Friday, January 2, 2009

Cartoons and a Merry Heart

When the morning newspaper comes, I like to read the comics first.
Why is it so hard to admit that?
On Sundays, it's Prince Valiant, Crankshaft, and Blondie. For Better or Worse, I want to know what is happening to Beetle Bailey and the Wizard of Id. Zits, Baby Blues, Cathy, Charlie Brown. I invite them all into my morning, first thing, along with Doonsbury and Frank and Ernest.
They all get first billing, over the front page, over Home and Gardens, over the book section and the editorials -- because they make me laugh, and sigh, and smile, and because those things help get the day started right.
Sometimes I clip a particularly great cartoon and tape it to the cabinet or closet door, where it keeps on making me smile. Or I fix it to the refrigerator door with a magnet, or put it in an album I pull out sometimes when I'm feeling discouraged. Cartoons make me laugh, especially the ones I've clipped myself.
Why do we take ourselves so seriously sometimes? “A merry heart doeth good, like medicine,” says the Proverb, and Jesus was known to slyly insinuate humor into some of his comments, even if the Pharisees didn't get it.
Come to think of it, maybe that's where Pharisee-ism begins -- with an inability to smile, to take ourselves and our lives lightly.
Go ahead -- clip a cartoon and start your own gallery. Smile a little. Laugh a lot.
Keep your heart merry, for Christ's sake.

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