Fear Gas

Dear Friday,

Wednesday asked me to write to you, since Wednesday is struggling a bit with some difficult life circumstances but we both feel that cartoons need to rise above our personal challenges.

I think we are all experiencing our own individual psychic breaks during these times— or is it just me?

Funny thing is, where I live it is verdant and peaceful at the moment. Spring is lush and fresh. The people in my community are rational and caring, for the most part, and our government is dealing with this health crisis responsibly and armed with facts. We are safe, my family is safe. We see friends from a cordial distance, and we zoom with family.

But how can anyone not be distressed at witnessing the collapse of a society that was once a beacon of democracy (however flawed), a world leader and influencer, a country full of contradictions that were inspiring and bold and infuriating? I lived in the US for many years, I have an affinity for the place despite its fumbling tolerance of the intolerable. American people are nice.

I understand what prayer is now. Even in a godless world, it is a fervent hope for change. Hope, we are learning, is not quite enough. We need to act.

Without further ado, here are some cartoons that reflect my distress in the only way possible to cope—- with dark humour, but followed by an image of a cute baby animal, just for balance.

cartoon bible

 

cartoon enablers

 

cartoon fear gas

 

piglet


Be kind.

~~FP

Endangered Species

bumblebee bat2

Please please may I have my own bumblebee bat?
Who would perch like an angel on the rim of my hat,
And flutter and fly and scare my dog, Nat,
That I’d cuddle and spoil and pet like a cat,
And save from his vanishing Thai habitat,
Cause endangered he’d love my cramped little flat,
Where I’d feed him cold mozzies and warm butterfat,
…or should I just get a turtle and leave it at that?

Bumblebee Bat

Bad Goldfish

Prompt: Unrelated


Hello Wednesday,

As summer approaches we get busier here in tiny town, with gardening, watching fish mate, visitors, making up species names for birds, wondering what “that smell” is, mentally putting out forest fires, and treating sunburn. It is a magical time of year.

We are thinking of getting a puppy. There is a local farm litter of chubby creatures of unknown lineage, and a couple of shepherd/ lab puppies now available at a local SPCA. Life is so easy and peaceful without a puppy, dear Wednesday, so I’m of two minds. My brain is split. My heart wants a cuddly fur ball, but my muscles, joints, and sleep centre all scream ARE YOU SURE?

Decades ago I did this: I woke up in the morning and noted that I felt cheerful enough to hum a random song, that it was supremely easy to propel myself out of bed, that I felt healthy, fit, alert, awake, energetic, and optimistic about the day ahead. I wondered if that moment would be worthy of a spot in my memory. It was a worthy thought. I appreciated, even if for just a fleeting moment, my youth and vigour, and as I now am greeted each morning with bizarre little aches, pains, random bumps, vague mental lapses, and a desire for a puppy, at least I have that vivid sense memory of a time when my body sang, even if my brain was annoying and juvenile.

The saddest thing in the world: a lone duck or Canada goose gliding across the lake,  obviously looking for a missing mate. Also puffins washing up on shore starved to death because global warming has caused their food fish to flee to colder waters further north. Today I recycled a wax milk carton, so I’m part of the solution.

Before I go and peel an orange, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons of no particular theme?

cartoon switch on

cartoon reserved table

cartoon bad goldfish


Love, peace, and happy memories.

~~FP

Think of the Ways [Repost]

Prompt: School

child poster pollution

Yes, children: Help the world. Think of the ways. Walk more. Don’t litter. Plant a tree. Recycle your pop cans. If you don’t, everything will die and we will all choke to death. Including puppies.

Something about the way we teach ecology to children rankles. They can be worked into a frenzy over juice boxes. Taught to fear asphyxiation if parents idle their cars beside the school waiting for the final bell. Are willing to pick a square of cellophane out of a garbage bin for the sake of recycling.

Why so much pressure on the kids, when the greater reasons for life-threatening, world-ending pollution rest in the hands of the polluters and the politicians who enable and bless them?

Certainly every little bit helps. It is important to recycle, to value trees and plants, to be aware that small changes add up.

But I don’t remember, as a child, being unable to sleep because the glaciers are melting, or having a panic attack when a juice box ends up in the trash can. Guilt and hopelessness make us panic and give us insomnia. Let’s stop loading the responsibility for a clean future, if we have a future, on six year olds.

Let’s teach them a little bit about ethics and civics. Give them relevant information that allows them to assess choices in the products they use. Let them understand the power of the consumer and of the vote and, yes, even of peaceful resistance.

Children aren’t stupid. I’ve worked with children and they constantly floored me with their wisdom and common sense. Let’s arm these children, sensibly and without terror, with the tools they need to face a real crisis and transform a future that is not as bright as it should be, or as bright as they deserve.


Original Prompt: Atmospheric, November 18, 2017

The Night of the Planets [Repost]

Prompt: Faith
Original Prompt: Awe, June 23, 2016

saturn

Some people think that I dreamed the whole thing, but I know it really happened.

I live in Arizona, U.S.A., in a suburb way south of a city called Scottsdale. Houses in this “community” are small and cheap, and many of them still lie empty, with dead palm trees glued to the soil in front of the door. In the winter, a few more neighbors appear, but not many, and they leave again in spring.

My abode has two small bedrooms and a small wall-enclosed garden. Beyond the low walls are other small gardens belonging to other house dwellers. The project was originally gated; now the gate stands permanently open. I put a splash pool in the middle of the garden, which has no plants, for my dog, Poopy. That is a play on words, of the famous dog, “Snoopy”. My garden gets morning sun, so the water is too warm for Poopy to play in until early afternoon. I bring out a pitcher of ice cubes to help cool it down. Poopy splashes around in it like a toddler. It is strange to watch.

The kitchen has a fancy fridge that makes ice cubes. The fridge came with the house. All I really needed to buy was a TV set, which I got at Walmart, a ninety minute drive south-east. It is a Samsung 30″ flat screen and I mounted it on the wall.

There are no grocery stores, restaurants, or shops of any kind within an hour’s drive. There is a Texaco gas station, though, which stocks Lay’s Potato Chips and Pepsi, if I ever get desperate.

I was born in Wisconsin, so I am technically a “cheesehead”. My father still lives there, at least he used to; I believe he is on the road, looking for me.

Yes, I am a taker of drugs. I have some pain without them. I also enjoy recreational drugs. In the community of empty box houses in the desert south of Scottsdale, there is not much else to do. I take my medication, smoke a little weed, sometimes talk to Facebook friends on the Internet. They are not real friends, since I call myself Jody Marx, which is not my real name, and in Facebook I live in California. But it is fun to talk to other people. It could be that their Facebook feed is false too. Who knows?

I walk Poopy early in the morning and late at night. If I drive to Scottsdale or Walmart, he comes with me in the car. The car has air-conditioning.

Poopy and I decided to drive south and take a few detours, just to see what we would find. I always pack a cooler of water, just in case, and sometimes some beer. I have a cell phone, but no guarantees that I will have reception.

On our exploration drive, we ended up in a place that was so empty it could have been the far side of the moon. Flat and utterly barren in all directions, there was something breathtakingly beautiful about it. I let Poopy loose, and he went a little crazy, running around with his nose to the ground. There was not even a tree or shrub to pee on.

As nightfall approached and it started to cool off, I set up a lawn chair so I could relax and watch the sun set on a perfectly flat horizon. I was hungry, and so was Poopy, so I was going to drive the hour and a half back right after the sun went down.

The stars were out, of course, and there was a winking red light low in the sky that I thought might be Mars. I don’t know much about the planets, just that there are nine of them, and they include Mars, Saturn, and Earth. Sometimes a star fell, and I made a wish. Poopy was curled up beside me on the hard-packed dirt, moody because he hadn’t been fed.

I had to get my jacket out of the trunk of the car, as it gets cold at night sometimes, in the desert.

I must have dozed off just as the sun disappeared. The lawn chair was uncomfortable, but the air was soft and perfectly cool, and the silence was as deep as the silence in the well at my Grandfather’s house, which I fell down when I was nine. That was quiet. This was quiet.

When Poopy barked I opened my eyes and there she was. I don’t know why I call the planet Saturn a “she”. I think actual Saturn might have been a god? And probably male. But “it” was not right and “he” sounded crazy.

She filled the sky with her plump perfect roundness and wide shimmering bands. I thought I was dreaming, sure I did, but I poked Poopy, who was staring too, he stopped barking, and I stood up and walked around a bit, not taking my eyes off the sky, off the beautiful she-planet.

I took my phone out and took a picture. I went to the trunk of the car and got out a beer. I sat in the lawn chair again and stared at her.

The thing with me is, I believe my eyes. I believe I saw the planet in the Western sky, Poopy and I both did. I didn’t have anyone to share this information with, not really, so when we got home, after I fed Poopy, I put the news on. There was no mention of it. I called the local TV station and told them what I saw. They listened carefully and thanked me, but they did not put it in their news broadcast. I posted the picture to my Facebook page without comment. It just looked like a blurry planet. I should have included the lawn chair and Poopy in the photo.

I know there are scientific laws, laws of physics and astronomy. I understand that. I also understand that when you stare at a night sky so immense as the one that hangs over our heads all the time, every second, you have to come to realize that there are things beyond our knowledge, beyond explaining, beyond faith or religion, beyond science, beyond our comprehension.

Some people think I was dreaming, but I know what I saw to be true. I wonder if anyone else sees the unseeable sometimes. Who was dreaming that night, who saw what was real, and who refused to see what was in front of their faces?


 

Think of the Ways

Prompt: Atmospheric

child poster pollution

Yes, children. Help the world. Think of the ways. Walk more. Don’t litter. Plant a tree. Recycle your pop cans. If you don’t, everything will die and we will all choke to death. Including puppies.

Something about the way we teach ecology to children rankles. They can be worked into a frenzy over juice boxes. Fear asphyxiation if parents idle their cars beside the school waiting for the final bell. Are willing to pick a square of cellophane out of a garbage bin for the sake of recycling.

Why so much pressure on the kids, when the reasons for life-threatening, world-ending pollution rest in the hands of the polluters and the politicians who bless them?

Certainly every little bit helps. It is important to recycle, to value trees and plants, to be aware that small changes add up.

But I don’t remember, as a child, being unable to sleep because the glaciers are melting, or having a panic attack when a juice box ends up in the trash can. Guilt and hopelessness make us panic and give us insomnia. Let’s stop loading the responsibility for a clean future, if we have a future, on six year olds.

Let’s teach them a little bit about ethics and civics. Give them relevant information that allows them to assess choices in the products they use. Let them understand the power of the consumer and of the vote and, yes, even of peaceful resistance.

Children aren’t stupid. I’ve worked with children and they constantly floored me with their wisdom and common sense. Let’s arm these children, sensibly and without terror, with the tools they need to face a real crisis and transform a future that is not as bright as it should be, or as bright as they deserve.

Rejection

Prompt: Ooze

cell phone new message
Language warning

Wendy was busy that night; in fact she actually did have to wash her hair, having had an altercation with a beehive, a subsequent application of ointments to her scalp, and a seven a.m. shift the next morning.

Colin, who had thought it was time to move beyond the random texting, was not well-pleased by her response.

“You cunt,” he texted. “Your too fat anyway. I was only feeling sorry for you.”

Wendy had a long soak in a hot bathtub, pleased to have clean hair, happy to have avoided a date with Colin, tired and relatively content, until she logged into Facebook, from bed, on her laptop.

“I hope your raped and sodomized by a gorilla,” said the post from Colin Gibbons. She hadn’t known his last name until that moment. His grammar and spelling were below par.

“I know where you live, bitch,” he wrote. “I can see you. My friends wanna fuck you too.

Even though your a fat cow.”

Wendy blocked and banned his account, but not before he posted a picture of a woman performing a sexual act on a donkey.

After work the following morning, the red light on the land line phone blinked, indicating there was a message waiting. She decided not to listen to the message, and deleted it.

She looked out the apartment window and saw a man with a camera. Perhaps he was taking pictures of the building for a rental listing, as she knew several units were coming available at month’s end.

Her cousin Amos called her on her cell, and having checked her on Facebook, asked if she was all right. Wendy burst into tears.

“Don’t tell anyone,” she said, “But I am not all right.”

“Don’t tell anyone?”

“If they know how scared I am, how hurt and demoralized and disillusioned and how much I want to crawl into a dark hole and hide… they would be happy, they win.”

“They? This was Colin Something.”

“Add Louis, Carl, Roger A., and a few others I am trying to forget, and you have a picture of my life since February.”

Amos begged her to be safe, then logged off his phone and set it gently on the counter. Seven threats, seven attacks, since February? It seemed unlikely. Was she being too sensitive? Perhaps she should be a little more careful, a little more diplomatic when she turned a guy down?

Wendy considered deleting her Facebook account, once and for all. She considered avoiding nights out with her friends, or any social engagements where she might meet someone. Maybe she would avoid contact for a little bit. But she vowed not to delete her Facebook account. That would mean they won.


When Women Refuse