Title: A Cartoon of Myself
Date: 5/26/2000
Posted: 7/4/2001

 

It is hard going through life thinking too much and taking everything so damn serious. I know...I try. As far as I am concerned there is nothing worth doing unless there is a logical purpose and I am guaranteed some type of compensation for my time. I am so guilty of the "What's in it for me?" attitude that I embarrass even myself with my mercenary tendencies. This is not to imply that I am always looking for the angle. I have my selfless moments, but they are usually the result of engaging the manual override button to my narcissism program I came from the factory with. We all have it so don't judge me...Damn It!.

I sometimes think myself comical. This is all together different than thinking I am funny. I know I am funny. I have been blessed with a keen sense of humor but cursed with the inability to control it. It wants to insert itself into every conceivable situation and I usually lose the battle of restraint. Those people that live their lives with me in it either have come to accept me for who I am or have come to terms with the fact that I am a necessary evil. Most people just laugh at me until I go away. This method is quite effective because I invariably will credit myself with being a comic mind and go about my business. Yes, I did say laughing AT me.

Having established the "funny" part I now will try to explain the "comic" part. I used to have a day dream when I was a kid that I would wake up one morning and be a cartoon. Cartoons dominated my viewing habits on television so it would only make sense they would provide much needed material for my imagination. I used to think that short of an endless mountain of Superman Peanut Butter (a product hot in 1984 but fell off the market shelves in 1986) there would be nothing better than living in a cartoon. You need a car? Draw one. Need to fly to Paris and meet with the King of Marshmallow Pies? Draw it. Raining on a Saturday? Erase the rain. Sunny on a test day? Draw some snow. In the limited mindset of a 10 year-old kid, nothing better.

A funny thing happens to a young boy eventually. He grows up. Superfriends not longer hold the keys to life's mysteries and your body mobilizes in a nasty revolt of hormone induced pandemonium. What's worse, the realization of the impossibility of a "cartoon life" settles in and it disappears and with it goes one of the last great escape hatches to a fun dimension. If ever a boy had an immortal enemy ,besides the girl, it is the chemical anarchy of puberty, the awkward stumbling of adolescences, and responsibility-laced adulthood. I fell like all before me as did and continually will those behind me.

I am happy to report that I have in these early years of real life been able to in a way connected with that again. It's a bit different though. My "draw it" tendencies these days would probably involve Ashley Judd, a Roman Empire Bathhouse, and enough Zoloft to make her think I am a god among men, and we all know that ain't gonna happen. Instead I use my cartoon hatch as an avenue of simplistic thought and insightful one-liners. The best thing is I get to be with my dog again. Reality and Science have ganged up with a vicious one-two sucker punch that proves my Meatball Dog is Dead and he ain't comin' back. A little unfair but the truth none the less. In my mind's cartoon, however, I just draw it and he sits on his favorite pink blanket he was buried in and banters with me about the lessons of my time roaming the hallways of adult life. Escape is impossible still. I cannot hug his neck, or take him for a walk but in a silly drawing where I transform into a caricature of myself I at least can connect with a happy moment or memory.

I don't look like the caricature of myself. I have more hair, less of a nose, and a wider composition of available wardrobe, but Cartoon Mike is suppose to be two things and he does them well. He is suppose to be funny (to me) and simple. Funny so I can laugh at myself when I feel me taking it all to seriously, and simple when I feel Real Mike starting to get too worked up over small things that in the grand scheme of human advancement mean nothing.

In case you are wondering....

1) He holds signs because the real Mike talks so much there are no words left for the cartoon world. If it can't fit on the sign it is too wordy and probably overstated

and

2) Meatball doesn't always agree with Cartoon Mike but he loves him and doesn't harbor a grudge for Real Mike having to make the soul-shattering decision to put him to sleep when his illness got too bad.

 

Colorful and witty as they maybe be, it is nothing more than therapy for an over active mind.