The Last Tattoo: An Oral History

Maybe not

“I was planning on getting a tattoo my freshman year. I was primed for it: a rainbow with birds flying over and the word ‘blessed’ in script lettering and inside the ‘B’ the face of a tiny Baby Jesus. But then I come home at Thanksgiving and find out my mom went and got a tattoo. My mom! She’s, like, 47! Stupid star on her stupid wrist. That’s what ruined tattoos for me, just like she ruined Facebook and twerking.

– Delaney R., 21, junior

“When the biker gangs stopped getting tattoos, that’s when you really got the sense that tattoos had jumped the shark — that and everyone getting tattoos of people actually jumping sharks.”

– Orville R., 26, part-time drummer

“One day I saw this 13-year-old with a tattoo at the back of her neck. I mean, she can’t even see it on herself, so what’s the point? And all I could think of was a parent had to have allowed that, like maybe even took her to get it done. And I was filled with this rage, like when I’m at the mall and I see parents at the earring kiosk puncturing their screaming toddler’s ears. But worse than that? An entire generation with ‘One Direction 4EVR’ across their backs. Or whatever the kids are listening to these days. PrettyMuch? Never heard of them.”

– Rob L., 36, sports memorabilia trader

“For me, I knew it was over when Jared Kushner tattooed ‘YOLO’ on his ankle.”

– Shannon A., 24, unemployed

People just ran out of ideas. The whole point of a tattoo is to express your individuality, but there was nothing fresh anymore. All the flowers had been taken, every astrological sign, every piece of hardware and cartoon character, infinity symbols to infinity. Even the texts had proven unsatisfying. I mean, no one actually was being the change they wanted to see in the world, you know?

– Delores S., 28, retired tattooist

“There was a real tattoo fatigue. Like it was an obligation. Like getting a tattoo was the same as giving blood or renewing your insurance. Clients would come in, and you knew right away their heart wasn’t in it. They’d spend, like, an hour flipping through the design books, and finally they’d say, ‘You know what? Just, whatever.’ I started doling out Chinese script like it was 2004, and when I was done, I’d ask, ‘Don’t you even want to know what it says?’ ‘Nah,’ they’d say, and they’d be gone. By the end, I was just tattooing signs from the windows of Chinese groceries like ‘Discount Lamb Chops’ or ‘No Spitting.’

– Gary E., 32, former tattoo shop manager

“There were also market-driven forces in play. Everyone who was ever possibly going to get a tattoo had got their tattoo. It was only a matter of time. And the true tattoo enthusiasts at this point had 80% coverage, and that’s about maximum coverage, unless you shave your head, and not everyone can pull that off.”

– Melissa M., 51, sociologist

“People used to warn you that tattoos were permanent. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. But if you chose wisely, thoughtfully, what could go wrong, right? Well, a few years ago, a friend of mine got the face of Morgan Freeman tattooed on her shoulder. Now there’s a cautionary tale.”

– Joan R., 31, accountant

“It’s something else to blame on us Millennials, I suppose. Like, you know, do I really want to commit?”

– Doug H., 26, temp

“Business just tailed off. The hipster dude market dried up when they realized they could achieve the same effect with man buns and kombucha. As for the women, well, a shop like mine can only rely on drunken bachelorette parties for so long.”

– Steve O., 43, tattoo parlour owner

“The last tattoo I ever did, this guy walked in off the street, rolled up his shirtsleeve and asked me to ink gravel.”

– Gary E., 32, former tattoo shop manager

“And then that was it: no more tattoos. It was over. There was sadness, sure, but in a way, there was a lot of relief.”

– Amy B., 25, aspiring actress

“Culturally, it was always a foregone conclusion that tattooing as a trend was, ironically, not permanent. But there will always be new trends. I hear that voluntary amputation is going to be huge.”

– Melissa M., 51, sociologist

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Posted in Never Happened | Tagged , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Hell is sober people

Having consumed my entire life’s quota of alcohol during the first half of my adult life, I no longer drink at all. Recently, though, I had to attend a work-related reception and dinner in Montreal, and though I did not drink, I couldn’t help imagining how different the evening would have been had I done so. Here, then, is the recap of my experience in Reality vs Alternate Alcohol Universe (AAU).

Reality: Outside the city, on the bus with colleagues who are enjoying an en-route cocktail or two, I send a Snapchat to my wife: my sad face and the caption, “Stuck in traffic and sober.”
AAU: Outside the city, on the bus enjoying an en-route cocktail or two or three, I send a Snapchat to my wife: my grinning face and the caption, “Stuck in traffic, but cheers!”

Reality: We arrive to find the bar area crowded and loud, rendered almost painful by my tinnitus. I make straight for the bar to pour myself a glass of water from a series of bottles sitting there.
AAU: We arrive to find the bar area crowded and loud, and I add to it by greeting co-workers like they are fondly remembered classmates at a high school reunion. I make for the bar to submit the first instalment of the considerable investment I plan to make in alcohol that evening.

Reality: I find a far corner and stand there, nervously sipping my water. I return to the bar for a second glass and discover that some of the bottles contain carbonated water. I predict correctly that this will be the highlight of my night.
AAU: I find a corner and stand there, nervously sipping my drink. I return to the bar for a second one, after which I find a group of people to stand near, nervously sipping my drink. Because I can’t entirely hear what’s being said, I contribute to the ambient noise by laughing loudly in the appropriate places. Also: a third one.

Reality: With some relief, I see that they are no circulating hors d’œuvres. I devote myself to making solid eye contact with the servers.
AAU: I enter a lively discussion about Lebron James, even though we cut our cable in the fall and I haven’t seen a single NBA game this season. I suddenly have strong convictions about Lebron James.

Reality: By now I have checked my phone several times for emails, texts and Scrabble.
AAU: Group selfie!

Reality: I duck into the bathroom for a breather. Also: all that bubbly water.
AAU: I duck into the bathroom for a third time; all that beer.

Reality: Dinner is served. It’s assigned seating. I take my seat.
AAU: Dinner is served. It’s assigned seating. I surreptitiously switch seat tags to sit with someone I know. It’s not surreptitious at all but everyone is too polite to object.

Reality: I’m seated next to a very nice man whom I know a little and whose daughters I also know a little. We chat politely about our children while we wait for the first course.
AAU: I switch to red wine.

Reality: I realize with horror that we have run out of children to talk about and suddenly understand that this is the sole reason some people have such large families.
AAU: I enter into a loud discussion with the person seated across from me on how we are blessed to be living in what is clearly the golden age of beer. The topic somehow touches on Millennials, the decline of shopping malls and Lebron James.

Reality: I embark on deep introspection regarding my fish entrée – peering into my sole, as it were.
AAU: I embark on a quest to obtain by any means possible a second bottle of wine.

Reality: I listen politely to some speeches.
AAU: I point out to my tablemates in barely concealed whispers that the dollop of chocolate mousse on the dessert plate looks exactly like the smiling poop emoji.

Reality: After the meal, I find an empty chair in the reception area and wait for the return bus ride home.
AAU: Sorry; things get a little blurry at this point.

Reality: On the bus, I isolate myself with earbuds and my book to tune out the boisterous reveling in the back of the bus.
AAU: I’m in the back of the bus, singing a bawdy version of “I’m Too Sexy for My Shirt” that is not nearly as hilarious as I think it is.

Reality: I wake up in the morning with regret that I couldn’t be more sociable without the crutch of alcohol.
AAU: Regret.

Posted in It Could Happen... | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

How to make a fake ear and put on a play, not necessarily in that order

1. Audition for a play called Fuddy Meers, the story of a woman who loses all her memories when she goes to sleep and who one morning is taken away by a limping man claiming to be her brother.

2. Land the role of The Limping Man. Congratulations! The Limping Man also lisps, is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. The ear in question is scarred and clumpy.

3. Acquire one (1) pot of modeling putty and one (1) bottle of liquid latex (light flesh).

4. Wait for the other cast members to be rounded up like a gang coming together for one last heist.

5. Meet the 16-year-old girl who will play a 17-year-old boy. Because it’s 2018!

6. Remove a chunk of modeling putty and soften slightly by kneading it. Do not microwave!

7. Discover that the play has a lot – a lot! – of bad language, including one word in particular that you can’t bring yourself to say. Because it’s 2018. Negotiate which words will stand and which ones go too far.

8. Worry that your audience is going to have far different standards vis-à-vis words that go too far.

9. Flatten modeling putty into a rough C shape. Place the putty inside the shell of your ear.

10. While holding putty in place with one hand, use Q-tip to apply a coat of latex to the seam between putty and skin.

11. Dry latex with hair dryer.

12. Realize your hair dryer is nowhere handy. Get hair dryer. Repeat steps 10 and 11 until putty stays in place.

13. Begin rehearsals.

14. Lose two actors to serious family crises.

15. Cancel the show.

16. Add smaller pieces of putty around edges of ear and earlobe. Latex into place.

17. INTERVENTION: The producer declares you can’t cancel the show because the script has been paid for, publicity has been issued, it’s the new theatre company’s first production and reputations are on the line. He agrees to step into one of the roles. The stage manager agrees to take on the other role. To give these latecomers some breathing room, the first weekend of the show is canceled and four shows instead of three are scheduled for the second weekend.
18. Pull hair out of wet latex before it dries.

19. What?

20. PULL HAIR OUT OF WET LATEX BEFORE IT DRIES!

21. Oh.

22. Make sure that putty does not block actual ear hole.

23. Carry on with rehearsing, blocking, limping, lisping.

24. Do not worry that the latex and putty look all scarred and clumpy because, remember, your ear is supposed to look all scarred and clumpy.

25. Worry instead that, two weeks before opening, the 16-year-old girl (playing the 17-year-old boy) has suffered a ruptured appendix while in Germany on her school trip.

26. Apply smaller pieces of putty to skin around neck and jaw area to accentuate scarring effect. Add latex. Do not latex eyeball.

27. Note also that the 16-year-old’s mother is the former stage manager, now in the cast, and of course beside herself with worry.

28. Carry on. With your makeup, that is, until desired effect is achieved.

29. Pinch and shape latex/putty combo to create texture.

30. Repeat makeup procedure prior to every rehearsal/performance.

31. Find a 50-something man who can learn lines quickly to play the 17-year-old boy, rationalizing that the play is all about disorientation anyway, so, yeah, get it…?

32. Carry on. With rehearsals that is.

33. Practice taking off the ski mask in Scene 1 to make sure you don’t accidently rip off fake ear and inadvertently suggest to audience that the limping, lisping man also has leprosy.

34. Discover that, from the audience, your ear doesn’t look quite ghastly enough. Add red makeup to latex/putty to accentuate ghastliness.

35. Carry on performing even when fellow actor bursts out laughing when you remove the ski mask and she sees how ghastly your ear is.

36. Open your show.

37. Be happy that 16-year-old former castmate is well enough to attend opening night.

38. Discover that audiences will support local theatre, no matter how unusual the play or how difficult the process, which they’ll have no clue about anyway, if all goes well.

39. Discover that people will laugh at bad words that go too far.

40. Pick latex out of your hair for the next two weeks.

More pics here: https://www.facebook.com/newportdispatch/posts/867850286750012

Posted in Reading? Ugh! | 19 Comments

What I wore to the Met Gala

“The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night and this year’s theme was ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.’… Rihanna wore a papal crown and cape designed by Margiela. Katy Perry wore 6-foot angel wings.” – CNN.com, May 7, 2018

Having been raised Protestant in a very Catholic town, it was difficult for me to decide what to wear to the Met Gala, whose theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The only thing I remember those Catholics imagining was, “Hey, let’s get that skinny Protestant kid.” But maybe that was more in keeping with next year’s theme: “Fashion and the Protestant Persecution Complex.”

Thankfully, just like the other famous, beautiful guests, I didn’t have to think at all. That’s what we have designers for. And so I called up my second-favourite designer, Poncello Ribisquik. (My favourite designer, Corsagie, went into hiding in January after he was accused of sexually harassing several bolts of fabric, although if you ask me the #mesew movement has gone too far.)

“Poncello,” I chirped (I was in a chirping mood), “Ponchy, baby, I need you to whip up something ornate but spiritual, humble but gaudy, tasteful but hinting at stigmatic bleeding. Can you do that for me, you wonderful polyamorous needle-bobbin you! You diaphanous feather duster!”

I heard Poncello pause on the phone. Then he took a deep breath, cleared his throat and said, “Who is this?”

Once we got that straightened out and I demonstrated my ability to procure payment in unmarked bills, we began brainstorming.

“I see webbing, I see gauze,” he blue-skied. “I see metal, I see jade.”

“I see London, I see France,” I spitballed.

“I see purple papal pants!” he postulated.

We work so well together, he and I, and unlike Corsagie, in my experience Poncello has always been nothing but respectful to linen.

“I want it to be classical in its beauty yet almost too painful to look at due to its great sadness and the tragic weight of regret,” I weighed in.

“Like Melania Trump!” Poncello conjectured.

“Eureka!” I blurted.

(An aside: how, you must be wondering, moving your lips as you think in that adorable but ultimately unflattering way of yours – how did I procure an invitation to the most exclusive celebrity fashion event of the year? And why am I so fond of the word “procure”? It’s quite simple, really: this year’s gala was co-hosted by Amal Clooney, I’m the only person who can properly shave George Clooney’s back, and voila!)

I won’t go into detail about the hours of planning and child labour that went into my outfit. And it’s best left unsaid the environmental impact, not to mention the decimating illnesses introduced into indigenous populations. Such is the price of art, religion and getting your photo in The Times.

Instead, I’ll let the results speak for themselves – except for the right kneepad, which speaks in the voice of Ian McKellen reciting the Book of Leviticus. But as Moses said to the kid collecting shells during the parting of the Red Sea, that’s not important right now.

The final product was reminiscent of the famous tunic St. Polycarp wore in AD 124 during the final episode of “Smyrna’s Got Talent,” except instead of sackcloth it was made entirely of reflective tape, gold leaf and silver-plated juice boxes. Over this, I wore a flowing garment encrusted with jewels. Was it a robe? Was it a gown? Was it agape? Yes it was, momentarily, which was embarrassing for both me and that poor woman at the bus stop.

My shins were encased entirely in ostrich feathers, because nothing says “Catholic imagination” quite like ostrich feathers.

In my arms, I carried a baby, representing the infant Jesus, and that baby carried an even smaller baby, representing an even tinier infant Jesus. Poncello wanted the smaller baby to hold a smaller baby still, but I told him I didn’t want to look ridiculous. Poncello flew into a rage. What that rage was doing there, I have no idea.

Halo? Do you even have to ask?

But the highlight was the eight animatronic cherubs attached to long, flexible poles strapped to my back so that they hovered above me singing an angelic version of “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

I was truly fabulous, a showstopper. But when I got to the Met, I saw that Ariana Grande was wearing the exact outfit. Horrors! So I scurried back to my hotel, put on sweatpants and watched “American Pickers” for six straight hours. My sweatpants were also encrusted.

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Meet the pets

Over the years, I have frequently referenced the many pets that have roamed this house, not always in a flattering light. Not ever in a flattering light. Sometimes you can’t even see the light because it’s blocked by too many pets.

This has been somewhat unfair of me and may have contributed to a general societal prejudice against pets, because, as with humans, nothing demonizes a group more than depicting them as a single faceless entity who lick themselves and poop in the basement.
Consequently, I would like to introduce you to the current roster of animals living under our roof.

Bella – dog
Bella is part Lab, part moron. She came to us from a litter just up the street. “Litter” is an appropriate word here because Bella loves garbage. If we don’t put the garbage can on the kitchen table when we go out, Bella will tip it over. The thing is, we compost most of our food. There’s not much in there but sharp tin lids and those meat diapers they use to line styrofoam butcher trays, so Bella is nothing if not optimistic. Also “Meat Diapers” is the name of my punk rock band.

Bella is almost 10 now and is starting to slow down, but she still gets super excited when we come home, as if she hasn’t seen us in weeks – wiggling, moaning with delight, licking and jumping. I’ll enjoy this while it lasts because I know from experience with marriage that this behaviour usually stops sometime around year 11.

Positive: warms my feet; non-judgemental.
Negative: barks at pedestrians/temperature fluctuations; noisy eater; steals my chair

Nellie – cat
One of the triplets temporarily fostered from the SPA as kittens and then retained permanently because of their adorableness, which is a sneaky, dirty trick, SPA! Nellie used to be my least not-favourite because she was so friendly. She’d look you in the eye, and if you meowed at her, she would talk back. So cute. Now I wish she’d just shut up. Probably this is because what she’s actually saying is, “Clean my butt!” Nellie is obese, too obese to properly clean herself, and each morning, after she drags her rear across the floor, leaving dubious streaks, she follows us to the bathroom, meowing aggressively, because that’s where we keep the baby wipes. Yup, and then we use the baby wipes. She likes it, a little too much if you ask me.

Positive: always willing to cuddle on lap
Negative: always leaving dubious streaks on lap

Ollie – cat
Ollie is the cat equivalent of the classic middle child. She’s average weight with no really distinctive colourings. She’s friendly enough but pretty much keeps to herself (i.e. leaves me alone). Sometimes I forget about her entirely. So clearly she is now my least not-favourite.

Positive: the only non-overweight cat
Negative: must have a tapeworm

Polly – cat
Polly is the reason I don’t get a good sleep. A couple of times a night, fat Polly will come bounding onto our bed, springboarding off my sleeping body to get to my wife’s side, where she will burrow in as close as possible to her head and snore loudly. She bounds past me because she knows she’s not welcome on my side. In fact, I can just glare at her and she backs away. This is called chemistry. Like ammonia and bleach.

Polly thinks she’s being friendly, but she’s a complete boor, just barging in, sticking her claws into you to get on your lap, not taking no for an answer, loud, smelly. She’s like Donald Trump, except in this case the pussy grabs you.

Positive: when she jumps up and hangs from the door screen and then has to be unlatched by a human, that’s good comedy
Negative: pretty much everything else

The Boys – cats
Lincoln and Chandler belong to our daughter Katie, but we’re temporarily taking care of them, and by “temporarily” I mean probably forever. The boys don’t make a lot of demands, they eat reasonably, are friendly without being needy and seem to understand that they need to earn their keep through occasional cuteness. In fact, the majority of our communications with Katie are just Snapchats of her boys snuggling together.
Positive: don’t ravenously devour every scrap of cat food put before them
Negative: the girls eat their leftovers = fatter cats = more baby wipes

I hope this gives you a better idea of the pets we live with and also a handy list of suspects after I fatally trip over one of them while walking down the stairs.

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , | 43 Comments

Cranky Poems for a Late Spring

Song for Municipal Workers
There are potholes aplenty just outside my house,
Some big as a manhole, some small as a mouse,
One shaped like the head of my dear cousin Klaus.
They came by to patch them last week.

By “them” I mean every third hole, it would seem,
For many weren’t patched by the hole-patching team,
Perhaps due to some diabolical scheme
To make my car’s shocks bang and creak.

Were they called away super-quick, called away fast
To patch up a leak in some iron pipe (cast),
Some logical reason this job was half-assed?
Lord, give me the answers I seek.

Why is one half-filled, the other half not?
Is shortage in asphalt some evil world plot?
Should they not have been filling at all but got caught?
Perhaps they had patched past their peak.

There are potholes aplenty still there on my street,
All pockmarked and crumbled, not looking so neat.
Perhaps they’ll return and this process repeat;
If they don’t fill them all, I will freak.

 

Haiku #1
Smiles at winter’s end
Quickly fade at awful site:
Oil truck in driveway

 

Upon Hearing a Four-Wheeler While Walking
I see thee not defiling these woods,
Yet hear thee o’er the lilting breeze,
The squelching o’ my dusky boots,
And in the branch of wakening trees
Out-voicing chortling birdsongs lush.
And to mine ears, thou soundeth thus:

“MMRRRRRRRRRRR—
GRRRWWWWWWW—
NUNGH! NUNGH! NUUUNGH!
MMMRRRRRRRRRRAGGGGHH!!!”

Whilst burbling melt-fed creeks revive,
And merry sun sloughs winter’s wear,
I know thou shalt on my path swerve,
My walking blessed through bylaw’s care;
You, not so much.

And when your passing comes to pass,
With mauling wheels and stenching gas,
Whilst scaring man and beast alike
And ringlet girl upon her trike,
When we two meet, shall I avail
To block thy path upon this trail?
Shall I curtail what ruins thus
This perfect spring day’s gloried hush?
Will I not say, ignoble fiend:

“I’M CALLING THE COPS,
YOU NOISE-POLLUTING,
GAS-WASTING,
NO-GOOD
JERK!”

Probably not.

But I shall glare, O unkind sir!
Oho, believe me, I shall glare!

 

Haiku #2
Glimpse of melting snow
Sunlit pile in the back yard
Oh look: a dog turd

 

Spring Colours
Everything is brown
Everything is brown
Everything is brown
Everything is brown
Everything is brown
But sometimes grey


Ode to April

I’m hot I’m cold I’m cold I’m hot
It’s sometime sneakers, sometimes not
Forget my scarf and curse my luck
Then lose a sandal in the muck

It’s snow for breakfast, sleet for lunch
And then it rains and rains a bunch
The sun bursts forth at four o’clock
In bed I need an extra sock

I’m blinded by the blowing dust
I cannot seem to quite adjust
To April’s schizophrenic ways
Thank God that May is days away

Posted in It Really Did Happen! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

What, me Murray? or how Mad made me

There is very little that remains from my youth, least of all my youth. I still have the vinyl records that I purchased until succumbing to the folly of cassette tapes more suited to my transient lifestyle. (Cassettes are gonna make a comeback, I tell ya!) Then there are my university English Lit books, because you never know when you’re going to want to curl up with a good Medieval drama.

But buried in a drawer are possessions I’ve had probably longer than anything else: my Mad magazines.

There are only a handful left. I used to have years’ worth, but somewhere along the way the bulk succumbed to the ravages of time and spring cleaning.

The ones that remain are frayed and torn, mostly without their covers. The oldest is from 1975 and features a spoof of That’s Entertainment called “What’s Entertainment?” complete with song parodies by Frank Jacobs and uncanny celebrity likenesses by Mort Drucker. There are also regular features by Don Martin, Dave Berg, Sergio Aragones and “the usual gang of idiots.”

This issue probably belonged to an older brother, but later I had my own subscription. That kept going until about 1982 when I moved on to a cooler, more mature subscription to Rolling Stone.

I don’t have any of my old Rolling Stones.

I’m also not a rock writer. Nor am I particularly cool or mature. Instead, I’m a grown adult man who last week wrote a joke built around the word “beaver.” And not for the first time.

So we now know who to blame for this.

It’s true that Mad had a big influence on me. I grew up in a small town with one cinema and two TV channels – at least in our house. Cable was the stuff that dreams were made on. We didn’t have Saturday morning cartoons. Instead, we had Saturday evenings and “The Bugs Bunny Show,” with its madcap anvils and gravity-defying mayhem, an influence in its on right.

But Mad offered a glimpse at the culture that was happening outside my sheltered, small-town world. Not just a glimpse but a funhouse mirror view – distorted, strange yet recognizable.

I’ve never seen Dog Day Afternoon but I know it through “Dum Dum Afternoon.” I’ve never seen A Star is Born, but I can tell you what happens from “A Star’s a Bomb.” Long before I saw Apocalypse Now, I knew what to expect from “A Crock o’ [BLIP!] Now.”

Mad exposed to me to shallow disco culture, shoddy products, corrupt politicians, The Lighter Side of Grooming. I learned what “planned obsolescence” meant. My brother and I discovered to our endless amusement that when a boob pops out of a bra, it goes “POIT!” (God bless you, Don Martin.)

And weirdly, for a 10- to 15-year-old, I learned the names of the writers and artists. Al Jaffee was a genius. Jack Davis was the bridge between the cartoonishness of Don Martin and the realism of George Woodbridge. To be honest, I paid less attention to the writers, but the writing itself I could count on to skewer everything in its path. And that’s what I took away from Mad magazine – nothing was sacred.

As much as I liked Mad in the 70s, what I truly loved were the special issues, the ones with the reprints of original EC comics from the 50s – “Superduperman,” “Starchie,” “Melvin of the Apes.” These had nothing to do with my current culture. Instead, I was enthralled by the lunatic artwork by the likes of Wally Wood and Bill Elder, with tossed-off gags crammed in every pane. There was no bit of insanity that couldn’t be made more insane, like the ever-changing emblem on Superduperman’s chest (“Good Housekeeping,” “100% Wool,” “For Rent”).

I thought, “I can do this!” And that’s why I decided to become… a cartoonist. But then I discovered I was untalented. (I still have my old cartoon journals too.) Words, however, I could manage, and words could be as flexible as images. Plus there was never a need to draw eyeballs.

Of course, not everyone who grew up reading Mad became a humorist, and no doubt there are many influences that led me to where I find myself – having written a weekly humour column in The Sherbrooke Record for 14 straight years and other places for most of my adult life.

These days we live in Kibitz Nation, where everything’s a joke and comedians come (as Mad magazine described itself) “cheap.” By comparison, the humour of those old Mads is positively quaint. So why do I keep them around?

Maybe it’s to remind myself why I do this, that, like Mad magazine, I still might help someone see the world differently, thanks to humour in a jugular vein.

Posted in It Really Did Happen!, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments