|A more-or-less typical episode of Trolleytown Frolics|
|The Toonerville Trolley|
This particular Trolleytown Frolics features the luckless antihero, Thirsty Lad (my cartoon avatar), locked in a debate with a disembodied narrator. Don't judge the artwork too harshly. I can draw better than this, but it was scribbled in a tiny notebook while riding a commuter train. The handwriting can be tough to read, so here's a transcription:
NARRATOR: How ya doin', Thirsty?
THIRSTY: Me? Swell! Perfect!
THIRSTY: Well, uh, maybe not "perfect" exactly, but...
NARRATOR: So what's wrong?
THIRSTY: Nothing's wrong!
NARRATOR: If nothing were wrong, you'd be perfect!THIRSTY: Then I guess I am perfect! La-di-da! I'm perfect!
NARRATOR: You seem upset. I'll go.
THIRSTY: I am not upset! Please stay so that we can continue this delightful chat!
NARRATOR: Yeah. I'm gonna go now.
THIRSTY: seriously i'm fine... great, in fact.
As you can see, I had a panel left over, so I filled it with "Random Evil Guys." This would have been written on the way home from work on an average weekday, so you gain some idea of my mindset in that situation. In this scenario, both the Narrator and Thirsty are manifestations of me. So now you have an even better idea of how my mind works. You can also see how influenced I was by the psychodrama of the '90s Nickelodeon cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show. Thirsty's pose in the fourth panel is taken directly from an R&S episode called "Space Madness."
|A comparison: Stimpy in "Space Madness" vs. Thirsty in Trolleytown Frolics|
I cannot let this topic of mediocrity pass without linking to a great skit from Mr. Show with Bob and David, a parody of Amadeus set in turn-of-the-century America and centered around marching band music. You're not meant to identify with David Cross' character, frustrated would-be march composer Salini, but I do anyway. And then there's Jay Johnston's legitimately disturbing "Mediocrity" character. I'm so glad my specter of adequacy looks like the cartoon character Gossamer and not this ghoulish monstrosity. Both Bob and David are great in this sketch. The emotional burden here is on David, but Bob gives such great, off-kilter line readings to dialogue like: "For I have work to do!" As a former marching band member myself, I love the way he wears the hat everywhere and chews on the chinstrap occasionally.
HEALTH NEWS 'N' NOTES: Still feeling fine. The demonic-possession-like fear I once experienced has been replaced with just plain old ordinary "jitters." The appetite continues to improve, though the libido remains dormant. I realize now that my exercise routine revolves around walking, which takes place outdoors. That's going to be a problem as the temperatures drop. I'll have to find another solution. True story: during my last full year as a teacher, I lived in a very small, isolated town in an apartment which was actually part of a roadside motel. The place was tiny, as you might guess, but the rent was so cheap! But best of all, I had access to the motel's indoor swimming pool and spent hours swimming laps. I mean, I'm no Mark Spitz, but I got pretty good... for me. When I left my job at that high school, I stayed on in the motel for a few more months while I planned my next move and used the pool more than ever. My current apartment complex had a pool, a rather nasty outdoor one which was home to ducks and geese, but the owners filled it in several years ago. Today, you'd never know there was a pool there except for the lonely changing room which still stands as a sad monument to its former existence. Anyway, I realize how important exercise is to maintaining good emotional health, so I'll have to figure something else out. So far, though, the meds are robbing me of my ambition. (Damn. That's a paraphrase of something Samuel L. Jackson said in Jackie Brown. Can't I get away from pop culture references? I read books. Honestly, I do.)