I read newspapers. I love to tell people that. I harrumph, (newspaper readers are big on harrumphing) adjust my glasses and give out my best serious look. “I read several newspapers a day” I tell anyone who will listen, which oddly enough is fewer and fewer each day. “I read real newspapers too,” I tell them. None of this fancy internet stuff for me. I love getting ink on my fingers and elbows. Newspaper readers will understand about the elbows.
I think it makes me look intelligent. Thoughtful. Erudite. The reality is not as glamorous.
I read newspapers every day, but I read the funnies first. Always have, always will. Oh sure, I’ll glance at the front page. But first things first. I have to have my dose of comic art.
Sometimes when the headlines in the other sections of the paper are particularly bleak, that is almost all I read. I stopped watching the nightly TV news for the same reason. It was interfering with my boundless optimism and my rosy world view. Cartoons on TV are great in their own way but can’t compare with the three to four panels inked in color every day.
Newspaper comics are great. I admit I don’t read all of them. The Phantom does little for me. Something about a dog and a guy in a costume. I have read all the Peanuts over the years and I am sometimes amazed to still see Charles Schultz’s (he’s been gone 9 years now) name in print. Our local papers don’t carry Mary Worth and I am fine with that.
But I faithfully read several strips, as we comic lovers call them, on a daily basis. A day without “Dilbert” and his pointy haired boss? It’s unthinkable. “Get Fuzzy” can make me laugh so hard that cereal milk shoots out my nose. And “Crankshaft” is good on so many levels, from amazing art to the uncanny way it nails people as they really are.
My refrigerator’s actual color is difficult to discern. It’s covered with clipped out strips. Sometimes just one panel, but that one small square can be a work of art all by itself. A good example: a “Crankshaft” panel shows the old man and his adult daughter on a porch swing. He says “Somehow, I always thought life took longer than this.” Nailed it, for me at least.
One time the paper forgot to print the funnies. They just plain forgot to run the funnies and printed a full page of car ads instead. I went through the seven stages of grief. I missed a whole day in the life of “Frazz.” You never get over something like that.