My Old Autobiocomix

So I’m doing a “konmari” on my house and getting rid of… just the most stuff. In this process, I stumbled across a folder collecting a ton of my old drawings, including this weird experiment I tried for about three months back in 2013 – creating a single image of something that happened to me each day. I’ve been holding onto these drawings for years, but I think it’s time to let them go…

…right after I photograph them and share them all one last time.


I spent a lot of time in 2013 really concerned about being lonely for the rest of my life. I’d also grown a beard, which was pretty momentous, and I started working as a manager for a health care clinic, suddenly making more money than I ever in my life thought I would.


Most days I’d go out jogging for about fifteen/twenty minutes. That was about all I could stand.


I was REALLY into cartoons. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was, and remains, a pure favorite.


I did most of these drawings in less than fifteen minutes apiece. My sense of the human figure wasn’t the best: I look wildly different from one day to the next. Interestingly, though, I made the choice to try to capture exactly what I wore each day. I’m pretty sure I still own the shorts in the upper-right corner.


The thing that stands out the most in each of these pictures that show me at work is how much, even then, I felt worn down by my job. Being a manager nearly killed me.


So apparently I have played the “penis game” at least once in my life. I have no memory of this.


I found a bunch of pretty interesting ways to depict “I just worked a lot.”


I used to throw “Saturday Morning Cartoon Parties,” where I’d get a bunch of my adult friends and their kids together to watch a bunch of different cartoons and eat cereal. We’d watch Batman: The Animated Series, DuckTales, and, of course, My Little Pony. I actually recall Jem and the Holograms being a particular favorite… for certain values of the word “favorite.”


I used to belong to this amazing book club. We read several books that I still consider personal favorites to this day, including My Name is Asher Lev, The Butterfly Mosque, and East of Eden. Pretty sure that’s what’s going on in the upper-left corner here.


Weirdly enough, I think my favorite drawings from this bizarre time of my life are the ones of me just hanging out in the kitchen and cooking.


I don’t think I’ve ever paid as much attention to pop music as I did during the summer of 2013, where I must have heard Justin Timberlake’s “Mirror” literally hundreds of times. What a stinker of a song.


Setting aside how bizarre the body proportions in these pictures frequently were, I kinda loved the attention I showed to certain unflattering details, like my developing potbelly or the sweat spots in my arm pits.


…or the water I splashed onto my pants while washing the dishes.


Put a gun to my head, and I doubt I could tell you why I drew what appears to be a jheri curl on my little brother.


I also still have this same bedspread that I drew myself sitting or reading on. Now it’s got a huge hole in it, and the stuffing’s falling out. Trouble is my current house is pretty cold, so I never feel like I can afford to get rid of any blankets.


And here it is: an honest to goodness family portrait, drawn by me. My family’s grown by two more munchkins since then.


In all of the dejunking I’m currently going through, my fiancée has forbidden me to throw away my copy of Midnight’s Children. I should probably try to finish that one again.


Church was a much bigger part of my life during the summer of 2013. I remember making regular trips to the local temple, and, although I have no memory of the “shave your legs” conversation, I’m pretty sure I had it with a young man with Down’s syndrome who went to the same congregation as me.


Although I’d already begun preparations to buy a house, it was housesitting for my brother while he went on vacation that really cemented the idea in my head. I’d be in a house with a life-crushing mortgage less than three months after these drawings were done.


Now we start to see the reason why I didn’t keep these drawings going. As an office manager, I oversaw three employees who kept the clinic running. Here, Employee #1 turns in her two-weeks’ notice.

Also, I hope y’all will like this blog, because apparently that’s something really important to me 🙂

Employee #2 hands in her two-weeks’ notice as well. I must have been feeling the stress, because I made the completely bonkers decision to shave my beard off.

And there goes Employee #3. At this point, I haven’t had a chance to replace any of them yet. For the next month, I ran the clinic by myself, working 12-hour days with no social life and no additional pay. But hey – at least I was still in the middle of buying a house and signing a mortgage.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I actually remember this weekend pretty vividly: hours on end, watching Lost from the warm, numbing embrace of a giant Love Sac.

And that’s it. Apparently, the last thing I did before giving up on this whole experiment was catch a screening of Starship Troopers, which I believe was accompanied by Rifftrax commentary, although I can’t be sure now.

After this, my life changed pretty dramatically. I finally got three new employees hired, I moved into my new house, and I grew the beard back. I’m pretty glad I attempted this project for as long as I did, and I’d even consider trying it again.

Someday, maybe. After the wedding. When life finally calms down again.

Anybody else hear that music?

Mr. A and the Junior-High Wedding Spree

 I don’t know if you guys have this experience, but the more I think back on the experiences I had with teachers growing up, the more I start to wonder if some of the quirks I found so endearing in them were grounded in anything resembling sanity.Take, for example, my junior high Spanish teacher, whom I’ll call “Mr. A” just in case he’s still teaching and, you know, some of his activities wind up not actually being legal.

Mr. A had been teaching a long time before I made it to junior high.  He’d actually taught my oldest brother, who would come home with stories about the peculiar things Mr. A had done that day.  So I already knew the man by reputation before ever starting class with him.

Here’s one quirk: everyone in the class got a nickname, usually a mite embarrassing, frequently terribly long.  Mr. A probably spent about ten minutes every day calling roll.

For example, my brother got called “Joe Blow From Kokomo Sucks His Toe All the Way to Mexico.”  A buddy of mine got “Coxy Loxy Turkey Lurkey Chicken Little.”  Another guy in my class, named Rory, was called “Roar the Snore Bore.”*

Mr. A kept two things of note on his desk.  The first was a squirt bottle filled with water.  Anyone caught sleeping or mouthing off in class immediately got squirted.  Sometimes, if he was feeling particularly bored, Mr. A would just squirt the whole class to liven things up.  The closer we got to the end of the school year, the more likely the squirt gun would simply be replaced by an actual squirt gun, or even something with a little more force behind it.

The other possession was the infamous gum jar.  If you had gum in your mouth after the bell rang, you had to deposit their gum in the jar.  By the end of the year, the jar always accumulated a pretty noticeable pool of saliva at the bottom, and if you think no student ever thought to spike Mr. A’s drink with that accumulation, then you’ve probably never been to a junior high school in the United States.  Those incidents usually ended in physical violence.

Did I mention Mr. A always walked around leaning heavily on a golf club?  Yeah, if the squirt gun wasn’t dramatic enough, he’d hit the desks of sleeping students.  Now, I’m not saying he ever missed, but there were certainly rumors.

Probably the strangest of Mr. A’s many, many idiosyncrasies was his tendency to marry classmates off to each other.  If he saw that two students were getting the same score consistently on their homework, he assumed they were studying together.  Naturally, if they were studying together, they must be going steady.  And if they were going steady, then obviously they’d want to get married, and Mr. A was just the guy to do it.

During the “wedding,” the lovely couple would be forced to stand, as Mr. A recited, verbatim, “By the power vested in me by the state of Utah, HJ high school, and because I damn well want to:  Zap!  You’re married!”

To get a divorce, the girl would have to bring a note from home, signed by her mother.

The one time I got married, the girl brought the note the very next day.  Now, I’m not saying that’s what caused my commitment issues.  I’m just saying that junior high is a very sensitive time for many people, and the things that happen to them during those years could have repercussions for decades to come.

 

*Me?  I just got called “Braddy Buns.”  And, yes, that is basically the origin of where my online handle came from.

Mad Mad Magical Girl

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Funny thing… I’ve always has a soft spot for cool female action protagonists.  Heck, going back to when I was a kid, I really liked characters like April O’Neil from Ninja Turtles, Gadget Hackwrench from Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, and Jenny.

You know, Jenny?

The telepathic cat alien from Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars?

Sometimes, when I describe my life, I feel like I’m having a seizure.

Old Shame

Back when I was in high school, I was part of an a cappella quintet.  we fancied ourselves something of a boy band, like N’Sync or O-Zone.

(Look it up.)

So convinced we were of our own talent that we spent several thousand dollars of our (parents’) money to rent a recording studio and create roughly five-hundred copies of an album we cut.

It… wasn’t very good.  But we were proud of it.

Years later, I only talk of my boy band experience with great shame and a sudden irresistible urge to change the subject as quickly as possible.

I still have some of the dance moves, though.