Vroom Bite Myth Drugs Death Poop


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All week long I’ve been fielding questions from readers about this NASCAR cartoon. It’s simple, really: Drivers get paid to wear logos and if this guy was taller, he’d have room for more and make more money. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what NASCAR stands for: Non-Articulate Snazzy-Car Appalachian Racecardriver.





Each winter (here in the U.S.) I do a handful of snowman gags and this year is no different. I got a letter from one reader who didn’t understand this one, and claimed nobody in her family could figure it out, either. I’m guessing they don’t have snow or rabbits in their part of the world. The simple answer is that snowpeople have carrot noses and rabbits eat carrots. Poor little snowboy. Fortunately, cosmetic surgery for snowmen is little more than a trip to the produce aisle.




I’ve long been interested in the unflagging drive of the human race toward superstition; everything from fear of the number 13 to belief in a higher power. Our brains are almost biologically hardwired to this kind of thing in that we find it irresistible to assign meaning to every little thing. When something out of the ordinary happens to anyone, anywhere, most people find it more logical to accept that an invisible, all-powerful, eternal force of the universe is behind it rather than simple coincidence.  How we as a society became so frightened of a random number like 13 is a matter for history, I suppose, but it is remarkable. Does anyone know if there are countries where 13 is used for floor numbers in buildings? Is it just the U.S. that has this phobia or are other places similarly affected? (I know I could google this but I’ve got to finish this blog and get back to work on Bizarro deadlines.)

I like pharmacy cartoons because the modern obsession with pharmaceuticals is a fascinating subject. Most of us would rather take a handful of drugs made of god-knows-what from god-knows-where than rely on a good diet and exercise or a natural remedy. I dislike drawing these kinds of cartoons because of all the extra work that goes into the products surrounding the counter, but it is a good chance to toss in some extra background jokes. Click on this cartoon to enlarge it if you can’t see the products here. You might get an extra chuckle. (In the interest of full disclosure, and so you don’t think I’m some sort of health snob, I’ve been on antidepressants for years and will be for the rest of my life. I’ve tried many times to find non-pharmaceutical answers to my depression but have failed.)


My good friend and cartoonist colleague, Dan McConnell sent me an idea of a 2B/not 2B T-shirt so I concocted this scenario to turn it into a cartoon. I like the result and hope some of you do, as well. I was attracted to melodrama, death, and suffering when I was a teen, too, and always thought it was just a normal stage, but perhaps it was the beginnings of my biological depression. (By the way, I’m fine now and am usually quite happy. :o) See?)





My last cartoon this week is an attempt to explain why birds poop on cars. It’s not the most highbrow cartoon I’ve ever drawn but it gave me a smile.


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57 thoughts on “Vroom Bite Myth Drugs Death Poop

  1. I thought the NASCAR one just had something to do with the statistic that taller men make more money than shorter men (on average). But of course that’s not NASCAR specific, so I guess I should have kept thinking.

    Also love the “Home-use Thingy.” They often come in handy!

  2. I think this week was one of your best, great job. About the depression thing, I would just say that you have less to be sad about than the rest of us because these comics are sure to be admired for generations. Great job!

    • Clinical depression is very different from the common human emotion of sadness. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Emotions fall within the realm of self-control. Clinical depression is a disease out of one’s control just like juvenile diabetes or epilepsy. This is an important distinction because it shows why the depressed person cannot just “snap out of it.” Good on ya’ Dan for sharing.

      • Yes, I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Tried every kind of therapy and mental trick I knew for years and could never shake the feeling that life sucked no matter how wonderful it was. When I was in my late thirties, I gave in and took a few little white pills and felt normal for the first time in my adult life. What a waste of suffering those years were.

  3. My unlucky number is eleven because when I was a boy my grandfather got run over & killed by a car on November 11, 1988.

    I hate that number.

  4. I take issue with your assertion that there are no unicorns. Next thing you’ll try to tell us is that there is no Bigfoot. Speaking of which, it’s been quite a while since you’ve done a Bigfoot cartoon…

  5. A bird pooped on our car yesterday. If that isn’t proof of a higher power then I guess there just ain’t one.

    I had to take anti-depressents for a couple of months last year (2 bad events happened to us concurrently making me almost catatonically depressed, then *my doctor* committed suicide, no foolin’, but I digress). I called them my “stupid pills”, since they made me noticeably mentally sluggish and physically a little wobbly. Do they have any similar effect on you, Dan, other than their intended function? I wonder if your exceedingly rare talent is in part enabled/enhanced by their effects. Strange and extraordinary things happen in the brain (e.g., accidental and other types of savants).

    I have to admit that I didn’t get the NASCAR one on my own – it’s rare for me to not “get” a Bizarro panel right away. Maybe if she had been more specific (“… if you were a foot taller you’d have more sponsors” or something a little less vague (but wittier).) Think of how rich a driver would be if he had a cape, or a 20 gallon hat, or those extendable wings Wiley Coyote had in his flying costume.

    • No, they don’t make sluggish or wobbly. The worst I can report is a slowing of sexual function but that’s not such a bad thing for a man. :o)

  6. Mr. Piraro,

    I’ve been a fan and a on and off folower for more than half of my life. (I’m 29) I’ve felt a resonance with your work from the begining as an artist myself. I will spare you my personal bio and go straight to my point. I never felt a greater urge to contact you as I do now after reading this entire blog.

    I just want to say thay I too suffered from depression (I went through a lot of tremendous abuse and suffering) once and I’ve known way too many who have and still do. Good thing, is that I had the most unbeliveable, incredible experience I ever had that transfod me to who I am today. I feel

    that you may benefit from my story. (Btw, it has absolutely nothing with religion incase you were thinking that) I am a free spirited artist just like you. You have inspired me greatly since

  7. Even if the floor doesn’t have a number it’s still the 13th floor… I guess that’s why superstition, religion doesn’t make sense if you think about it

  8. I have some friends here in Vancouver (Canada) that live on the fourth floor of their apartment complex, but because the number 4 is bad luck in Chinese culture (apparently because the word for 4 sounds like the word for death, or perhaps it is that the characters look similar, I forget), and there are so many people of Chinese descent in Vancouver their floor is labeled the 5th. I’m curious to see if this absurd trend will continue as we embrace more and more cultures and their traditions. Soon we may just go from the 1st floor to the 8th to the 12th and back to 1 again.

    As an aside their building doesn’t go as high as 13 (though I suppose it would only have to go to 12 to reach the 13th) so I don’t know if they would have skipped them both or skipped 4 instead of 13.

    Either way a great cartoon from a great cartoonist. Keep up the great work!

    Also we would love to see you for a comedy show in Vancouver, I can also give you the inside scoop on all the plentiful vegan options here.

    • I came here to say this. There’s also fewer “suites 304”, and so on in residential buildings. (Though, the nice thing about Vancouver’s love of Chinese numerology for gentlemen–or ladies–who don’t have much hair and prefer what remains to just be buzzed off: an abundance of “lucky” $8.88 barbershop haircuts. NB: I do not take advantage of this.)

  9. I noticed that at least 3 of the advertisers on the NASCAR driver suit are also products next to the counter in the pharmacy cartoon. Clever!

  10. re: “Our brains are almost biologically hardwired to this kind of thing in that we find it irresistible to assign meaning to every little thing.” Actually, they *are* hard-wired for this: our ancestors who assumed that the rustling in the grass was a leopard rather than the wind lived to pass on their genes when it turned out to really *be* a leopard.

    And I really, really want a “2B or not-2B” t-shirt! Do you or your syndicate (that always sounds sooo evil) have a goodies store?

  11. this always seems to help with my depression: lotsa praise!

    so… just love the little “extra” stuff you take the time to do… like the oddball products in the pharmacy and just how the trees fade away in the background of the bird poop panel. nice!

    i always believe that if you give people quality, they will appreciate quality.

    just ask honey boo-boo!

  12. In some countries, they don’t have a 4th floor – for similar superstitious reasons.

    I wish good diet/exercise were enough to help my depression. I keep trying alternate remedies too, but it doesn’t seem to work. So, antidepressants it is for me.

  13. Q: Does anyone know if there are countries where 13 is used for floor numbers in buildings? Is it just the U.S. that has this phobia or are other places similarly affected? (I know I could google this but I’ve got to finish this blog and get back to work on Bizarro deadlines.)

    A: Here in Malaysia it is the number 4, since most office buildings or any buildings for that matter are Chiense owned. The Mandarine pronounciation of 4 sounds a bit like how they would pronounce death.

    You wouldn’t have a problem finding the number 13 for buildings with 13 floors or more, but you wouldn’t find 4. It’s either G, 1, 2, 3, 3A, 5 and etc. For buildins only upto 4 floors the might do G, UG (upper ground wtf?), 1, 2, 3 (following the British, “G”, Ground Floor our equivalent to US’s 1st floor). Same nonsense with house numbers.

    (I haven’t been posting much, so I have the time to respond. Your comics are awseome btw.)

  14. I rarely find myself in a building with more than 10 floors but I think we don’t skip 13th floor in Croatia. Although, maybe we don’t build buildings taller than 12 floors because of our superstition :-)

  15. In Italy (as in the rest of Europe as far as I can remember) we do have 13th floor :) – In China I noticed there’s no 4th floor in most hotels… BTW, 13 is a lucky number here, our “feared” number is 17 because during the roman empire they would write it XVII and if you angram it VIXI would come out (meaning “I lived”). It’s curious how only a few numbers got the attention of nearly all present-and-past cultures all around the globe :)

  16. I know for sure that in most (if not all) European countries, buildings have a normally occupied and ‘counted’ thirteenth floor. Although 13 is known as a symbol for bad luck here too, I suppose we’re somewhat less superstitious. We’re a lot more secular as well (at least in Northern and Western Europe) and I’m pretty sure religiousness and being prone to superstition are related cultural characteristics.

  17. First of all I must say I love your cartoons! I had seen one by chance many years ago and I’m happy to find you blog!

    Back to your question, in Brazil we have 13th floor in almost every building, but the office of a previous job was on a building that didn’t have 13th floor, exactly were I worked, but renumbered as 14th. I believe it was to please American companies like Microsoft, DirecTV and so

  18. There is a building with a 13th floor. The Hotel Utica, in ( where else) Utica, NY, has a 13th floor.

    The buttons on the elevator go B, and 1 to 13.

    The y are rumored to be close to bankruptcy, maybe they should have skipped the 13th floor.


  19. For the record, I got the nascar one, but I think that’s because I’m one of about three of your readers who have watched it actively. Don’t worry, I’m in remission.

    Kudos on the unicorn one- clever.

  20. Loved your comics this week! “Flamboyant little antidepressant” is outstanding! Also, Hamlet t-shirt rocks!

    Thanks, Dan!


  21. What is the 6th thing in the pharmacy cartoon? I only know of the bunny, dynamite, eyeball, alien, and slice of pie. Are lozenges a regular appearance?

    • The “K2” on the dynamite package is also a symbol. I thought I might catch a few people by putting them both on the same product. :o)

      • you did! totally overlooked that since they were on the same package. I thought the 6th might have been the crown-shaped end of the “home-use thingy” :)

  22. Non-Athletic Sport, Centered Around Rednecks.

    Written from South Carolina, the Home of the Old Gray Lady, Darlington Raceway. Loved the panel, btw!

  23. I know its not the same as clinical depression, but I usually get SADD in the wintertime. This year I haven’t. Three things I’ve been doing differently: ride my bike for at least 10 miles a day during the daylight hours, take some Vitamin D each morning and don’t wear sunglasses. Seems to have had a definite positive affect on my mood. Thanks for the explanation of the NASCAR and snowmen comics — I was starting to get depressed that I couldn’t figure out the jokes!

  24. Here in Germany no elevator would skip the 13.

    I guess, in the U.S. they also don’t have the 666th floor listed in their elevators, do they?

    (Well, on 2nd thought, I haven’t seen that number in Germany, neither, so far.)

  25. Back in ’88, I was on a youth concert tour of the USSR, and in Moscow, the first hotel we stayed in had no 13th floor. So it’s not an American thing exclusively. (It’s possible, though, that the 13th floor existed and just didn’t have a stop for the lift, or had no guest rooms on it. It’s been a long time since then, and dad always said memory was the second thing to go.)

    Also, I worked in a building in Salt Lake City that I believe did have a 13th floor, so it’s not so ubiquitous a thing here in the US, either.

  26. I found Alice Miller’s “the drama of the gifted child,” extraordinarily useful as I was learning to recover from depression. I’ll always be recovering. (I have the greatest therapist.) i do recognize how often people keep depression to themselves. i appreciate you sharing. and alice miller is an artist. her writings aren’t for everyone. as an artist, i found her very relevant and i strongly recommend her books. you don’t have to post this.

  27. There are buildings in Bangkok (where I currently live) that have 13th floor. There’s this tall condominium right beside our residence that has “13” on its elevator buttons. Though, there are several buildings that exclude “13” because a majority of Thais are Chinese descendants. But they have 4th floors and such.

    My lucky numbers are 4 and 14. They’re coincidentally everywhere around me. For 8 years straight, ALL of my textbooks had the number “4” or “14”. My unlucky numbers, however, are 12 (my great-grandma died on September 12 2010 – a few days before I turned 12!), 3 (in a lot of my test papers and worksheets, the 3rd question is almost ALWAYS wrong.), and 13 (I consider 2013 my unluckiest year because I’ve gotten sick, injured, and more bad luck than the last 2 years combined)

    Anyways, good day! I enjoy reading Bizarro Comics a lot! It’s a Pun-tastic way to cut around the bad luck

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