Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?

Updated 01/14/09


Artist's Statement

This is, in fact, a censored version of this cartoon; the original, which was closer to my heart if not necessarily funnier, was more literal and less metaphorical, more like straight memoir than roman á clef. I decided to alter it not so much because it was petty or spiteful as because I felt it was too craven and passive-aggressive a way of airing such gripes. So you get the middle-school Anti-Krieder [sic] Club instead of the slightly more adult but no less heartrending story of my actual defriending, and the lovable Ziggy in lieu of my real-life cartoon nemesis, at whose vindictive whim I was indeed disinvited from participating in a panel on political cartoons at the Small Press Expo this fall.

The unflattering caricature of me on the classroom door is drawn, from memory, after one drawn by an attendee at the SVA open house where I gave a presentation last week, and if its author will send a scan of it to me as promised to remind me of her name I will give her due credit for it.

Of these tantalizing matters I can speak only in dark allusions. However, I am perfectly willing to forego artsy coyness and hold forth at length about the dull inspiration for the first panel, which was my horrible computer trouble. Suffice it to say that it seemed the time had come for me to buy a new computer. (Note to well-intentioned tech-savvy readers: please for the love of God do not write me with advice about buying a new computer. Nothing could be more boring except sending me photos of your kids.) All I wanted is what I always want whenever I go to replace something: exactly the same thing I had before. I don't need twice the gigabytes or RAM or megapixels or centons or whatever; I never even used like 14% of the capacity I had on my risibly obsolete computer. I've often wished, as a consumer rather than a citizen, that I lived in some Soviet Russia-like state where there was exactly one make and model of everything, so that when you needed new shoes, say, you'd just go to the store, ask for a size 10, and that was it, you'd be done, you'd have your goddamn shoes, nstead of having to choose between forty different brands of shoes that like a very complex and uninteresting game of "Can You Spot the Differences?" But of course the same thing you had before is never available anymore. Always the features you particularly liked have been discontinued or replaced with new, improved, much worse features. The large, squarish matte screen I am used to has gone the way of Mint Snapple, and now all the screens are squished narrow and elongate and for some reason they're all glossy, reflecting with hi-def clarity every lamp and window in the room as well as your own big dumb face. Plus they've inexplicably eliminated ports for Firewire in favor of the new, improved, older and slower USB ports. This is all just about unbearably dull even to describe, much less actually learn about and deal with. Suffice it to say I just ended up getting the old computer fixed at considerable expense and inconvenience rather than get a new one. Perhaps if I wait long enough, that thing I like will come back in style.

As for our last panel, probably the less said about this, the better. It would be ungracious of me to complain about it to you, my readers, the only people who actually do appreciate (or at least idly enjoy the fruits of) my genius. Listing one's grievances turns out not to be a particularly healthy or constructuve exercise, and I do not recommend it.

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