The Funny Papers

No, this is not a review. Rather, it's a little thinking I've been doing lately about kids and reading, and adults and reading.

When I was young I loved to read the Sunday Funnies. I spread the paper out on the living room carpet, flopped down on my belly and read every strip. (Whether I knew what they meant or not.) I often wanted to read them aloud to my mother, who would tell me, "I hate the funnies, please don't read them to me." It was disappointing, but it just wasn't her idea of funny. We're talking about a woman who loved Danny Kaye, Alan Alda, and other clever funny men. B.C. Ziggy, and Peanuts weren't exactly on par.
However, I am a huge Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Schroeder fan. In that order. My mother likes Snoopy decked out as Joe Cool. Who among us could believe that a dog who slept on top of his doghouse wasn't cool enough already? Did he really need the shades? I thought not. I prefered Snoopy when he was torturing Lucy by kissing her, or stealing Linus' blanket. I did want him to be more loyal to Charlie Brown. When Snoopy walked off with 101 Valentines to Charlie's zero, I felt a little pang. Been there, that's for sure. (No, my dog was not getting Valentines. But, neither was I.)

The best Peanuts strip - or the one I will always remember - is a typical Charlie Brown Bad Day. He has a sore elbow, and has to walk off the mound. He ends up at the X-Ray Room, and comes back to tell Lucy what's wrong. "Well, I found out what's wrong with my arm.... I've got 'Little Leaguer's Elbow'!" Lucy: "You've got What?" "Little Leaguer's Elbow" Charlie says. Lucy: "A lousy player like you?!"

My favorite Snoopy cartoon launched a new word around my house. Lucy says, "I'm on a new campaign to be nice to people..." she approaches Snoopy. "While I'm at it, I suppose I might as well include dogs." She pats Snoopy. "Here's a nice pat on the head." After she's gone, Snoopy thinks, "Thrillsville."
So, "thrillsville" became the pat sarcastic answer for "who cares?" around my house. I still say it today.

Got a favorite comic strip?


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