A few years ago, one of my relatives gave me a copy of Gravity’s Rainbow for Christmas. I had never read the book, or anything by author Thomas Pynchon, so I was eager to dive in. Then I read the first page and encountered a dense thicket of words. It struck me as the literary equivalent of opening a movie by spinning a camera wildly around in a circle. I quickly decided that I was not up for 776 pages of that, so I put the book down. To my credit, I did not pick up a children’s book instead. Whether or not I picked up a collection of comic strips…I’d rather not say.
Archive for the ‘The Family Circus’ Category
Apparently, a lot of people can’t bring themselves to use unfamiliar bathrooms. If they’re at a friend’s house and need to use the john, they’ll hold it. If they’re at a movie theater and feel their extra-large pop taking effect, they’ll hold it. If they’re at a fancy restaurant and their meal starts to go south…forget it. Their sphincter locks and they begin to race home, no matter how far away it may be. I’m always surprised by the number of people who act this way. As far as I’m concerned, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. And when people tell me they never use the washroom in public…I respond by saying I didn’t think such things were optional.
Earlier this fall, my fiance and I saw cartoonists Matt Groening and Lynda Barry converse on stage at the Chicago Humanities Festival. The chat drew what must have been 1,000 people to a massive auditorium at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but still managed to be intimate and endearing. At one point Barry, who made a name for herself as an underground cartoonist, referenced her love of The Family Circus. After hearing a few groans from the audience, she recalled how the strip gave her refuge from the abusive household she grew up in. The Family Circus does present an idealized world filled with children who say the darndest things, and though I usually can’t stand it I can see how its corny aesthetic might comfort a young person who needs a safe space to call her own.
It was a glorious Indian Summer day in Chicago, with sunny skies and temperatures getting up into the ’60s. The weather was a welcome relief after a full week of cold and rain. It also gave me a perfect opportunity to hop on my bike and run errands this evening. It was so nice, in fact, that I ended up not using my jacket, opting instead to bike around town in a T-shirt. So if the lazy young man in today’s Family Circus is baffled by the notion that anything could be better than video games, I suggest he take a ride on the kids bike that is no doubt collecting dust in his parent’s garage.
As a dedicated tea drinker, I can safely say that there is little to no stigma attached to not drinking coffee. I say this as someone who grew up in a house full of coffee addicts. My mother? Homemade coffee in a cup the size of your head. My father? A tall Starbucks to go. My grandmother? Multiple bags of Eight O’ Clock Coffee lining the top of the pantry. My grandfather? Dunkin’ Donuts medium decaf, cream and sugar with a senior discount. But even though I love the smell of the stuff, I’ve only had two cups of coffee in my life: one to try it and another to make sure I didn’t like it.
I had the exact same reaction as the kid in this strip when I awoke this morning with a nasty cough and a general feeling of lethargy. I was feeling ill last night but had hoped to make it to work today since all of the Chicago-based employees in my firm were invited to gather in the conference room to watch Barack Obama’s inaugural address (and presumably to eat pizza). As it happened, I watched the inauguration in bed while sipping orange juice and mustering the strength to sit up straight.
At first glance, this strip gives the impression that there is an actual, giant hole in the wall as opposed to a cartoon device showing action that the parents can’t see. Strangely enough, that hole is shaped like a very rough facsimile of the United States, minus Florida, Texas, and the Great Lakes.