I, Rebel

When I was a kid, tattoos were a mark of rebellion.

You had to be courageous to get one, because they would mark you as different.  They marked you as dangerous.  Unpredictable.  You were Marlon Brando in The Wild One.

Now everyone and their uncle has one.   Tattoos are now as rebellious as a Rotary Club membership.

That is bad.

Because now I am 40 and I want to rebel.  And I have no way to show it.

The conformist masses have robbed me of my renegade symbols.

So I am going to start something new.

Something as dangerous and rebellious and outside the societal norm as tattoos once were.

I’m going to start facing the back wall of elevators.

I will miss my floor at times.

I will be stared at by the squares.

But fuck them.

I’m Marlon Brando.

Staci, the Destroyer of Summers

My wife Staci made me go to another wedding.  This time for one of her cousins.  She has destroyed my summer with these time-sucking monstrosities.

This one was at a golf course.  Under a gazebo.   A hundred feet to the right was a driving range filled with middle-aged guys shanking ball after ball.

I thought that was interesting.

Under the gazebo was one man pledging his everlasting love to his wife.  To his left were twenty trying to escape theirs.

On the other side of the gazebo was a lake.  A male and female mallard floated on its edge.  The male waddled up on shore to watch the proceedings.  Added to the golfers, that made twenty-one males escaping their wives.

Adding to the horror was a harpist.  Every wedding we’ve attended this summer has had a harpist.

I don’t know about you, but I have never bought an album of harp music.  Nor have I ever had someone hand me a CD and say, “Dude, you gotta hear this.  It’s got some great harp.”  There’s a reason for that.  Nobody likes them.

Harps are the only instrument that even when played at their best sound like something you’d hear in an elevator.

I don’t know who first associated harps with heaven.  They should not be.  They are the work of the devil.   They belong in hell.  Or at least purgatory.

Which is pretty close to where I was that hot day sitting between the golfers and the ducks.

So I tried to get my son Tom to look over at the harp.  Not so he would take an interest in it.  But so I could stick my wet finger in his ear.  Which I did.  Causing Staci to hit my hand.

“Stop,” she said, “You’re at a wedding.  Seriously.”

She was right.  I had to stop.  Stop sitting so close to her.

So I scooted my chair six inches out of her range and stuck my finger in Tom’s ear again.

She swung her hand.  And missed.

I had escaped my wife.

That made twenty-two of us.

I Came, I Saw, I Signed

Just stopped by my local Copperfields bookstore in Santa Rosa and signed more Pearls books, as well as some 2010 box calendars.  In each of the books, I also draw a character, usually Rat.  There aren’t a ton of them, so if you want one, you’ll probably need to call soon.  707-578-8938.

Here’s the calendar cover (an unsigned version):

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I think they’re also gonna order a bunch of the new treasury for me to sign.  So if you want one, ask them for it, and next time I go in, I’ll sign them.  The only thing I can’t do is personalize them (complicates matters).

Here’s what the treasury cover looks like:

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Full Frontal Nudity on the Comics Page

Today I showed a frontally-nude woman in my comic and got away with it.  Her nipple is even showing.  Fine, it’s just a dot, but still, you get the idea.

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It’s interesting how the comics work.  Had that been a brand new character named “Hot Nude Woman,” I never in a billion years would have gotten away with it.  Not even close.  But because it’s an established character on the comics page, there has not been a single complaint.

All of this proves that censorship is an unpredictable and fickle beast.

That today I got the better of.

No More Room in the Brain

I forgot my mom’s address yesterday.  Had to fill it out on a form, and I couldn’t remember the name of the street.

Granted, it’s not the house I grew up in, but I did live there for a few summers.

It’s bothering me.

Making matters stranger, I have been working on memorizing a map of Iraq.  I can tell you that Ramadi, Fallujah and Karbala are all near each other on the Euphrates, and that Samarra is north of Baghdad on the Tigris.  And that Mosul is in the far north, and Basra is in the far south.

I’m now thinking that the new information I’m trying to learn is pushing out the old.

Like one more basketball shoved into an already packed upstairs laundry chute, each new ball added to the top is pushing one out into the laundry room.

I shove in a Karbala.  I lose a mom.

So I think I’m going to stop learning.  And stop reading.

Instead, I will spend more time relaxing.

I will sit and eat and talk about meaningless things with relatives.

If I can find their house.