Category Archives: Pogo

The Voice of the Turtle

Before there was Opus and Bloom County, Michael Doonesbury and Walden Puddle, Calvin and Hobbes in their spaceship box, and Alice on her manhole cover in Cul-de-Sac, there was a swamp in Georgia inhabited by Pogo Possum and his friends. The swamp was furnished with tree-stump homes with never-locked doors, flat-bottom boats with ever-changing names, fallen log pillows always near at hand, and endless time for big dreams, small-minded schemes, and more than occasional wisdom.

Walt Kelly was the creator of this world. He is a hero to me.

When I feel caught in a maelstrom of conflicting, negative news (all too often in these days of the 24/7/365 news cycle) I find it useful to dig out my old Pogo collections, drift into the lagoons of Okefenokee Swamp and jettison my final consonants. I drop in on Pogo’s home to see what he might have in the larder for lunch; whether he’s home or not – don’ matter – door don’ have a lock an’ he don’ mind.

With any kind of luck at all I’ll avoid crossin’ paths with Wiley Catt, or Mole, Deacon Rat, or Sarcophagus MacAbre the funereal buzzard; who needs that negativity? I’ll delight if I happen to run across Freemount Bug and receive his universal assurance that everything is “Jes fine.”

And then there’s that giddily chirping turtle in his pirate hat; Churchy LaFemme. Churchy’s lament from the 1950’s resonates with my own reactions to the news reports from the last few weeks.

“…I is doin’ my duty as a citizen…night an’ day! Lyin’ awake worryin’ at night – afeared to sleep in case I gits blowed up in my bed an’ never knows! An’ all day – scannin’ the sky – not knowin’ when…wonderin’ whether to wear pajamas that night so’s to be found decent – wonderin’ whether to take a bath…whether to pack a light lunch.”

I know the feelin’.

It’s reassuring to me to know we fretted about the viability of our world 60 years ago – that we didn’t invent the urgency we currently feel – that it all might be solvable and survivable.

That light lunch sounds good too.

“You Nugatory Nullifidian!” – Walt Kelly

It seems the primary news topic (nay, make that the only news topic) of the last week is the litany of peccadillos and self-inflicted crises of the Trump campaign, all of which auger impending doom, whether we elect him or don’t – doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t.

I’m as fascinated (a useful euphemism for “terrified”) by all these revelations and speculations as the next guy, but I wonder if in the maelstrom of threats to the Trump campaign, we’re not missing a couple.

A friend of mine posted today about the very real possibility of Mr. Trump running out of voting groups to insult. Oh sure, he has yet to attack Eskimos or the Amish, but at the rate he’s proceeding he’ll get to them within days and then what? I have no good suggestions to offer on this quandary…except…meekly, mind you…to suggest terminating the insults and attacks? It’s just an outré thought.

And there’s also the problem of the sameness of the insults themselves, from everyone. I weary of hearing about people being “dopey” and “losers”. I’m tired of hearing Mr. Trump describe everything Trumpian as “incredible” and “huge”. I glaze over hearing his detractors describe him as “narcissistic” and “misogynistic”. We have 90+ days to go before we vote. If vocabularies don’t expand, we’ll all go nuts. If that happens, we’ll vote for a nut. That can’t be the best business plan.

Sometimes, when faced with a serious consideration like this, I seek outside guidance. Unlike Doc Ricketts in Steinbeck’s CANNERY ROW, I can’t go visit the Seer, and Oracle of Delphi is not on my speed dial. But, I do have a shelf-ful of Pogo books from the 50’s and early 60’s. In the Pogo strips, two of the denizens of the Okefenokee Swamp are the Cow Birds. These unsavory critters are uber-critics of everything wholesome and have a tortured vocabulary with which to express their views. I’m not encouraging any plagiarism here, just looking for inspiration. Imagine Mr. Trump referring to his myriad enemies as; “lesser pipsqueaks”. Or Ms. Clinton casting; “a pox on absentee landlordism!” Or Anderson Cooper decrying Mr. Trump’s answers to his questions as; “benighted paternalistic infantilism.”

Now THAT would lively.

And would keep me running to my dictionary.

Remember those?

The Voice of the Turtle

Before there was Opus and Bloom County, Michael Doonesbury and Walden Puddle, Calvin and Hobbes in their spaceship box, and Alice on her manhole cover in Cul-de-Sac, there was a swamp in Georgia inhabited by Pogo Possum and his friends. The swamp was furnished with tree-stump homes, flat-bottom boats, fallen log pillows always near at hand, and endless time for big dreams, small-minded scheming, and more than occasional wisdom.

Walt Kelly was the creator of this world. He is a hero to me.

When I feel caught in a maelstrom of conflicting, negative news (all too often in these days of the 24/7/365 news cycle) I find it useful to dig out my old Pogo collections, drift into the lagoons of Okefenokee Swamp and jettison my final consonants. I drop in on Pogo’s home to see what he might have in the larder for lunch; whether he’s home or not – don’ matter – door don’ have a lock an’ he don’ mind.

With any kind of luck at all I’ll avoid crossin’ paths with Wiley Catt, or Mole, or Deacon Rat; who needs that negativity? I’ll delight if I happen to run across Freemount Bug and receive his universal assurance that everything is “Jes fine.”

And then there’s that giddily chirping turtle in his pirate hat; Churchy LaFemme. Churchy’s lament from the 1950’s resonates with my own reactions to the news reports from the last few weeks.

“…I is doin’ my duty as a citizen…night an’ day! Lyin’ awake worryin’ at night – afeared to sleep in case I gits blowed up in my bed an’ never knows! An’ all day – scannin’ the sky – not knowin’ when…wonderin’ whether to wear pajamas that night so’s to be found decent – wonderin’ whether to take a bath…whether to pack a light lunch.”

I know the feelin’.

It’s reassuring to me to know we fretted about the viability of our world 60 years ago – that we didn’t invent the urgency we currently feel – that it all might be solvable and survivable.

That light lunch sounds good too.