There was a time when I was around seven or so when I was pretty much confident I could either be Bigfoot or live with him. Did I carry a lot of lead paint-saturated toys in my mouth as a child? Possibly. But Harry and the Hendersons clinched it for me that Bigfoot was awesome and probably just misunderstood. If I could find him, domesticate him and train him to play tag, we would be the best of friends for all eternity. It was as foolproof a plan as I had ever devised.
For a solid year I was all about Bigfoot. I even attempted an expedition to track him down about a block from my house. I found tracks that I at first thought were his but later decided were probably just hobo tracks or “bum shufflins.” I lived in a really shitty part of town.
Have you ever seen a person who claims to have seen Bigfoot? These are the people that carnies turn away at the gates to the circus because they can’t handle the stress of this kind of shit. As I grew older, my mind wrestled with the realization that one of two things was occurring – either Bigfoot was a hoax or he had a preternatural attraction to mental retardation of the most dire sort.
If I wanted to teach Bigfoot a lesson I’d have to go toe-to-toe with him in a manner he’d understand: cold brutality. Now, arguably, fighting a beast I’d just acknowledged had let me down by virtue of not actually existing would be a bit of a challenge but if I’d learned nothing else from numerous montages in 80s fight films it was that no adversary could stand up to a dude who’d gone through one. Bigfoot was in for some shit.
I’m gonna kick you right in your hairy chest box. Pussy.I did some Googling to find some cryptozoologists, the people who study things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster while pretending to be actual scientists and not just despicable frauds who waste other people’s valuable time. Once I found one willing to talk to me on the phone, I laid it out bluntly: How can I kill Bigfoot with my bare hands, or at least mess him up real bad? My cryptozoologist friend began explaining how Bigfoot is obviously a very endangered and peaceful being of high intelligence. I had to cut him off. I don’t give a fig if he’s the hairy, bastard child of Stephen Hawking and Mother Theresa, the son of a bitch stole my hopes and dreams and he’ll be lucky if he gets away with a black eye and some ball kicks. I was hung up on. A guy who pretends to study Bigfoot for a living was too professional to continue our discussion. This Bigfoot rabbit hole full of bullshit goes very deep. Regardless, once the ninja stars I ordered off the Internet show up he’s going to wish he never existed. Which he doesn’t.
When I was a kid, Garfield was hilarious. Sometimes I think he still is and the stuff that gets published now is just a cruel joke that masks the unbridled hilarity of a bygone era. Mostly I realize what a sad fiction that is, however and that Garfield is about as funny as bloody stool.
Jon represented to me the awesomeness inherent in everyone. He wasn’t a superhero, he was just a guy with a smart ass cat and a really stupid dog and every week his life was laid out before me in three panels and each panel was packed to the brim with fantasticness. His hijinks became my hijinks. His plight was the plight of us all--just an average person trying to deal with every day shit. And an obese pet.
I’ll never forget the day I realized Jon Arbuckle was completely fucktarded. It happened quite by accident when I was perusing the comics and had just finished reading Hagar the Horrible, perplexed as to what the fuck Hagar the Horrible was doing in existence. And then, as I looked over to Garfield, I saw that he had stolen Jon’s lasagna and I thought, “Why doesn’t dude just stop making lasagna?”
Man, that is one wicked huge gunt.The entire Garfield house of cards came crashing down with that one, simple question. Why, Jon? Why the fuck do you make lasagna when you know your cat, the one who has thumbs and a fairly extensive vocabulary, is going to take it and eat it? He’s been doing it since the 1970s. I had felt a kinship with Jon and it was only because I was eight-years old and had no idea that the same thing told 100 different ways isn’t funny. Jon had no depth. He had no soul. It was no different than falling in love with an inflatable woman, something I’ll never do again after Patrice. Vengeance I had to teach Jim Davis a lesson. As the creator of Garfield, he was the god of the false prophet to which I had devoted so much of myself. But how does one exact vengeance on a grandfatherly cartoonist? I spent nearly a week and a half trying to get in touch with someone from the estate of Charles Shultz--a man whom I assumed had killed a few upstart cartoonists in his day--with no success. Instead, I managed to get hold of a junior editor at my local paper, which runs Garfield. It was a start. When I asked him what cartoonists hate most, he had no idea. When I asked him if the Garfield comics that get sent to the paper have a return address he informed me they don’t get mailed individually to each newspaper. When I asked him if he thought I could destroy Jim Davis’s hopes and dreams, he said he had to go. The lesson learned? Newspaper editors make for shitty Mr. Miyagis. Finally the answer hit me: furious mockery. I would go online and rewrite the text of Garfield comics to turn them into soul-sodomizing digs at the author!