Sunday, February 19, 2012

Curtis Learns about Death

Ray Billingsley’s comic strip for today’s Curtis is rather a departure from his usual offerings.  Curtis is basically a hedonistic kid driven by little more than self-indulgence;  but today he had a more sobering experience.  It came at the barber shop, where Gunther (who never gets Curtis’ name right) has closed for business in order to throw a big party.  The party turns out to be for the death of his uncle, which left Curtis more than a little perplexed.

Half of the strip is Gunther’s explanation monologue:

He said if we had to remember him with tears, it’s be better not to remember him at all

He no longer has to bother with all the bull life hands out!

No more struggling to pay the rent, low-class reality shows, clueless politicians, or neighbors who don’t act very neighborly!

Heck, we oughta cry when babies get born into this messy world, and celebrate when we leave and go on to glory!!

Curtis delivers the punch line with a wistful look on his face as he leaves the barber shop:

I’ve never thought about it that way before …!

Of course “that way” has been a significant element in the history of just about every major religion:  Life is pain;  death is relief from pain.  It was only with the emergence of a secular society motivated by little more than its addiction to consumerism that we saw a change in this positive outlook on death.  Now this ancient message has become comic strip material;  and, if that is not some kind of barometer indicating just how “messy” (as Gunther put it) the world has become, I don’t know what is!

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