One thing I have never been good at is small talk at big parties. Some folks can rip into a crowd and have a great time chatting about trends, politics, and the weather…I’m more likely to say hello to the folks I need to talk to, then head for my hotel room and bed.
This was one of the strips I really didn’t like. I tried to literally make this man "talk in circles," but I wasn’t happy with the result. Sometimes when I was on a tight deadline, I’d let something like this go through.
This was another true-to-life scenario. I was down and out. Katie brought me a blanket and offered to rub my back. True to the punch line, she now has two sweet kids and is a wonderful mother.
As a volunteer for a number of community projects, I discovered you can accomplish great things when the credit is evenly shared.
I had such an island. I don’t know if it was the story of Peter Pan or a project my mom gave us to do, but I had an imaginary island, and it was real.
One rainy North Vancouver day, my mom mixed up a paste using flour and water (and some other things), cut out flat cardboard bases, and helped my brother and me form an island in the middle of each one. We had to make mountains and bays, and when the paste was dry and hard, we coloured our islands with poster paint.
I took this project seriously. The ocean around my island was the deepest blue-green. There was a sandy beach in a rocky horseshoe-shaped bay. There was a forested mountain, and a jungle where I could pick tropical fruit. As I painted my island, I thought about how I got there and what I had to work with. A shipwreck was part of my story, of course, and I built an imaginary shack out of the remnants of a washed-up hull. I had a garden and I made a path to the mountaintop where I could watch for ships. Sometimes, a sailor or a passenger would be washed up on my shore and I would have imaginary adventures with this visitor. The visitors never stayed for long. It was, after all, my private imaginary space.
I daydreamed about this island all the time. When I was being bullied, I went to my island. When I was in trouble (sometimes for being a bully!), I went to my island. If I had a crush on a boy, he might be washed up on the island. Sometimes if a teacher was particularly nice, she might appear there, too. This fantasy went on until I was in high school! Even when I was well beyond childhood, I’d still find myself thinking, "You are allowed on my island." Or, "You are NOT allowed on my island!" It was a refuge. I was safe there. I had supreme control. There were no rainy days. It was a place of peace, and I think it helped me to survive some difficult times.
The island disappeared after many years…but I can still bring it into focus if I try.
Comic strips and comic books take great advantage of the visual gag. There is no way this punch line could be translated into video!
My son, Aaron, did play the trumpet for a while in band class at school, but he was never really interested in it. His heart was in film and photography — as soon as he could hold a camera! Still, it was important for me to include music in the Patterson Family’s routines, so Michael began trumpet lessons with uncle Phil. This allowed me to recall my brother Alan’s lessons, performances, and serious dedication to the trumpet. His long hours of practice, with the repetitive "tattica-tattica-tattica," are still vivid in my memory.
My brother, an accomplished performer, still teaches music, even though he has been retired for several years. There are still those special talented students to whom passing on all he has learned is a joy and a privilege. He has met his share of students who don’t practice and don’t have the passion. The line about playing darts was a genuine comment made at a time when teaching was often a chore.
I think I’ve grumbled about this before. When a woman (or anyone for that matter) becomes the chief cook and bottle washer — charged with shopping for, planning out, making, and serving up to three meals a day, she or he deserves at least a grunt of pleasure from the bodies who are shovelling in the grub. Actual thanks is wonderful!
This was fun to see in the paper…because I knew my brother would be reading it that same day as well.
I loved it when a punch line like this came to mind. Funny lines would sometimes "write themselves." The trouble with this kind of pun-based comedy is that it is really hard to translate! Perhaps that’s why my work was in so few outside markets and we see so few international comics here. Too often the gags are lost in translation.
Again, the use of colloquial expressions made For Better or for Worse hard to export. It needed to be read by people whose first language was English. On the other hand, cartoons are used all the time by people teaching English as a second language, precisely because colloquial speech is the language you hear on the street.
There’s no punch line here. There should have been. Mike had an opportunity to answer the question with a smart comeback. I couldn’t think of one…so, neither could he. This is when telling on-going stories, making one day’s strip lead into another, saved my behind. Now and then I could end a strip with an obvious silence…and get away with it.
I still can’t. Especially if it’s not mine.
This was the diagnosis we were given when Farley (the real dog, Farley) began to limp and have trouble with stairs. Certain breeds of dog are more prone than others to this disorder. It’s when the socket in the hip is not sufficiently bowl-shaped to hold and support the top of the femur, allowing it to slip out of place. Eventually, as the dog grows and becomes heavier, the ball of the femur slips right out of the hip joint — a painful and disabling problem. We were told that the breeder who sold us the dog was likely responsible for Farley’s hip dysplasia.
We were cautioned against letting Farley get too heavy, as this would add pressure to the already stressed hip joint. Putting him on a diet wasn’t easy — he would beg for table scraps and I hated to waste them.
Despite problems with his hips, Farley was a happy, healthy pooch who only seemed to avoid the stairs. I loved him because he was a real character — as close to a cartoon dog as one can get!