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It's All Gary Larson's (the Far Side) Fault

Jan 17, 2008
I was a power-type-of-guy in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1980's. I had a cushy job, and wore nice clothes. I resided near the Smithsonian on Capital Hill, a place I rarely frequented unless company was in from out of town.

The phone rang about 3 p.m one Thursday. It was my two friends Julie and Beverly, originally from Mississippi like me, and now my neighbors on The Hill. I was being invited to a Far Side exhibit at the museum. I wanted to sleep. They talked me into going.

Don't misunderstand why I wanted to stay home, given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I loved and still love The Far Side, but at the end of the day I was usually exhausted and the though that went through my head was, "Why wait in a long line for an exhibit, when I can simply open the Post or Times any day of the week and there's The Far Side.

They were persistent and I got dressed. They picked me up and we were on our way. The lines, though long, moved quickly and the exhibit was beyond my wildest imagination. The panel cartoons had been blown up onto 5 or 6 foot poster boards and were hanging from the ceiling. Many of them were my favorites from the past.

The blown up paperboard only served to make the Far Side better and funnier. The details that made it so brilliant were no longer so subtle or hidden. It was like Disneyland.

Suddenly a feeling came over me that I can't explain. It was an odd one and not very comfortable. Though I laughed and chatted with my friends about our favorites throughout the event, I remember the discomfort that I couldn't seem to shake.

I tossed and turned most the night, still wondering why I felt so sad. Then it hit me. When I had been a college student, in Dallas, at about age nineteen, I wrote close to a thousand offbeat single panel cartoons (this was in 1974), many of them in a similar spirit to The Far Side.

Rule number one: Never show your parents any lofty dreams no matter what your age, especially if they are full-blown business professionals. MY mom hated them and insisted my dong my homewwork first and then deciding. I did my homework but had already decided. I just didn't know how or when, only that it would somebady happen

I remembered sharing them with mom and her negative response, but, I remember thinking, "Even if Mom is not around, I would still be scared to launch such a project for fear that people had thought I lost it". It was then that I realized Gary Larson was not just a cartoonist but a brave pioneer in the world of print journalism.

If anyone thinks art is not a powerful medium, think again. It cultipated me from obscurity to heavy Interet saturation.

The motto of this story is "build it and they will come"; though that was not my favorite Kevin Kostner quote of his movie career. But the concept is true. If one focuses hard enough on a project or profession, sooner or later, something will break. The secret is being patient enough to hang in there until it does.
About the Author
Rick London once considered himsself a failure in every apect of his life. Now he owns 8 e-stores and a main cartoon site of offbeat incredibly funny cartoons It's All Gary Larson's Fault
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