Call Now. Operators are Standing By.

Because I am a really really really nice guy, I have signed the final bunch of Pearls books that I will be signing before Christmas.  In each one, I drew either Rat, Pig, Guard Duck, Zebra, Goat, Snuffles, a croc, or me.

In the past, they have sold out rather quick, so if you’re interested, contact THIS bookstore.

And Merry Christmas from me.  The cartoonist with a heart.   (It’s tiny and black like a lump of coal, but still, it beats.)

A Heartwarming Christmas Tale to Read to Your Children This Holiday Season

All I wanted was a sandwich.

I had taken a number at the deli section of the grocery store and I was waiting for it to be called.

That’s when the mother of one of my son’s friends saw me.  I thought about hiding in the bread aisle, but I didn’t want to miss my number being called.

She walked over and started talking.  About her son.  About the basketball league her son is in.  About the coach of that baskeball team.  About the coach of his baseball team.  About how something in some tryout wasn’t fair.  About something something something.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

I didn’t know what to do.

Worse, she took a number, which meant we’d both be waiting together, for what was beginning to feel like the better part of a decade.

I looked down at my clothes to see if I was wearing the shirt that said, “Tell me a whole bunch of boring shit about your personal life.”

I was not.

That’s when the accordion started.

An accordion.

Like war and famine, something that should not exist.

It was a smorgasboard o’ annoyance.

All I was missing now was a swarm of locust.

The accordion was being played by some high school student.  I guess to entertain shoppers.  And I use the word “entertain” loosely, as in “something that makes you want to kill yourself.”

And he was playing a Christmas carol.  At least I assume it was a Christmas carol.  The way he played it was hard to tell.  It could just as easily been “Stairway to Heaven.”

If there is anything worse than listening to a self-absorbed woman talk for ten minutes about her son, it’s doing it to the tune of a high school kid’s accordion.

And it did not stop Mighty Mouth from talking.  It made her talk louder.

“HANG ON ONE SECOND,” she shouted, “I HAVE TO GET A BAG OF CHIPS.”  She walked around the end-cap of the aisle.

I knew that brief window of time for what it was.

A gift from God.  Lo, a miracle.

And I did with it what the Lord himself intended.

I ran.

Right out the front door of the grocery store.

No sandwich.  No nothing.

There was no food on earth worth the sound of that woman’s voice.

On my way out, I glared at the accordion player.  It was rude.  But not as rude as what I wanted to do, which was push him over.  But I didn’t do it, because I knew I was in the midst of carrying out the Lord’s will, and I thought it would be inconsistent to assault someone.

Running from the grocery store, I knew I now had something in common with the little girl from  34th Street.

We both believed in miracles.

Requiem for Smart People

Was at the airport yesterday sitting through a three-hour delay.  I desperately needed a book, so I went to the airport gift shop.

Desperate though I was, there was not one book I could buy.  They were all dumb crime novels or romance novels or mystery novels.

I noticed something else about all their dumb books. All the titles had bumpy letters, the kind you can feel with your fingers.

That is how I know a book is dumb.  If I can feel the title with my fingers.

If you’re not blind and reading Braille, you should not be able to feel the title of your book.

I went back to my seat, bookless.

And noticed everyone around me reading books.

That all had bumpy letters.

I weep.

Please Don’t Feed the Staci Bear

My wife Staci gave me a load of clothes to wash.

She told me to click the “heavy load” button and the “normal colors” button and then pull the little knob out.  As you might tell from the directions, this task did not lie comfortably in my wheelhouse.

Against all odds, the clothes got washed.  She thanked me.

It was a grand success.

That was about six months ago.

Since that fateful day, she has asked me to do it repeatedly.

She no longer thanks me.

Now, the only time I hear from her is if I don’t do it.  Then she gets mad at me.

I conclude from this that when favors are born, they are cute and small and everyone loves them.  Then time passes, and like a group of maturing salmon, they morph into hideously deformed adults called “expectations.”   This is a land where only bad things can happen.  Namely, you die from old age or a bear eats you.

My bear is named Staci.

Like all bears, she can run fast, swim and climb trees, so there is no escaping her.

I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from this:

Never help your spouse.

It’s like feeding the bears.

And it will not end well.