100 Days of Misery Project: Chunk Eight

#100daysofmisery #day71 : I have a long history of climbing aboard sinking ships as far as my artistic career goes. I sold a novella to a prominent small press sci-fi magazine about six months before small press sci-fi ceased to exist. I made some very good money during a very brief window where select Internet sites paid almost the same as print for original content. I wrote two well received shows for the local old school 1950’s style Planetarium, which is kind of like saying you wrote the last few film strips. In the early eighties I was courted by King Features syndicate as a possible writer for a political comic strip they wanted to compete with Doonesbury. I wrote tons of sample scripts, was informed that I was a finalist among the writers they were talking to, then that I had become one of two choices. An artist was brought on and sample strips were drawn up. The title was to be “Morris the White House Mouse.” It was about a rural mouse who ended up living in the basement of the white house, and the animal antics that ensued would parallel and critique what was then the Reagan administration, but would certainly go on to lampoon future presidents. If you’re mind is as crowded with trivial crap as mine, you may recognize this as the premises of a short lived cartoon for adults, “Capitol Critters” starring the voice of Neil Patrick Harris, as a White House dwelling mouse named “Max”. Yes. I do not know if this is what became of “Morris” and I never will, since King Features abruptly stopped talking to me and eventually I stopped leaving messages that were never returned about two years before the cartoon premiered. Newspaper strips are still dying a slow, agonizing death that began shortly around the time I almost wrote one. “Critters”, which featured several ideas alarmingly close to ones I created, ran less than a season and isn’t even a cult favorite. But I would have liked to have done it. I would have liked to be on either one of those sinking boats. It would be a good story. So is this, though.

 

#100daysofmisery #day72 : Today Archie Andrews dies. Sort of. I will have to spend all day at the comic shop explaining to people that the ‘Life with Archie’ comic series presents alternate possible futures for Archie. He’s been married to Betty, he’s been married to Veronica, he’s had an interracial baby with the guitarist from ‘Josie and the Pussycats’. I will have to try to get people to understand that Archie isn’t really ‘dead’ all the while resisting telling them that comic book characters are never really dead because they are, what is it now, fictional. Then in about a month Wolverine dies for like the fifth time. Is he really dead, they will ask. Yes, yes, Disney just let Marvel kill off a character that generates billions of dollars a year and appears in ¾ of their monthly publications, and he won’t be back, because that’s what the story demands. Wolverine is over for good, It’s super sad, but that’s the nature of life, right? Also, no stories about his past either. Oh, and apparently Thor is going to be a Lady. Which is to say a Woman gets Thor’s powers, ’cause Asgardian gender reassignment surgery is outside Marvel’s comfort zone. Not mine. I would read that book.

 

#100daysofmisery #day73 : It has been said that I am something of a curmudgeon, a complainer, negative. Do you listen to yourself, I have heard people ask of me. The way I see it, I’m just making conversation. What should I talk about, the weather? Is it hard to know what the weather is without discussing it? Sure, people say, but do you ever stop to just enjoy yourself? Yes. Of course. I’m enjoying this. And be honest, when someone starts a conversation by saying ‘I feel so blessed’, even though you know it is essentially true that life is a blessing and that remembering this from time to time is the basis of wisdom, doesn’t just the teensiest part of you want to scream and scream and scream?

 

#100daysofmisery #day74 : Here’s something I learned working as a summer camp counselor: If you find ground nesting wasps in a heavily trafficked area and you want to get rid of them, pouring gasoline down the little holes and applying a match is a really bad idea. Unless you like clouds of enraged flaming wasps, or are a fan of the classic burns n’ stings combo, in which case it’s a great idea.

 

#100daysofmisery #day75 : About a year ago while on vacation in Vermont, I bought a shaving brush and soap. Abandoning canned shaving gel seemed like a suitably olde fashinonedy thing to do and stopped short of a straight razor which I knew I’d handle about as well as a rotary saw on my face. The brick of soap I bought is almost gone, which means it lasted me about one year, and I was suddenly struck by the fact that when I go out and by more, which I’ll need to do soon, I’ll be confronting my own mortality. Is this brick of soap that last one I will buy? Is next years brick of soap? Will some loved one have to bear witness to and dispose of the unused portion of my shaving soap, lingering in the bottom of it’s mug, a few stray brush bristles forlornly clinging to it? And if I grow a beard, can I stave off the Grim Reaper indefinitely?

 

#100daysofmisery #day76 : Do you ever worry that every time you express and opinion on anything at all, art, popular culture, politics, religion, what you’re really saying to whoever you’re talking to is: “I need you to understand and acknowledge that I am a groovy and righteous dude” ? And when I say ‘do you ever worry’ I mean ‘do I ever worry. Yeah. Yeah I do.

 

#100daysofmisery #day77: I have two miniature golf stories and this is one of them. I was about five. At some point, I hit my ball into a water hazard, just a little cement pond about a foot deep. I knelt down and while my family waited patiently, carefully, methodically and slowly rolled up the right sleeve of my sweater. Then I reached in to get the ball with my left hand. One way or another, I have been doing the same thing ever since.

 

#100daysofmisery #day78 : I listen to NPR for about an hour every morning while I putter around, make coffee, get my day started. The news can always be bleak, but lately the tide of chaos and human suffering seems unusually high. The wave of children flooding into our country fleeing violence and poverty, the Ukraine, Israel and Palestine. It makes premise of #100daysofmisery, even when taken purely as comedic, seem churlish, petty and offensive. I am forced to an inescapable conclusion. I will have to stop listening to NPR.

 

#100daysofmisery #day79 : When I was eighteen, three generations of my family took an extended trip to the Southwest. We visited Lake Powell, Monument Valley and of course, The Grand Canyon. It was, as anyone who has seen it will tell you, spectacular. We visited the North Rim first, then the South. They are very different. The North rim is isolated; there are very few amenities and way, way less people. When we were leaving the South Rim, I mentioned I’d liked the North better. It was quieter, not so commercialized. It was easier to imagine what stumbling across the Grand Canyon must have been like. My Grandfather replied ‘If I’d known you weren’t going to like it here, I’d have slit my wrists.’ I imagine this seems rather stark and harsh to the casual reader, but as a connoisseur of awful moments, I want you to know I found it, I it’s own way, every bit as awe inspiring as the Canyon.

 

#100daysofmisery #day80 : Listen, in a hundred days, they are not all going to be gems.

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