Friday, March 26, 2010

Do as I ... something ... not as I ... now I've lost track

Sandy is one of my best friends and favorite people. We've known each other since high school, and I still can't run faster than her. She's smart, too. She runs this line at the bottom of her e-mails:

If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

I'm remembering that now, because I apparently haven't been the best example this week in the comics.

Right off the bat, there's today's strip (above) popping up right in the middle of my rotator-cuff issues, which have to be in part due to a certain acceptance of pain. But mostly it's due to some bad form, and when I put bad form in my strips, it's a horrible warning rather than any kind of example. But I love this strip. It's already a classic in my own mind.

Even if I stole it. I spend a lot of time explaining to people that creativity is a matter of making something in a new form, which is totally liberating, and not a matter of making something from nothing, which is totally impossible. Years ago, Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers and the rare linguistic bumbler in Yogi Berra and Casey Stengel's league, said, "Pain don't hurt." He didn't mean it like I took it, I'm guessing, or even like he said it, but it's been a great code to live by as long as I can remember which types of pain really do and don't hurt.

But that just caps off practically a full week of subversive stripping.
After Sunday's strip, a new friend admonished me:

Taking a marker to a UPC code like that with the idea that it will code for another item is wrong. The UPC system has internal controls and check digits to prevent this. A general misunderstanding of this technology is what led former MI AG Kelley to get "item pricing" laws enacted. We all pay more in the long run for that.
Duly noted, though I defend myself thusly: I'm good at thinking up funnies, but I'm a little slow with other innovations. Don't look to me to invent the next Velcro. (Though I did come up with this: Tear off a piece of a tortilla; smear it with almond butter; either drip honey on it or dab it into a pile of brown sugar, and tell me if that doesn't beat anything that comes in cellophane.) Anyway, there's no way I can be the first to think of this, and clearly I wasn't if the UPC system has those safeguards in place. And if we were saved by Frank Kelley, who retired as Michigan Attorney General 12 years ago. But such a spirited defense makes it sound like I don't appreciate the feedback, which I truly do.

Not that it looks like I heeded it, when the very next day I begin a series on destroying appliances:
and then
Now people everywhere are going to have to shop for new dryers while their kids run through Big Willie's Appliance Mart with Sharpies finishing off what's left of the economy.

Please, parents: Let your kids keep reading Frazz. Just be sure to teach them the difference between a good example and a horrible warning before they destroy everything.


Jim Smith II said...

Fantastic post (and great strip today, like you said, this has become an instant classic and will probably go up on the "board")!

Bar codes - Yes, I know there are safeguards in place, didn't make the strip any less funny.

Humor is found in the absurd...

Kendall said...

that tortilla, almond butter, brown sugar thing sounds great! I'm going to try that after my ride tomorrow. Thanks!

Richard said...

Parents can rest assured. My kids and I met Jef at a recent Running Fit event in Ann Arbor. Both kids are hard core Frazz fans, have read every book (now signed!), and are no more likely to destroy appliances than your average 8 or 11 year old. As always, thanks for a great strip, Jef!

Judy Avery said...

Oh, Jef, that one last Sunday was what brought me to your blog. Thrifty Acres!!! Oh, I remember Thrifty Acres -- as do the friends I mailed the alert to. Back before Fred branched out. Fred Meijer, that is, of big store fame.

Oh, and it was funny too. As always. In that wonderfully absurd way.

Michael said...

I must agree that Friday morning's strip is a classic! I've been telling everyone I know about it. It is exactly how I felt Saturday after finishing my very first Half-marathon.(2:13:56.6)

I'm still sore, but I couldn't be prouder of my own accomplishment.

Your stripps always seem to match my life pretty darn well, as the weather on Saturday morning in Kansas City was 45 degrees and rain. Then I see your Saturday strip with the weather!

Dave Trendler said...

Do all cartoonists call it "stripping"?