Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

You sit in the waiting room.

You've been here for months, it seems. The green sweater you elected to wear has been removed to reveal that layering tee-shirt (A garment you received as a stocking stuffer three years ago, but have never worn in any external fashion. The print on the chest says "Naughty" in pink Comic Sans font.), and in a few minutes you will put it back on as the room's temperature takes yet another unexplained dive.

The Last Tuesday in March sits across from you staring at your knee. It's eyebrows crinkle suggesting a thought had just occurred. You know better, but ask anyway.

"What?"

LTM starts and looks up at you. "Huh?"

"What is it?"

"What?"

"What are y- it just looked like..."

"Nothing."

"Okay."

"Okay."

Last Tuesday in March sinks back to staring at your knee with a sound just short of a huff.

You swipe your shoe across the floor, noting that the fibers in the carpet look darker when brushed one way, lighter when brushed another.

You can't take this much longer. The door at the other end of the room swings wide, but neither of your names is called.


Bloom County was the best comic strip. Ever.

The first book I read was 'Toons for Our Times, featuring Binkley (with medium hair), Opus, and a shaded Portnoy on the cover. The book was my sister's (and anything A. touched was the Holy Grail of Cool), so I borrowed it and spent the next several hours pouring over its pages, cover to cover.

To be fair, I had no idea why I was laughing at first, but it wasn't long before I was a rabid devotee. Every book I've read at least ten times and, for a while, could quote chapter and verse:

I would not mind if I did find a blue whale in my soup;
Nor would I mind a porcupine inside a chicken coop.
Yes, life is fine when things combine, like ham in beef lo mein,
But Lord, this time I think I mind; they've put acid in my rain.

or

Lucifer, do your duty!
Slam my head and shake your booty,
Wham, Bam , thank you Nell,
I'm on the Amtrak to Hell!

(Good lord, I just surprised myself by typing this from memory.)

I had a crush on both Cutter John and Steve Dallas, and wished I could be best friends with Michael Binkley (Who, in all honesty, I also had a crush on, but seeing as how he was perpetually 10 years old that seemed a little strange. What, do I mean stranger than having crushes on comic strip characters to begin with?...Um...Move along...nothing to see here.). I hoped one day to look like Bobbi Harlow (I do not.) I wanted to live in Bloom County and write for the Bloom Picayune...still kinda do.

Bloom County is counted among the major influences in my life. I attempted draw like Berke Breathed (with a dalliance in signing my name backwards for a spate), with only marginal success. My sense of humor grew around the strip (Part of its brilliance was the second reaction joke in the final panel, which was, in some cases, even funnier than the punch line. This style is part of what made the characters seem more three-dimensional.) and I would spend hour laughing myself to tears.

Imagine my unparalleled rapture when, in the back of Billy and the Boingers Bootleg, I found a record containing two whole Billy and the Boingers songs: "I'm a Boinger" and "U-Stink-But-I-♥-U". I made immediate work of taping the record (before it's inevitable ruin) and listened to these songs on repeat for weeks.

(Billy and the Boingers was the fictional band comprised of Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat, Opus and Hodge Podge, a rabbit)

Then, of course, it faded. I don't read the Bloom County books so much anymore and I hadn't listened to the Boingers in years - but then, some late nights one gets on a tear, Googling and whatnot and- Lo! and Behold! - look what I found.

This is for my friends Notnits and Erica, both loyal Bloom County fans, and for anyone else who gives ridiculously sincere presents at Christmas. Come join me in the Dandelion patch, where we'll wear our "Bill Lives" tee shirts and stick cucumbers up our noses and lay spam atop our heads. Raucous Caucus!

4 comments:

Erica said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

SO AWESOME!

I am going to send this to my brother.

I would join you in the dandelion patch any day at any time. Let's go right now.

We should totally have a geek out night where we sit around in our tshirts and read and drink wine and laugh. I should pull them out and just start over. I think I might cry.
And then we can all run over Lionel Richie with a tank.

Thank you.

joe g said...

The wind doth taste of bittersweet
Like jasper wine and sugar.
I bet it's blown through others' feet,
Like those of...Caspar Weinberger.




exicle: someone you used to date is really cold.

Fremodada said...

YES.

Some of my favorites...

When shopping for an engagement ring for Lola Granola, Opus gets into an argument about the reasons and machinery behind the diamond ring business:

Shopkeeper: "Let me put it simply - what are your life savings?"

Opus: "Well, I was saving for a photo safari for our honeymoon..."

Shopkeeper: "Come sir! Why spend money on a life enriching experience when you can blow it all on a piece of glass like material?"

Genius.

Don't even get me started on all the times Bill the Cat ran for President, or when Sean Penn punched out Steve Dallas for taking his photo.

Scott said...

The early ones with Milo and the boarding house were my favorites, I think.

If I recall correctly, BC debuted during a long-ish sabbatical taken by Garry Trudeau, and a lot of us who were "Doonesbury" fans (and who were also dolts) hypothesized that "Berke Breathed" was just a pseudonym for Trudeau's new experimental project. (I had much the same experience w/ "Doonesbury" that "jj" did w/ "BC," though we have to replace "A. the sister" with "D. the uncle." And I still have my Uncle Duke action figure, though I've lost his martini glass and semi-automatic firearm.)

When I started college in South Carolina--and I can feel my underparts retreating into my innerds even as I type that--I had to deal w/ the fact that none of the available newspapers printed any of my favorite comics. My Dad, bless him, cut BC out of the Knoxville paper and mailed them to me once a week.

And now, of course, I've devoted much of my middle age to keeping Opus's body shape and fashion sense alive.

 
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