Every Sunday afternoon I get a newspaper and settle down for my usual ritual. I pull out all of the ads and coupons and set them aside for later perusal. I then pull out the sections in which I have no interest, foremost being the Sports section. After that I neatly stack my favorites, World News, Metro, Living etc. Then begins the hunt for the comics, which I set aside in a spot of their own.They will be the last thing I read; kind of like dessert.
The comics – or “funnies” – are considered by some to be lowbrow humor, not worthy of serious thought or consideration. However I have found that some of life’s most truthful and relevant realities are pinpointed in the strips. Listen to Lucy van Pelt (my favorite diva) from Peanuts, who asks, “What shape would the world be in today if everyone settled for being average?” If you want to hear more from Charlie Brown and his gang, check out Peanuts: A Golden Celebration.
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, speaks to those of us who get up every morning and spend a good bit of time in the marketplace. His take on life in the corporate world is both hilarious and frequently on target. On your “grin and bear it ” days, pick up Dilbert’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life: Dispatches From Cubicleland, for a good laugh. If you need a quick fix, here you are.
The great thing about comics is that they speak to every age, interest and situation. As my marriage aged, so did my understanding of that battling couple, the Lockhorns. In his exaggeration of marital struggles, John Reiner portrayed what life is like sometimes after you say “I do.” If truth is in wine, it’s often in humor as well.
Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine are comic strips for our times. Their edgy, occasionally dark and sometimes tart humor can be reflective of current values, thoughts and realities. Those of us who grew up with Nancy, Blondie, Mary Worth, Little Lulu, Pogo, and Popeye—just to name a few—are able to see how humor changes as the culture (and your age) changes. That which elicits a polite, half-hearted grin from a fifteen year old today may make a senior laugh uproariously. Which of these do you find amusing? This one…
or this one…
Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it’s enough that we can laugh. To paraphrase some wise person, in literature and love (and humor), we are often amazed at what is chosen by others.