Of Course

Prompt: Memory


Hello Wednesday,

Here’s a random memory:

When I was backpacking in Europe, my travel companion and I borrowed/ leased a really terrible car (a lemon of a VW Beetle) for the latter part of our journey. While in Greece, we had to surrender the thing to a garage for some necessary repairs, and this set us back financially. We arranged to have some money sent to Zurich, and to reach the city economically we took on two paying passengers, Richard and Brian.

The car was mechanically sound by now, but a wreck nonetheless. The driver’s side door had been struck by a motorcyclist and could no longer be opened. The driver’s seat had come off its rails so needed a person in the rear seat to brace their knees against it for stability so the driver wouldn’t be flung backward. The passenger side door wouldn’t securely close, so once we were all seated inside it was tied shut by a length of twine. The gas gauge and reserve tank did not function and we were constantly running out of gas in the middle of nowhere (once in the country on the opening day of hunting season– scary). The heater was constantly blasting, and the windshield wipers didn’t work at all.

Brian lasted as far as Rome, where he bolted in horror never to be seen again. Richard persisted. He was a sentimental, horny fellow from Rhode Island, USA, who once, at our request, drew a map of Canada that looked like a pizza. He was a bit of a health nut, and kept a biscuit tin of vitamins and supplements, plus aspirin and other OTC remedies that he had simply emptied out of their bottles into the tin. It was a colourful if daunting melange of meds of different sizes and shapes, but Richard could confidently identify each one.

This was fine until we reached the Swiss border. We were selected, perhaps because of our rather scruffy appearance, to have our luggage searched. They also took apart the poor beleaguered VW Beetle. And of course they found Richard’s stash of unlabelled pills.

The put the car back together (without fixing anything, alas) and cheerfully told my friend and I we could carry on, but Richard and his biscuit tin were suspect and he would be detained at least overnight. Richard was aghast and panicked. “Wait for me,” he pleaded as he was marched away, perhaps fearing he would rot away in a foreign jail cell without anyone ever knowing. “Of course!” we called out to him.

We spent a comfortable night at the border town on the Swiss side and in the morning packed up the car, excited to be so close to our destination. We weren’t sure where Richard was, and in any case, much to my eternal shame, we didn’t really care. I suppose we were naively optimistic about his fate as well as hungry (close to literally) for the cash that awaited us in Zurich. So we got in the car and drove around the town, looking for the directional sign to get us on the road to Zurich.

Purely by accident we came across Richard meandering down a sidewalk with his backpack. He waved ecstatically and climbed in with great relief. “I knew you wouldn’t desert me,” he said in gratitude.

“Of course not!” we said.

May I now present a few of my favourite cartoons relating to the prompt, memory, the first of which I don’t totally understand?

cartoon memory refresh

cartoon bad memory

cartoon watering can


Happy memories!

~~FP

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Buried Treasure

Prompt: Success


Dear Wednesday,

A funny thing happened on my way to a deep depression.

I got away from my life for a few days simply by being a tourist in a big city for a change— walking, shopping, sight-seeing, eating, drinking, playing, getting up early, falling into bed exhausted, and forgetting I am meant to be completely miserable.

Instead of dragging myself around in a state of constant fatigue, I had energy and enthusiasm. These were like strange, quirky friends who had dropped off the radar but whose sudden reappearance made me realize how much I’d missed— and needed— them.

I found comfort in the things I do, my reactions to them, the people around me and how my words and actions could affect them for the better; I realized I am not wholly terrible and hopeless but just may have something inside me that is worthwhile and that I can share. And, importantly, that there are emotional crutches and destructive self-medications that need to be eliminated from my life.

So I’m a little busy at the moment, getting rid of the “piles” in my life, both physical and metaphorical— those heaps of things that I’ve neglected for so long.

It helps that spring is here, with all the scents of hope and renewal that it brings.

Recently I came across an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon (they are all old now, since creator Bill Watterson retired the strip in 1995) and thought it might be fun to share some of Calvin’s life philosophy, a capsulated guide to success…

cartoon calvin ta da

cartoon calvin fort

cartoon calvin treasure

Peace and love,

~~FP

Less Tuba

Prompt: Stranger

cartoon strangers day

Stranger is a strange word. A stranger is someone unknown, and it’s root is “strange”, which kind of sets up the scenario that we should be suspicious and even on high alert when in the company of someone strange, a stranger.

A stranger is just a friend you’ve never met. Some cheerful people believe this.

A stranger is an alien and fearsome. Other people cheerfully believe this.

A good way to lose a friend is to treat them like a stranger. I believe this, less cheerfully.

The war for the hearts and minds of people all over the world might just boil down to how we perceive strangers, from new next door neighbours to international treaties.

I will definitely ponder that as I eat an orange.

For now, relating not to strangers but to merely, mildly strange, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon rapunzel

cartoon prodigal son

cartoon less tuba


–]

Don’t be a stranger!

~~FP

Go Like This

Prompt: Why do you blog?


Hello Wednesday,

There are lots of tips and strategies out there for overcoming the dreaded writer’s block, many of them Internet clickbait full of obvious and unhelpful instruction (“Just sit down and write!”). I’ve been trying one of the recommended tactics— taking a break from the blank page. This is ideal for someone as lazy as myself, and has had the predictable result (a lot of blank pages).

So how about if I just sit down and write. No edits. Here goes. Any minute now. I feel it coming. Ready? Ok.

Alec Baldwin has one blue eye and one green eye. He is stockier than most people realize, and prefers jeans and a plaid cotton shirt to a crisp dark suit. He is used to the privileges of being a well-paid star and was rather abrupt in his attempt to flirt with me. 

“Sit here,” he said loudly, pointing to an empty chair across from him, as I passed by his crowded table. Sit here? I didn’t even know the man. I walked on.

I was wearing a sleeveless white and navy chevron pattern summer dress, tightly cinched at the waist, and black and white striped platform sandals. 

My sister didn’t believe that Alec Baldwin had invited me, albeit curtly, to sit at his table. In fact, she didn’t believe the man I pointed out to her was Alec Baldwin. 

On second glance, he did look a bit rough around the edges. 

But that is my sister’s role, to invade my dreams with spoilers, and this time I refused to allow it.

Alec Baldwin and his entourage were heading towards the exit on a path that had them pass right beside my sister and I. Perhaps he was leaving because the woman he chose had rebuffed him, and would try his luck elsewhere. In any case he breezed by me as if I were invisible and I felt, rather than saw, my sister’s smirk.

But in passing he clasped my hand and I was jolted along the path to the exit, and we all tumbled outside.

His blue and green eyes were about as clear and full of mischief as I could have hoped. His skin was smoother. He didn’t kidnap me. I shoplifted him.


I’ll just should go straight to the Wednesday cartoons now. Unrelated to prompts, Alec Baldwin, or writer’s block, may I present a few of my recent favourites?

 

cartoon firemen

cartoon duel

cartoon firemen


Serenity now.

~~FP

Collected Alibis

Prompt: Book


Hello Wednesday,

The Goldfinch
My Brilliant Friend
Steal Like an Artist
No Time to Spare
Calabria: The Other Italy
Interpreter of Maladies

These are all books that currently sit in my living room or on my bedside table, waiting for me to put aside my devices and pick them up and look at printed words and turn pages. Also known as, reading a book. I’ve fallen prey to that short attention span malady, where my thoughts are about as substantial as a click-bait article on my iPhone, and my concentration about as reliable as the battery on my iPhone. In other words, I was once a truly avid reader, and now I’m not.

Fortunately, I think I’ve reached the saturation point of this kind of mindless device-centric busyness. I’m now aware that it’s not just unproductive, but downright soul-destroying— and thankfully, I’ve realized that this malady is also boring.

Down with boredom, and up with books!

And on that theme, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon book get up

cartoon book badger

cartoon book alibis


~~FP

Rediscovered

Prompt: Grow Up


Dear Wednesday,

No one grows up voluntarily.

Most of us are dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood— we resist and rebel, until we discover that it’s probably in our best interest to behave in a way that doesn’t completely alienate us, since we need jobs and roofs and sandwiches and fleece jackets and someone to warm our bed.

We learn to like power in whatever form we can wield it, the breathlessness of intimacy, and the indescribable joy when a challenge is met and overcome. We learn the contentment of ceding to biology and brushing our hair until it shines, throwing our body over our child to protect it, and lusting with purpose and deliberation.

Our young selves never disappear though, do they? They hang around inside us like a dinner guest that has outstayed their welcome, maybe wanting one more coffee or a glass of wine and another piece of cake. Needy, sometimes. Reckless, other times. And sometimes, our inner young self is the guest who brings up that humiliating moment we’d rather stayed hidden and suppressed.

While our young inner self lives in hope of having long unfulfilled needs met, our adult self lives in hope that everything will make sense someday; that insight slowly creeping into our consciousness like liquid spilling through floorboards, that the purpose of life is not success, children, power, love, god— but to somehow, sometime, make sense of it all.

Related to the theme of growing up, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon good or slut

cartoon spoil presidency

cartoon rediscovered


Love, peace and bon temps,

~~FP