Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 8/29/07

Artist's Statement

This week’s cartoon is a sort of belated follow-up to my old drawing "The Miracles of Jim" (included in my first collection). It is also, more importantly, a testament to my old and good friend John Patton, who died unexpectedly last week in Baltimore. Readers of The Pain have seldom seen John depicted in my cartoons, because he explicitly forbade me ever to do so. I believe I made only one exception, in "The Slums of Heaven" (November 21, 2001). Jim Fisher occasionally included him in his birthday cartoons—he’s the one represented by an upside-down U of curly hair and a pair of googly-eyed glasses.) John was a Christian, and I am an atheist, and we had a sixteen-year-long running argument over matters moral and metaphysical. He made me read the impenetrable allegorical novels of Charles Williams. He mock-reproached me as an "unabashed moral relativist." We drank a great deal of beer. (More unfathomable to me than his Christianity was his obstinate fondness for Busch.) He considered it a minor victory to get me to admit that we don’t know why the universe is here. We came to a gentlemen’s agreement that I could make fun of Christianity and the South all I wanted, but I was to refrain from mocking golf. This agreement I honored. John read my cartoon every week and never failed to compliment me on my latest, though he complained about the print edition being difficult to read in bars, and was sometimes dismayed by the bitterness and vitriol of my artist’s statements. He told me I was a better person than I pretended to be.

We always think we’ll see everyone at least one more time. We might not. If you keep thinking of giving old so-and-so a call or getting together sometime soon or making that extravagantly generous gesture or telling them you love them, maybe you should do it today.

BACK TO The Pain Homepage

Webmaster's Disclaimer