This cartoon, published in the Winter 2012 issue of Brain, Child Magazine, is a good example of how seemingly forgettable exchanges between family members can suddenly become fodder for a cartoon. It goes like this: a member of my immediate family does something either memorably annoying or, now that I have children, memorably amusing and then I draw a cartoon.
Fortunately for me, my mother not only makes a great cartoon character, but she’s a great sport about it, even when I exaggerate just a tiny bit.
(Just for the record, the only thing I exaggerated about was the egg shell. Couldn’t resist.)
With a Junior in High School, memories of my own experience applying to college way back when are flooding back to me, especially with the help of old cartoon books.
I don’t know what is more astonishing — the things that are different or the things that are the same. For example, my mother still burns hamburger buns with alarming regularity and I think I still have that Fair Isle sweater. But what I love most about this drawing is the snapshot it takes in time. Not just the late 70s, but the point in time it captures in my family’s life: my sister Leslie away at college and calling to ask for money, my Mom in her pom-pom tennis socks, and Steve’s huge teen feet in a pair of Wallabees.
I have vowed to take a calmer, gentler approach towards helping my children with the college application process, which of course means that the whole thing will have to be outsourced. (Stay tuned for updates on college visits– those we will have to handle ourselves.)
But, the way I see it, as long as none of it gets in the way of my tennis game, everything will be just fine.
This is an annual discussion that our family engages in every fall. Sometimes by email, but this year it was around the Thanksgiving table.
Sometimes a little sarcasm works its way into the conversation in order to make a point. The point here being, of course, that quantity is better than quality. Wait no, that’s not what I meant. What I meant was that I would rather find everyone in my family a small gift — bacon flavored candy (spoiler alert Steve!), David Sedaris’s “Holidays on Ice”, a talking Mr. T. keychain to name a few ideas — than be assigned to purchase a single “large gift” for a sole recipient who will scrounge for the return gift receipt at the bottom of the box while thanking the Lord that I was two time zones away when they opened their “big” present. And when the conversation starting taking the Wal*Mart route, I had to say something fast.
I’m still a little fuzzy on where we ended up on the whole matter — we probably would have made more progress arguing about avoiding the fiscal cliff.