Your Maintenance Light Is On

The maintenance light on my Honda Accord went on this morning.  It says, “B12.”

I looked up what “B12” means in my owner’s manual.  It says I have to get my tires rotated.

So each of my tires has to get moved to a new place on my car.  My front left tire will go to the back right.  My front right to the back left.

I’m thinking we should do this with relatives.

You will get mine.  I will get yours.

All the same rationales for tire rotation apply to relatives.

For example, tire rotation is necessary because some tires are forced to carrier heavier loads than others.  So are some families.

Tire rotation is necessary because otherwise the extra stress can cause your tire to fail prematurely.  So can some relatives.

This will even everything out.

Those of us who have beset by relatives that are big pains in the ass will be temporarily relieved.  Those of you with okay families will learn to appreciate what you had.

We will all wear evenly.

Hope you like my cousin Josh.

The Culinary Delight I Call My Keyboard

I am staring down at my Mac keyboard pondering what to write.  And I am distracted.

Distracted because the sides of the keyboard are clear.

And I can’t help noticing one thing:

There is more food under those keys than there is in my cupboard.

I suppose I should be disturbed.  But all I can think is that if there’s is widespread famine in this country, I could suck the Cheese-puff remnants out of my keyboard for days.

There is comfort in that.

Et tu, old man?

I don’t like to leave my house.  People are out there.

But yesterday I looked out my front window and saw a huge fallen tree branch lying on our lawn near the sidewalk.  I walked outside to see what tree it had broken off from.  I was not wearing shoes.

As I was standing there, an old man came walking down the sidewalk.  He was very frail and walked extremely slow.

I stepped off the sidewalk to let him pass.  I nodded hello.

He stopped and looked down at me feet.

“Do your feet hurt?” he asked.

I looked down at my bare feet that were now standing in the dirt so this elderly man could pass.  I thought it was touching that he cared enough to ask.

“I guess so,” I said.

He looked up at me and paused before replying.


I’m never leaving my house again.

The Book That Will Change Your Life is Here

At long last, the next Pearls Treasury is now available.  You can buy it in stores or HERE on Amazon.  It has my commentary below many of the strips, and also contains a number of previously unpublished strips.  Plus, it contains my first-ever published drawing (It’s not good, but hey, I was only 12).

The book is guaranteed to change your life.

And by change your life, I mean you will have $16.99 less in your pocket after you buy it.

Here is the cover:

sells out cover

The Controversy That Wasn’t

I’ve always wanted to get Pearls on TV.

Just not this way.

The strip in question is yesterday’s, and the panel in question is this one, which you can see here:

pb090811 (happy box 2)

Apparently, certain readers think they see the “f” word appearing twice in this panel.  Personally, I can’t see it, and I know it was not in the strip as I created it.  The only thing I can think of is that the way in which certain newspapers compressed the strip resulted in the “f” word appearing.  If you are readers of either the St. Louis Post Dispatch or the Fayetteville Observer or any other newspaper with similar compression techniques, perhaps you can confirm that.

As I told the editor of the Post Dispatch, there are plenty of times where I do things that merit legitimate criticism.  I just don’t want to waste one of those opportunities on something I didn’t do.

Maybe it’s one of those “Magic Eye” things, those popular paintings where if you squint your eyes hard enough and long enough and “look through” the painting, certain images appear.

I never could see those images.

And I can’t see this one either.

Chickens, Asses and Garage Doors

There are chickens in my garage.

There are six of them.  They are young.  And they are in a cardboard box.

My wife Staci put them there.  I do not know what she is doing.  I fear it’s some strange, middle-age thing.  I will have to buy a medical book and see if women who turn forty start collecting chickens in their garage.

All  I know right now is this:  It is disorienting to be confronted by live chickens when you leave the house in the morning.  Granted, they are in a box and they are small.  But I know they are watching me.

And it’s a bad sign.

A bad sign because when we first got married, there was romance in our lives.  Now there is livestock in our garage.

I do not want to open the garage door tomorrow.  I fear I’ll find a donkey.

I bring all this up now because this morning I backed into the garage door.  Hit it with my car as I was driving out.  I’ve never done that before.

I am certain it was the fault of the chickens.  I think one of those chicks flew across the garage as I backing out and pushed the little garage door button on the wall.  Probably showing off.  I’m sure it got a big laugh from the other chicks.

Staci’s claiming chickens can’t fly.  So I looked it up on Wikipedia and it says they can fly, just not long distances.  Now we’re debating whether the distance from the front of our garage to the back is a “long distance.”

This afternoon we fought over it.  I yelled the line from above about finding a donkey when I walk into the garage tomorrow.  She replied, “Then we’d have two asses in the garage.”

That was a pretty good line.

Next week’s our anniversary.

I think I’ll buy her a garage door.

There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

My wife Staci doesn’t ask me to do many things.  She’s says I’m more trouble than it’s worth.

I don’t know what that means, but on Sunday she asked me to go to Walmart to get her photos and to pick up a metal bracket for a filing cabinet.

I didn’t know what a “metal bracket for a filing cabinet” was, so she showed me by opening the drawer of our filing cabinet.  They’re the metal bars that the hanging files hang from.

I asked her if you had to buy the hanging folders with the metal bracket and she said no.  But, I added, if you DO have to buy the hanging folders, did she still want me to buy the metal bracket?  Sure, she said.

So I got in my car, but stopped in the driveway.  Then I called the house on my cell phone.

“Where are you?” she said.

“I’m still in the driveway.”

“Why are you calling?”

“The pictures,” I said, “What name are they under?”

“Pastis.  What other name would they be under?”

“Could be Staci,” I said.

“They’re under Pastis.”

“Okay,” I said.

I hung up.

Halfway to Walmart, I called back.

“What?” she said.

“I forgot to ask — Do I have to pay for the photos or did you already pay for them online?”

“I told you, I paid for them online.”

“I don’t think you said that.”

“I did.  Is there anything else?”

“No.  But I really don’t think you said that.”

“Fine.  Anything else?”

“Yeah,” I said, “Do you know what aisle the metal brackets are in?”

“Just past the school supplies.  Is that it?”

“And the photo counter?”  I added.

“From the aisle with the brackets, just walk straight toward the back of the store.”

I got to the store and parked.  I walked to the aisle she told me to walk to.

There were no metal brackets.

I called Staci.

“They’re not here.”

“Did you ask someone?” she asked.


“Ask someone.”

I hung up the cell phone.  I asked someone with a little blue vest where the metal brackets that go in file cabinet drawers were.  They didn’t know.

I called Staci.

“They don’t know.”

“Fine.  Get the pictures.  You can at least do that.”

I found the photo counter.  I asked for the photos.  The lady in the blue vest asked me some questions.  I didn’t know the answer to any of them.

I called Staci.

“The lady here wants to know how long ago you submitted the photos.   I just told her you did it online.”

“Last week,” she said.

“Last week,” I told the lady in the blue vest.

She found the photos.  I looked at them.  There was some strange border around each photo.

They looked bad.

So I called Staci.

“The photos have some strange border that looks like white paint flecked everywhere.”

“I know.  I picked it.”


“I liked it.  Are you coming home now?”

“Yeah,” I said.

Driving away from the Walmart, I noticed an Office Depot in the same shopping complex.  I called Staci.

“What??” she said.

“There’s an Office Depot in the same parking lot as the Walmart.  You want me to check and see if they have the metal bracket things?”

“Alright.  Fine.”

I parked at the Office Depot.  It was closed.

I called Staci.

“It’s closed.”

She made a strange sound.

“You sound angry,” I said.

“Stephan…Come home.  The kids want dinner.”

“You want me to pick something up?” I asked.

She paused.

I heard a deep sigh, like the kind therapists tell their anger-management patients to take before punching someone.

“Fine.  They want five crunchy tacos and two beef chalupas.”

“Okay,” I said, “I can remember that.”

I hung up.

I called back.

“Where‘s Taco Bell?”