Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 12/05/01

Artist's Statement

 I drew this from a rough draft I dug out of the big "Cartoon Fodder" file because I am in physical pain and it was Monday and I had no ideas, nothing, and didn't feel up to pulling off the sleight-of-hand miracle of coming up with a funny idea and drawing it before five o'clock. The physical pain is mysterious. I woke up last Sunday morning with terrible pain in my neck, upper back, left shoulder and arm, pain so unexpectedly bad that I thought I might faint at breakfast. At first I assumed this was related to my broken collarbone, which is on the same side, an injury I suffered a year and a half ago. But I went to see the same doctor who expensively monitored my collarbone's failure to heal, and he said he didn't think it had anything to do with that injury. This doctor is a lot more laid-back in his attitude toward my health than I'd like him to be. He just shrugged when I asked him what could have caused this. He circled the diagnosis "reticulitis" on the form, which means a shooting pain in the nerves, which is how I would've described it. Fifty-six dollars. I don't know why I bother going to doctors; never once has any doctor I've gone to for anything other than an emergency-room injury known what was wrong with me or been able to fix it. It's like whenever your drain is clogged, you go out and buy a bottle of Liquid Plumr, pour it in, and it doesn't work.

So here are my own private theories about the pain:

      1.) It is in fact related to the broken collarbone, just as it obviously seems to be, and my doctor is an incompetent fraud just like everyone else,
      2.) it's a delayed effect from a fenderbender I was in a month ago, in which a car owned by the archdiocese of Baltimore rear-ended me, in which case I will sue the collective ass of the Catholic Church, which I understand is loaded, or
      3.) it is a psychosomatic self-inflicted injury subconsciously intended to prevent me from drawing my cartoon anymore, which I have to tell you has become a joyless chore.

My doctor did at least give me a prescription for some painkillers. The painkillers do not actually kill the pain, of course, but they do get me high. Being high while also being in pain is better than just being in pain, but not as good as not being in pain. Meanwhile I haven't had a good night's sleep in over a week now, my left arm and fingers are numb, and it's very difficult to draw. So frankly, folks, I put in a C minus effort this week. I apologize. Hopefully it's funny enough for you, but I don't really care. I'm taking more Vicodin and watching the DVD of The Phantom Menace tonight. If I am still in this much pain next week I am shooting myself in the head, in which event there will be no cartoon that week.