go beyond that, as if he’s trying to compete with “the most interesting man in the world” from the Dos Equis commercials. If memory serves, he recently tried to excrete silk mittens in an attempt to prove his superior thrift. (Topper would never buy expensive garments when he could make them himself, you see.) Today’s Shoe employs a lighter touch, but the impulse to “win” a conversation still comes across as grating.
I’ve had a head cold this week and have been beating it back with chicken soup, hot tea, orange juice and, yes, daily doses of NyQuil. That stuff puts me to sleep every time and would be much too strong for little kids. And if misreading the “keep away from children” label gives me an excuse preempt any potential nagging from the junior set, then all the better.
Thankfully, I have no personal story to tell in reference to this strip. It did make me laugh, however, in a way that these types of jokes rarely do. I’m no fan of strips that base their punchlines on a character revealing “too much information,” but this one does it with a bluntness that’s hard to resist. I also like the split dialogue between the second and third panels. What might seem unnatural in most strips feels completely at home in this one.