Things That Stick in Our Minds

During this escapade we call life, there are special things that get stuck inside our minds. Things we hold onto for some reason. Fine memories perhaps, a person’s face, an event in time, or just some crumb of information or philosophy that we hold and refer to as we travel the long stairway of this quite odd life. One such thing I grasped onto like a bear trap was the Doonesbury cartoon strip from October 31, 1973.


Doonesbury is a comic strip appearing in newspapers nationwide written by Garry Trudeau which started in the 1970’s and actually, continues today albeit only once a week. I was twenty years old then. Twenty! Damn, I have ties older than that now. I was attending junior college and I was pretty much lost.  Clueless about my life. I was also about to make several significant and bad decisions, but I guess many of us do that during that point in our life, don’t you think?

I was looking forward in time, wondering about this process where one grabs a job of some sort and works, at least five days a week, for close to fifty years! Fifty F’ing years! (Excuse my French).

I was young, thin, healthy, had hair and was good looking. I was filled with the energy only youth provides. I did NOT want to have a job for fifty years! The concept was bleak to me, at best.

So, when I read this comic strip, it really resonated within me. I could relate to the hippie kid, complaining to his father that he wanted to ….enjoy….life, and not work at an ugly job for fifty years! Yeah, he was me!

His father gave him a taste of  reality when he said, “Life is not to be enjoyed, it’s to be gotten on with!”  In the next panel, referring to his own job, he says “I hate it, I despise it!” And of course, the final word, “That’s normal, dammit!”

This comic strip had such an impact on me, held so many conflicting meanings, that I cut it out of the newspaper and sealed it in scotch tape. I referred to it every year or so. Sometimes more often than that. Here is a photo of it, all faded and yellow.


You can see despite the age and the wear, it still is readable. Forty-nine years later! Wow! So. I guess I am on the other side now, right? I say that I am between jobs now, or on sabbatical, but I am really retired. I didn’t work fifty years, but pretty close. Today, the one message I gain from this ancient comic strip is that life is to be gotten on with. But I also still support the young guy’s yearning for this thing called happiness. So, maybe life is to be gotten on with, as happily as you can manage?

Yeah. That is what I believe. And that is my motto for the rest of my life.


Oh, by the way, this is what is on the back of that newspaper comic. A grocery store advertising food and will you look at these prices!!!



Peace out my friends.