Alley Oop! – It’s All in the Listening, Or It’s About the Other


Merry (belated) Christmas!

One early morning a couple of months ago the wife and I were going for a walk. Now, we’ve been married for almost 22 years, and, over time, there is little that one doesn’t reveal to the other. No, I’m not talking about shady secrets or anything like that. I’m talking about good things, fond memories, childhood interests, views on certain things of the world or not of the world.

The previous evening I had come across, on the ol’ internet, Alley Oop. Back in the late 70’s while my parents were contemplating moving the family to Tucson, AZ they subscribed to the Arizona Daily Star newspaper. In that paper’s funny pages was a strip called Alley Oop. It has been in constant production and syndication for many decades now. When I was reading it, Alley Oop was just transported by time machine into the present day by Dr. Elbert Wonmug. I was hooked on that storyline and eagerly awaited the Sunday edition of the ADS to show up every week.

Sometimes it wouldn’t show up for weeks!

It was one of the strips that got me into a somewhat brief interest in cartooning. I even produced an amateurish series called “Gepo” who was a butterball of an alien and his friend Tim. I think I may have been influenced by E.T. as well although my character style at that time was closer to Jim Davis (Garfield) and Mad’s Don Martin:


Don Martin’s influence on Jim Davis is pretty obvious… I don’t recall which one I came across first.

Anyway time passes – about 30 years – and I come across this childhood love of mine that had totally left my mind. I blabbed about it (probably too much) as we were walking and then I promptly forgot about it again. But my wife, bless her, is always listening (even when I am pretty sure she isn’t!) and today (because bedtime is still several hours away for me) I got the first two volumes of the Dark House Comics oversize format release of the Sundays.

That she remembered blew me away, I didn’t remember.

Then I got a chance to blow her away. This is a little less frequent as I have a severe mental disability. I cannot, except at certain tasks, be on one task at a time mentally. If you are talking to me I am most likely thinking about a story, some philosophical idea (even if our subject already is philosophy) wondering about time and space, the meaning of life – or the particular moment we are in and its relation to the cosmos, or staring at my hand and trying to viscerally imagine it as it will be in the future – dead flesh. Sometimes I even have to go back 10 to 20 pages in my reading because it can be that long before I realize that even though I was, technically, reading, I was not there to register or retain it.

In case you wonder if I live near you (so to avoid me on the road) driving is one of the tasks I can focus exclusively on. The other two I can think of is playing guitar and writing (which includes editing and researching and all that), oh, three drawing. Those three will keep my full focus. Luckily my job demands I focus on 20 things simultaneously and then forgetting it.

Yuck, am I babbling about myself? I criticize other people for this kind of narcissism! Ah well, it’s not like I’ve got you cornered in a small room or something.

So my wife was talking about something really cool that she liked that her friend had showed her back in October. It was a small thing that would normally be grunted at behind a newspaper in television land. One thing I like about the iPhone (I don’t do other products, sorry) is you can jot down reminder notes for later use. So I was grunting while I had my face in my phone because I was jotting down the product she was talking about for Christmas purchase.


That little figure sitting on the keys is called a Little Sad Keanu Reeves.



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