Saturday, July 04, 2009

Could Bloom County Have Earned Me A Beatin' ?

Back in my junior or senior year of high school I was over at the home of the Galloway family. They were church and school friends. I looked up to Paul who was a couple years older, and I once had had a massive crush on Ruby who was my age. I'd been over the crush for a couple of years at the time of the incident I am about to describe.

I was at their house, for what reason I do not remember. Anyway, on the coffee table was a book collection of a very popular 80's comic strip called Bloom County. The strip was characterized by some of the most biting, stinging, yet cleverly cloaked political commentary of any medium, let alone comic strips. It also happened to be funny as heck apart from it's keen political satire. Some of the main characters were Binkley, Steve Dallas, Cutter John, Bill the Cat, and the chief protagonist (he was my favorite anyway) Opus - a chubby penguin. So, I picked up the book and started thumbing through it.

Also at the Galloway house that day was Anthony, a fellow whom Ruby was dating at the time. He was a pretty big dude and was a starting lineman on the San Angelo Central High Bobcats football team. He had come over and was sitting with Ruby on the couch across from me. Anthony seemed upset. From what I could overhear as I read through the comic strip, he had managed to get his pickup truck (or whatever vehicle he drove at the time) bogged down in some mud.

During what must have been a suspenseful part of his tale I burst out laughing at one of the strips, and Anthony thought it was directed at him. I assured him that in no way was I laughing at his misfortune.

I continued looking through the book and had at least a couple more laugh bursts, and each time Anthony broke off his mud narrative to pointedly ask me if I was laughing at him. I again promised him I was not laughing at him.

Now, when I say that I was not laughing at Anthony but at Bloom County, I am telling you the absolute truth. But, what is also true is that I didn't mind too much having him think (or wonder if) I was laughing at him. I suppose, despite having gotten over my crush on Ruby, that I still had some occasional phantom twinges of jealousy. And so, it turned out to be a convenient and sufficiently veiled form of revenge.

I can now concede that Anthony was probably an allright guy. After all, I did not end up with a beatin'. But maybe to be on the safe side one should avoid reading Bloom County in the presence of a Bobcat. They don't seem to like being laughed at.