Quoth the madman: “Beetle Bailey, you slay me!”
There’s a crazy guy who takes the same bus as I do in the morning. He’s got crazy hair, a crazy long goatee like he’s some demented Flemish painter, and he’s always carrying a crazy stack of about a dozen copies of the free transit newspaper. But what sets him apart as truly crazy is his sheer furiousness. He’s got obvious anger management problems. I assume that one day I’ll be forced to put this mad dog down, but until then, I just sit and watch.
I’ve heard him tell off drivers innumerable times. He’s gone on free-associative rants so astonishingly sustained and wide-ranging that I’ve wanted him to get his own talk-radio show. He’ll be sitting quietly, then suddenly jump up, tear off his jacket, and start furiously trying to wrench the windows open (even in the dead of winter) because he’s had all the heat he can take and he can stand no more. And I’ve heard him publicly call for the death of Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion in a traffic accident because she’s underfunding the bus-window budget and he can’t get them open.
Today, he didn’t do any of those things. He just sat there quietly, reading the comic page of his newspaper. And laughing out loud.
When was the last time you laughed out loud at a comic strip? They’re inaccurately named, really; there’s not a lot that’s comic about them. I’ve long appreciated the form, but I’ll be the first to admit that almost any strip on the comic page is pretty lame. Don’t get me wrong; Hagar the Horrible, for example, isn’t exactly horrible, but it’s pretty mediocre. It fills the time, and that’s about all you can or should expect. My usual reaction to reading a comic strip is somewhere between I have read a comic strip and Well, that wasn’t a very good comic strip. At best, I might chuckle inwardly. And that’s at the best of the best.
But this guy? Laughing out loud. And not just at one strip. I’m willing to concede that there’s the rare strip that might tickle your funny bone just the right way and elicit an audible chuckle. But he was deriving repeated belly laughs from various strips. I suppose it’s good that this guy isn’t angry all the time, that he has the odd light moment. But still — laughing out loud at the comic page? That’s just not normal. That’s perhaps the craziest thing I’ve seen him do yet.
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