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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
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Wise up, America
The Starbucks 7 on the Presidency
A special birthday: Heading for 100
Bye Bye Big Bank
The Infatuation
Republican, Democrat or what?
The image of America
Mitt versus Barack, who wins?
Nothing to laugh at
The do-nothing candidates
          What follows is bound to get me out of favor with the same people who like apple pie, motherhood, spaghetti from Olive Garden and six-passenger vans.
          I could have chosen to write about the nasty, nutty president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or maybe a column about how crazy the weather has been lately. You know, storms, icebergs melting, hurricanes. Or maybe I could write about all the earthquakes that have been jolting different countries of recent years. I could even write about the Republican candidates and how, one by one, they’re getting caught making error- filled statements during their own party debates.
          Or I could write about something that’s been bothering me for years. It’s not a somber, grim subject I choose. It’s just something that has been nagging at me, off and on, for years. It’s a subject that piques my interest, but it certainly isn’t a topic that will ever even have a solution. It is more a simple question than a serious, world-shaking conundrum.
          Here it is: What is so funny about the comic strips that appear in my daily newspaper?
          Once a year, for the past forty years or so, I turn to the newspaper’s comic page and read five or six of the comic strips and try to see the humor in them – to no avail. There’s nothing there that is remotely funny. Nothing that would even cause a grin. What’s funny?
          Try this one on. It’s a strip called “Jump Start.” A man and a woman are talking to each other. The woman says, “Quick, sign these papers before we say ‘I do.” The man says, “What the-“ Then the man says, “Is this a pre-nup?” The man adds, “Your sister put you up to this, didn’t she?” In the last box the man says, “You want ME to take YOUR last name?” Another man appears and says, “Is this a bad time?” End of cartoon. Nothing remotely funny.
          There’s a cartoon named “Mutts.” A man is facing a small dog and yells, “Speak!” The dog answers with, “Yip, yap, bark, arf, woof, woof, bow, wow, wow, ruff, ruff.” In the final box the small dog is facing a cat, saying, “I have a lot to say.” Someone tell me what’s funny.
          Years ago, as I pursued my career at the daily newspaper, the editor of the paper decided to test the readership of the publication by omitting the full page of comic strips for one day. You would have thought the editor had made a personal attack on every reader. For three days the threats and cancellations barraged and overloaded the telephone system. The harassed editor quickly returned the comics page to its regular place amidst the newspapers pages and slowly the planet returned to its normal latitude and longitude. The editor learned his lesson – don’t mess with the comics!
          Lord knows I’ve tried to understand the mature (or any) humor in the comics.
          Try this one, see if it makes you laugh.
          It’s called “Zits.” In the first box a man is telling a woman, “So I said to the guy – Ow! My Shoulder!” In the next box the man is holding his shoulder, saying, “I must have twisted it wrong just now.” Next a strange looking woman is massaging the man. He says, “That’s it. Yeah. Right there. Ahhhhhhh, okay, thanks sweetie.” In the final box the man with the bad shoulder is saying, “…So, I said to the guy…” A younger looking man peers at the man with the bad shoulder, saying, “I hope I’m dead by the time I get old.”
          I’ve been trying for four decades to muster up a giggle, a snicker, a titter, even a little chortle, but I can’t find the funny in the newspaper’s comics.
          Oh, by the way, that same editor that removed the comic page from the newspaper for one day tried another experiment a year later. He removed the crossword puzzle. The readers’ reactions weren’t quite as vehement as with the absence of the comics but he did find out, to a large and vocal extent, what was important to the subscribers.
          I tried finding the humor (no matter how slight) in a comic strip called, “Duplex.” In the first box an older man with a huge nose says to another man with a huge nose, “Camino, you’ve been slacking on the job!” The younger, big nosed man, answers, “I have not!” In the last box we see the younger, big nosed man emptying the contents of a desk drawer into a trash can. That’s it. It has to be me.
          In the strip, “Grand Avenue,” we see a young boy talking to a mailman. The boy says, “Do you deliver to your own house?” The mailman answers, “I prefer not to bring work home.” The end. Once again, it has to be me. Or is it?