March 31, 2007 12:00 AM
The Joy of Opening Day
I live in the Toy Department. In newspaper lingo that means I work in Sports. For me it goes beyond that. I'm a cartoonist who works in sports. I remember a friend of mine visiting me in the office one time. He looked around at the pens and markers and colored pencils strewn all around the white sheet of paper taped to the middle of my drawing board. "Kindergarten," he said. "You never got out of kindergarten." It's true really. In my studio at home I'm surrounded by statues of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Underdog and the Lone Ranger. It kind of takes a grown man with the heart of a child to do this job. I guard against growing up for fear it will render me useless as someone who draws funny pictures for a living. Things like grief, which I experienced twice in the last few years (losing my wife to cancer and my father to Parkinson's) can extinguish the creative flame quickly. Things like worry or fear or despair can slowly erode the creative spirit, making it less sharp and less expressive. So I've learned to cherish the small things that can keep it all alive.
Things like Opening Day bring out the child in all of us. I love the newness of the season, unspoiled and unscathed. The sky is the limit. It's a new year. Let's Play Two.
Things like comic books and great sitcoms or comedies. I love old TV like the Thunderbirds, Sky King, The Lone Ranger, Fireball XL 5, as well as old cartoon classics like Underdog, The Jetsons and Flintstones. They are my creative lifeblood. And I cling to them more with each passing day.