The Book on Ruth

April 22, 1996


Many of you have some time on your hands these days, so I thought I would repeat a lengthy sequence that formally introduced son Gene’s new girlfriend, Ruth. Ruth would be an intelligent and tempestuous member of the cast for several years to come. Remember, the date is the link. These cartoons are about as far back as the digital archives go. Anything much older I’d have to dig out of plastic bins in the attic and scan them in. For the first ten years I drew Arlo & Janis, I sent the original work overnight to New York City, via FedEx. If I were running late, which was often the case, I would miss the window for having my package picked up at my door, and I’d have to drive to the nearest FedEx facility. I had the blessing and the curse in those days of living in the vicinity of Memphis. All FedEx offices were open far later than those in most of the country.


24 thoughts on “The Book on Ruth”

  1. I once was traveling home from our company’s plant in southern Ohio. I got a call that our customer could not find his keys to his rental car and wondered if they fell out in my car when we went to lunch. I pulled over and dug them out of the back seat. I was already in Michigan, so I didn’t want to drive 3 hours back, so I googled Fed Ex offices and we were only 10 minutes away…and they were closing in 20 minutes. He got his keys at 8:00 then next morning.

    The local grocery store opens at 7:00 for seniors, so I had not gone for a while, so I slipped in at 6:45. I have some cheap masks that I wear when I mow, but they are a little dirty. I suppose I could have borrowed my wife’s scarf to use as a bandanna, but instead used one of my CPAP masks. I was a bit self -conscious, but realized no one actually noticed. The purpose for the mask is that with my allergies, I am always scratching my nose and face. The mask helped keep that to a minimum and served as a reminder: Don’t touch!

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    • I would love a t-shirt that says, “”It’s only allergies!!” I tend to sniffle, sneeze, and cough this time of year. For some reason, that gives some folks the heebee-jeebies. Huh.

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  2. Coincidentally, here’s the URL for today’s Bemidji Pioneer article on the fate of office parks after the COVID-19 epidemic subsides and lets us go back to work:
    https://www.bemidjipioneer.com/business/workplace/5032558-The-end-of-the-office-park-Coronavirus-could-change-the-way-many-of-us-work
    [Originally from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.]
    Think it’s time for a letter to the editor from the UCGWUSC, or some such: “Hey, what about us Canada Geese? The office park is our bread and butter … .” Peace,

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  3. “I’d have to dig out of plastic bins in the attic and scan them in” Yes, please. That would be a productive use of self-isolation time. 🙂

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  4. Just read the entire “Ruth” sequence. It was very clever and funny. And spot on! And then it also got a little bit sad when the story shifted to Ruth’s house. Nice work JJ! I’ll be hitting the supermarket at 5:30 am tomorrow. Armed for battle with the invisible enemy.

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  5. For years, there has been discussion among the villagers as to what kind of jobs Arlo and Janis have. (Jimmy is on record as merely confirming they have “cartoon jobs”.) The last couple of days’ cartoons seem to have answered that…they have “nonessential” jobs! (Some have opined they may be retired, but I’m reasonably sure I saw a recent cartoon that established that they still work.)
    If I were still working, my job would be considered “essential”, and I’d be there. I’m certainly not bragging about that. And I worry about my staff and other co-workers that are still there.

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  6. As a follow-on to Mark’s comments about COVID-19-driven changes in his workplace, Hillcrest hospital in Tulsa, the owner of most of the clinics (including Oncology) that Jackie sees, announced yesterday they are furloughing 600, or about 9%, of their employees, for the same reason as his hospital. Non-furloughed employees will be subject to work-hour reductions and salary reductions. Many people probably thought hospital business would be doing booming business due to the Coronavirus, but there seems to be plenty of hurt to go around.

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  7. From “Life In The Slow Lane”: Happy I found my private trainer before the lock-down. I’m exercising with her twice a week, and yes, doing so within the guidelines of social separation. The workouts are private; she teaches from one side of her studio, and I follow from the other; and she’s a fanatic about keeping things disinfected and sanitized.
    I’m showing marked improvement in balance, coordination, and muscle tone, but the big thing is how it has improved my outlook during these stressful times. So, yes, exercise is good for the mind as well as the body.

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