Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
I came up with this cartoon idea
a couple of years ago, when I was living in Fell's Point. One Friday night
my roomates and I made the mistake of leaving our own neighborhood to explore
neighboring Canton, a waterfront area which in the last few years had become
trendy. It turned out to be a repulsive place, for ordinary people--dress
codes, cover charges, lines outside of bars and clubs. One place wouldn't
let Jim in because he was wearing shorts. We finally found a great little
dive where we could drink National Bohemian for ninety cents a can with friendly
old drunks who empathized with our incredulity and disgust, and agreed that
only someone utterly lacking in self-respect would be seen standing in line
to get in someplace.
Plus, whenever you're trying to get
to the same place everyone else is, it's a sure sign that that place is going
to suck. Just this last weekend Allison and the irrepressible Michael Lynch
and I undertook what we thought would be a pleasant day trip to meet a friend
in Cape May, New Jersey. We'd forgotten about Beach Traffic. It was the first
weekend in August and everyone in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, was
heading to the beaches in their minivans with their kids' faces in the back
windows and those storage shells strapped on top. We had been looking forward
to riding the ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, but when we saw the
backup on the highway south we turned around and took the Delaware Memorial
Bridge instead. But there were traffic jams all across southern New Jersey,
too, and it took us five hours to get there instead of the projected three.
When we finally got there, tired and ill-tempered, the woman who ran the bed
and breakfast where our friend was staying was suspicious and unhelpful and
surly. Then we learned that 1.) you have to pay to get onto the beach
in Cape May, as though someone owned and maintained the Atlantic Ocean, and
2.) most of the restaurants in town don't serve alcohol. Like, what the
fuck? Cape May turns out to be a sort of creepy heaven for rich white
people--white meaning really, really white--no gay people, no Jews, nobody
interesting at all, just high-income suburbanites with their young teenage
kids. It is horrible. We looked for vacancies for about an hour and a half,
but there wasn't one room anywhere in the whole town. So we drove back home.
A completely wasted day. The lesson we learn from this: never go anywhere.
Okay. I didn't mean to get off on that whole rant about Cape May. But it does
reinforce the point that anytime you are standing in line or stuck in traffic,
it means that something has gone seriously wrong with your life. One of the
few advantages of having eccentric, geeky tastes and despising the stuff that
everyone else enjoys--like going to the beach for the weekend or fashionable
clubs on Friday night--is that you don't usually have to put up with other
people. "Other fucking people," as my friend Benjamen Walker calls
them. I mean, you never have to stand in line for revivals of Barry Lyndon
or shoulder your way through crowds at Holy Modal Rounders shows. Waiting
in line is just a tacit admission that you are no better than anyone else.
It is for losers. I'm sorry, I realize this makes me sound like a snob but
that is because I am a snob. I believe I am better than other people. That
may sound conceited, but when you look at the other people in the world, it's
not saying much.
So at first I'd imagined a long line of people waiting to get shat upon--which
I have no doubt they would, if it was, say, Madonna or Oprah Winfrey or Regis
Philbin doing the shitting. But then I realized, no, they should be shot in
the head and dragged off, one by one. If I'd had enough time and space I would've
shown their bodies being stripped of their fancy clothes and dumped in a heap.
I included some acquaintances of mine in the line in this cartoon, just because
you gotta draw someone, but I did not intend to imply that they are the sorts
of people who would stand in line outside of trendy night spots or that they
should necessarily be shot, and I hope they will not take offense at the use
of their likenesses here.
I finally got around to drawing this cartoon because the City Paper
is changing the format of my cartoon to a vertical one, and this composition
had to be horizontal. So I end my days of horizontality with this, the most
horizontal cartoon I have ever drawn. Next week I have to start thinking up
things that are both funny and vertical. Besides the obvious.