Wrinkle Dream

Wrinkle Dream

May 14, 2010

The comic strip Arlo & Janis will be 35 years old this year, on July 29, to be exact. I’m always ambivalent about anniversaries of this sort. I’m very thrilled to still be slinging dust in the demolition derby that is the syndicated comics biz, and, for the most part, I’m proud of my dinged up body of work. However, part of me is reticent to bring up these important anniversaries, which seem to fall at five-year intervals for some arbitrary reason. I’m not certain it’s wise to remind you how long I’ve been around. Comic strips have an often well-deserved reputation for becoming stale with time, for coasting gently down hill. I have tried to avoid this; you’ll have to be the judge. There’s not much doubt in my mind the artwork is stronger than ever. I also want to believe the quotidian humor is at least as strong as it has been in any given period. There’s also no doubt I am not as inventive or as bold as I was as a younger man. I drive more defensively these days, a derby strategy that carries its own risks. But enough about me! Go, and enjoy your spring weekend. We’ll talk more about all this in coming weeks.

61 responses to “Wrinkle Dream”

  1. My wife and I think you’re looking in our window — we laugh at our selves with every marvelous foible and fumble. Just great and really better than ever this days. Always wonder why Arlo didn’t take the boat.

  2. It will never become stale cause it has mirrored my life for the past 35 years, and I expect it will continue for the next however many I have!

  3. Whoops. Gone now, but I have cranes on my mind. Blv those were Great Blue Herons.
    As to getting stale, JJ may be fishing. He knows the Village idolizes him. Wouldn’t surprise me if some Villagers didn’t build little altars in the “high places” [try an online concordance].

  4. Stale? Hardly. If I’m short of time and skip reading the usual list of comics I always stop for Arlo & Janis. The smiles – and grimaces – you bring with your insight to the human condition in general and too often seemingly my life in particular help make my days. With maturity, many of the finest things in life become less inventive or bold and more subtle, complex and nuanced. I hope I can look forward to many more days starting with A&J. Thanks, Jimmy!


  5. As I get older, I start to realize that things I have counted on for a good part of my life are going away and I need to start adapting. My optometrist retired two years ago, my physician is retiring in July, my auto repair guy closed shop. I hope A&J will continue to be part of my life for a while longer.

      • I too have discovered the obvious folly of building relationships with medical, dental, and service providers that are older than oneself. They retire on you (unless one is a teenager, of course…Doogie Howser M.D. wasn’t real) and you have to start over with new ones!
        If you think that’s why Pulchritudinous & Pneumatic Hair Stylist is considerably younger than I… well, you’d be partially correct anyway. 😉

    • Sometimes change is good but I miss my doctor who retired two years ago as he was always a voice of reason and I truly need that now. I changed jobs a year ago and I am VERY happy with that change. But sometimes things change that others consider “better” and they are definitely not, at least to me. For example I still like driving a car that is fuel efficient and not a huge SUV

      But it is good that things change. The changes are things that Jimmy can poke fun at. And very proficiently at that!

    • Beat me to this! I was going to point out that Brooke had shown only the tops of the twins’ heads, and not what might otherwise be thought…. I would not have wanted our JJ to have been “scooped”!

      Otherwise, I find A&J continually enjoyable and I, for one, do not miss Gene, et al.

  6. Still my favorite comic. As others have said through out the course of time, “it’s as if you are peering through my windows to glean a story”! As at least one other has mentioned though… I also miss Gene’s side of things.

  7. As long as Arlo and Janis continue to age (albeit not quite in “real time”), you will always have fresh material to work with. But I do miss Gene and his family and think it’s weird that they’ve essentially disappeared. The grandparent dynamic can be a rich one. On a side note, many comic strips have incorporated COVID-19 into their storylines. I was wondering if they would and for the most part, I think they’ve been quite successful – neither morbid nor flippant. Just simply reflecting the strange times that we’re all experiencing together. The one exception is Lio, which has exhibited some dark humor that I’m not sure how I feel about.

  8. Jimmy, you don’t have to travel the well-worn path of 5-year anniversary increments; choose your own way – e.g., double-digit prime numbers would give you seven years which (currently) is the number as on the every five years scale. You’re creative (which is why we read your comic) – mix it up!

  9. Some thoughts for today:

    Why do we so fear this virus? Do you feel fear when you walk out to your mailbox? When you drive to work? When you step into your shower? People die from those kinds of accidents all the time.
    Perhaps it’s just fear of the unknown? That’s why our cities are so brightly lit that people grow up without ever seeing the Milky Way… it’s in our genetic code to fear there may be a bear or lion out there in the dark. Fearing a virus that we’re told might kill us touches on that fear.

     As for me, I’ve given up on fearing the invisible, the things that could happen but, realistically, probably won’t. So, I’ve added a few precautionary habits to my daily routines, like avoiding crowds (never liked being in one in the first place!) or washing my hands after touching things other people have touched. In fact, I’ve followed my dad’s habit of using a paper towel to open a restroom door since so few people wash their hands before leaving public restrooms.
    So that leaves fears that aren’t really being addressed publicly yet. Fear of never returning to a job you depended on, maybe even loved. Fear of losing friends and family to despair, broken relationships, perhaps even suicide. That’s where faith comes in. And being proactive in building and strengthening our connections with one another. And with God.

    • I’m wondering if it’s the effect of an entire generation that’s never been in real danger before. How many of the current generation have served in the military or otherwise gone in harm’s way? How many of them have had to deal with disasters, natural or otherwise? How many of them know how to that kind of stress?

      • Well said, TR. And Sideburns, maybe that’s it. This past weekend the oddest thing happened…short story, the world did not approve of me leaving a cat alone on my porch roof. Strangers showed up wandering the property, demanding a lot, including threatening me with police action if they did not get their way. (They lost) Craziness/fear shows up in odd ways.

      • In my case I missed out on military service because a technician swore I’d cheated on the hearing test; no one had ever heard every sound on the test tape before! (so much for an AFROTC scholarship)When I was younger and not been around diesel engines, I got headaches whenever I went past the open door to a jewelry store or other establishment because of their ultrasonic alarm systems. Later, as a pharmacy tech I was able to let the owner know when his emitter on his system was going bad. Weird, huh?

        Today my hearing’s merely normal except for the 2,000 hertz range in my right ear… the trumpets in the orchestra sit on that side from me.

        The only thing that I had to deal with in life are autistic daughters and having my heart go into cardiac arrest. Nothing too difficult, eh?

  10. Odd thing happening when I click on the GoComics icon. When I get there and see Arlo/Janis strip of the day, the computer then freezes on me and I have to reboot. However if I take my other short cut to GoComics, no problem.

  11. Hang in there, Gene and ML. We’re eating our loses at the boutique, also; just figuratively rather than literally. It’s is neither feasible nor nutritious to ingest women’s clothing items.
    Being a small town, we regularly patronize (or did) most of the local eateries and know the proprietors. They are all hurting. Some will likely not survive. In fact, I fear for Eufaula. It’s a small town that is heavily dependent on out-of-town summer visitors. And this will be the third summer in a row that conditions beyond our control will negatively impact visitation.

  12. Ghost:
    Megan’s hair is fine, but I’m not particular. Don’t remember Janis w/ a bun below. Was glad when bouffant died out, & sorry to hear it’s coming back. Elaine had beautiful long red hair for ages, but mostly wore it in a ponytail. Was distressed when she said she’d switch to short hair, but delighted with the pageboy or whatever. When she left, it was down to boy-cut of some sort, w/ grey sideburns, which was fine.
    What I dislike is long, unrestrained hair that must be continually brushed back out of a woman’s face or off her shoulders. My successor at BSU had hair like that, but is really attractive w/ short hair. There could be gray in it now, for all I know. Last time I saw them* was at our broker’s Christmas party [*her & our broker.] Damn COVID-19!

  13. Jimmy (if I may be so bold) – I am 67 yrs old, & I have been reading A&J from the very beginning, first in the newspaper, then on-line. Obviously, one of my favorites, but may I add, “of all time” ?!? (Anybody know how to format an ‘interrobang’?). You’re observations are so spot-on, and you manage to do it in a humorous way. Any time you are feeling a little low, just think of all your loyal fans out there who are along for the ride and know that we would all be more than willing to stand you drink in your favorite bar!

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