Sunday, May 3, 2009

Billy's taking charge

I learned cynicism at a very early age from, of all places, "The Family Circus." 

Even as a 7 year-old, I found it maudlin, repetitive and ripe for ridicule. Every day, the single-panel comic strip had the same plot contrivances: Grape soda is spilled, all the kids say "Not Me" and a smirking ghost named "Not Me" sneaks away; dorky Dad asks Billy to run a simple errand and he walks around the house, jumps on the bed, eats cookies and completes a labyrinthine circuit before, 45 minutes later, takes out the trash; bratty Dolly tattles on Jeffy for a mild transgression like praying with his eyes open; and one of the kids asks an aw-shucks, so cute-it's poignant question.

There's also my favorite: Artist/dork Dad goes on vacation and leaves 8-year-old Billy in charge. He draws crude cartoons that make his father and mom look like Do-Do birds. It was the redeeming feature of the strip for me -- an anarchic, Kids Rule the Roost takedown of The Man -- until I realized the Billy had been 8 for three years, his drawing never improved and the artist, Bill Keane, was pulling a fast one on impressionable minds.

Thirty years later, I'm pulling my own "Family Circus" routine, but this time, it's legit. I am going on a blogging vacation for at least a month, and Mo is taking over. For 18 months, the division of labor on the blog has been thus: I write 'em; she edits 'em, hectoring me until I tone down the over-the-top metaphors and -- horror of horrors -- get my facts straight. Usually, I complain, scream, stomp my feet in protest and relent. After five-plus years, I am beginning to learn a few things about marriage.

Mostly, I'm eager for a break from the computer and want to enjoy the sunshine. But I want to keep the blog going and feel I haven't maintained the quality or quantity I'd like in the past few months.

I am excited to share the wealth. Mo is a great writer, quite funny and spins a good yarn without resorting to obscure pop-culture references. She has a perspective that I, as a knuckle-dragging, hard-salami-eating male, lack. Plus, let's face it, after 18 months anything could use some new blood. After a while, I acknowledge some of my posts so verged toward self-parody that they nearly read like Mad Libs.

_____________ (Outdated saying), Hope is _______ (verb ending in 'ing') her pacifier with the vigor of ________ ('70s TV show star) cruising with  Herbie the Love Bug or _________ (Cold War figure) banging his _______ (article of clothing) on ________ (piece of furniture.)

So no more ado. I'm eager for Big Mo to get started. And remember: The dorkwad dad in "Family Circus" always came back.


heidi @ ggip said...

Maybe you can "guest post" on your own blog?


Aunt Molly said...

See ya dorkwad...bring it on Mo!

Justttt kiddingg, Joelie. I love your posts :) But I am eager to read a good post by M.Feighan-Kurth.

Love you all!

beth said...

I predict a two-week hiatus before you get wiggy and come crawling back! Enjoy your break and the sunshine. (If you get any - in CT, it went from 90 to 55/rainy for the past week. Brrrr.)

Let's go, Feighan-Kurth! Maybe you two can have a MF blog-off like on Project Runway ... hee!

Anonymous said...

So, Mo = the never-aging, always-annoying Billy? I doubt it! Bring it on, Mo!

I'm with Beth, but I'll give Joel four weeks. He has new video toys and won't be able to resist.

Meanwhile, what's up with our favorite tiny redhead?

Grandma K.