Monday, June 13, 2005

How Do You Like Your Cartoon's

How Do You like Your Cartoons?

Ambling Along
by Jay Hudson

I have a confession to make about cartoons. Herman, is the only one I read. In my younger days I read them all. Every single one in the newspaper. I don't know why.
Maybe I read them for entertainment, or maybe just my natural curiosity. I know people read them. If they didn't, newspapers would stop publishing them. I loved the art work mostly, I think. I toyed with the idea of being a artist.

I started reading Herman in the last ten years or so. He kind of morphed on me I think. I just found myself reading it one day, and by the second day I was hooked. I knew that I had found a cartoonist that thought the way I do, at least most of the time.

The cartoonist signed his name, Jim Unger years ago. Now, the signature has changed. I can't tell if it is ' Unger ' or ' Hunger.'

I like the Herman cartoon so much, I started clipping them from the newspaper. What do you do with a clipping that you are proud of? Why, you stick it on the refrigerator, of course. Don't you stick your important stuff up there with those little magnets. My Herman clippings were important.

Pretty soon the fridge was covered. It looked like one big section of newspaper glued to the fridge. Cartoons everywhere. Pretty soon, the other person that lives here with me, started to protest. I wonder if she would have said anything, if I was saving recipes this way.

Now, back to the reason I saved them in the first place. I have such a corny sense of humor that I identify with Herman. He always seems to be in a situation that I have been in. I have to name some of them, and then elaborate a little. I do not mean any offense to anyone with regards to sex, gender, race, wealth, poverty, politics, and especially religion. People get upset very quickly if you don't agree with their politics or religion. Herman seems to be able to cross all these lines, and still make me laugh.

Just recently he was seen trying to carry his bride of at least thirty years, across the threshold again, I suppose for the second time in his marriage. His wife looks back at him and says, " honey, what's the matter? The first time you carried me you didn't struggle so hard." She hasn't weighed in thirty years. No wonder he has trouble carrying her. Ouch!

Here is one that I know all too well. Herman has just applied to a bank officer for a small loan. The bank officer falls out of his chair laughing while reading Herman's loan application. I don't think the banker actually laughed at my application until I was out the door. Now days they have a system perfected. The officer that takes your application will tell you what a wonderful place your bank is and how they are there to serve your financial needs. He will give your application to another loan officer to look over. Sometimes he might even say, "the board will have to approve it." He tells you that the bank will " be in touch with you in a few days to let you know." The second official will mail it to you a few days later marked " insufficient income," or whatever reason they have chosen to deny your loan. That way, everyone avoids an embarrassing situation, and the banks helpful public image is maintained.

Now here are two that fit my Dad and I. My Dad taught me by example in some things. Herman and his wife are shopping. They approach a flea market type vendor who has a display table covered with cheap necklaces, all priced at one dollar each. Mrs. Herman is admiring the beautiful necklaces, when Herman says, " honey, since your birthday is only a few days away, just get a couple, and we'll call them your birthday present." I see my Daddy's sneaky grin everytime I remember that one.

And another one. Our hero is down on his knees looking through the grass. His wife is telling a friend, " Everytime we come here, he gets down there and looks for that quarter he lost here in 1970."

Now that applies to me, and Dad. I went back too many times to mention, to look for a diamond ring that was thrown away somewhere in Rockingham, but I think it was in 1967. Oh, I remember the place all too well, but time has a way of changing the highest mountain, or the flatest meadow. The mountain erodes, and the meadow is full of trees. Never did find that diamond either. I am not saying where it is though. If you want it, get your metal detector and start searching.

I really know the feeling of this one. Our hero is face down in the mail box on the street corner. A policeman walks up, and the wife says, " He decided he didn't want to pay the electric bill after all." I sympathize with him completely. I didn't climb in the mail box to retrieve my payment, but after one memorable electric bill, I wrote on the face of the check in big letters, " Take it, my children and I will manage somehow."

Someone at the electric company must have a good sense of humor. They didn't cut my power off.

The wife is celebrating a different birthday from the one when she got the two dollars worth of necklaces. This time she and my hero are sitting at a table with the birthday candles glowing. She is waiting expectantly for a beautiful surprise present. The man looks at her somberly and says, " Honey, since I didn't have the money to buy you one of those fancy, expensive things you always wanted, I didn't want to hurt your feelings, so I didn't get you anything this year."

The last one was so long ago, that this character must have been related to Herman somehow. I don't remember his name either, but his DNA sure matches Herman. He and the wife were out west on a camping vacation. They had stopped their camper on the roadside so the wife could admire the wildlife she saw. It was a gigantic rattlesnake coiled to strike. The little woman had never seen a snake. She was a city girl, probably from Rockingham or Hamlet. This couple had to be from North Carolina. Her know-it-all husband said, " honey, that's one of those pet snakes like the animal guy on TV was playing with the other day. Go ahead and pet it. It won't hurt you."

Come on man, tell the truth. If you have been married thirty, forty, fifty years, at least once you probably felt like sauing the same thing.
The moral to this story, if there is one, is frugality.

Oh, I don't know about that either. I'll spend my last dollar for a semi-cold Pepsi.
Copyright (c)- 2004- Jay Hudson-All rights reserved. No reproduction or transmission by any means without the expressed written consent of Jay Hudson.

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