Keeping Doctors Away


Bizarro is brought to you today by Graduating Class.

Back in the late 1900s, in the early days of computers, if you typed “7734” on a calculator and turned it upside down, it spelled “hell.” That was one of the coolest, dirtiest things my friends and I did in 7th grade and we lived in terror we would get caught because it would likely mean spending the rest of our academic career in military school. Today, 7th graders are writing “F*CK” in crystal meth on their desk before they smoke it. That’s progress, I guess.

Regarding Rene Magritte’s creepy little brother, don’t miss the blood stains on the desktop. Makes him oh-so-much creepier. BTW: if you don’t know Rene Magritte, he’s the guy who made this famous painting. It is said that it is a portrait of his father, Pete, who often hid behind fruit because of his inability to connect emotionally with his family. Also take note of the smears on the chalkboard, which took me a while to figure out how to do in Photoshop. You just don’t get this kind of realistic detail in Garfield or Pearls Before Swine.


38 thoughts on “Keeping Doctors Away

  1. I really enjoy the art-related cartoons. I don’t know if I am getting the gist of this particular one. So Magritte’s creepy little brother lopped off someone’s head? That makes the little brother the creepier of the two. He had to resort to beheading to get notice from this spinster teacher? I am totally taken in by this cartoon.

    What if he gave the teacher an apple without touching it like Magritte’s paintings? Maybe I am looking at it a different way or perspective….In a way, it does creep me out to think a grade-schooler would cut off a head (with an apple) and give it to his teacher…..So maybe it worked, that well.

    I like the chalk smeared blackboard cloud motif.

    • You may be over thinking this one, Dean. It’s just an odd, amusing, dark play on Magritte’s painting. Although I always encourage my readers to think as much as they feel inclined to do so. :o)

  2. This reminds of a prank we played in eighth grade. This was a public suburban junior high ( 7th, 8th, and 9th grades) in 1967. I attended a “tracked” school, so we were a bunch of smart a$$es. We had a long-term substitute teacher who we detested, in part because he wasn’t the well-liked woman he replaced, and in part because we thought he was an idiot. We wanted to let him know how we felt about him, but did not want to do anything to get in trouble with the Principal, or for that matter with our parents. So we coordinated it so that one Friday everyone brought an apple to school. Then, late in the class hour during a “study” time, we silently, solemnly, and individually filed up and placed an apple on the desk in front of our seated teacher. At the very first he was almost excited and pleased, but he soon was embarrassed and confused. He did not know how to respond to what was clearly a mass demonstration of disrespect in spirit, but one that did not violate any “letter of the law” regarding student conduct. Because someone had brought a bag of apples, participate was 100%.

    I was not one of the ringleaders of this prank, in fact the usually rowdy troika of boys were. This was later the same bunch of sophomores who disrupted the Senior Assembly two years later, but that is another epic tale. In fact, I was somewhat of a social outcast, but I was not that day. It is odd that I cannot remember what class this was, or who the prior teacher had been.

  3. and if you type 7353 and turn it upside down, it spells ESEL which is the German word for donkey.

    I love your cartoons!



  4. Dear Dan Piraro, I wanted to drop a quick note to tell you that I greatly enjoy your artwork. I, myself, am a surrealist painter and have been inspired by your work countless times. I can’t imagine starting the day without your art! Thank you.

    Best regards, Eric

  5. Ha ha ha! This reminds me of high school when a couple of boys flirtatiously showed me how they could spell my first name on their calculators. 19134.

  6. I never thought of pieces of fruit as a good place to hide (note to introvert self). Thanks for the handy info – and this very clever cartoon! Your line about today’s 7th graders writing “F*CK” in crystal meth before they smoke it made me laugh in spite of it being close enough to true to make it far creepier than little bro Magritte! (I also remember the little frisson that came from doing the daring 7734 trick. What innocents we were!)

    And kudos on the smeary blackboard detail! Well done!

  7. Great cartoon, but I’m most excited about the smears on the chalkboard :)

    VERY realistic! Takes me right back. I can practically smell the chalk.

  8. I always love your cartoons, but I don’t always laugh out loud: I think what did it for me was the expression on the kid’s face. Perfect!

  9. Nothing to do with Magritte, but your calculator comment brought back a memory for me. A few years ago (ahem), I worked in the accounting department of a railroad. We had these ancient, gigantic calculating machines, the name of which is on the tip of my tongue, and apparently is going to remain there. They may have been comptometers. At any rate, the keypad consisted of about ten columns and ten rows of numbers, with a carriage that moved across the top during calculation; each number had to be pushed into place, and then a handle, much like on a slot machine, would be pulled so that the computation would begin. Someone figured out a combination of numbers that, when activated, would cause the machine to “play” an Irish jig. We always knew when someone was bored, or had run out of real work, by the sound of the machine thumping away to that distinctive beat.

  10. Love the creepy little brother, and love the iconic Magritte image of the man in the Bowler hat. The remake of the film The Thomas Crown Affair had a very clever use of the Magritte Man in the final museum scene. My favorite part of the movie, of course.

  11. This was the joke we used to do with the calculator:

    There once was a woman with 69 boobs. (Type 69 into the calculator.)

    She had too, too, too many. (Type 2 three times.)

    She went to 51st St. to see Dr X. (Type 51 and a multiplication sign.)

    Dr X gave her 8 operations. (Type 8 and the equal sign.)

    And in the end she was boobless. (Turn the calculator upside-down it reads “BOOBLESS”)

    So dumb but it was Canada in the 1970s…

  12. 1) The “descriptions” of the triangle on the chalkboard look like my handwriting.

    2) Does Stephan Pastis read your blog?

    • I don’t know if Stephan reads my blog. Probably not. I can’t imagine he’d be insulted, though. It’s not like he even tries to put much into the art. That’s not an insult, by the way, it’s just his style. It obviously works very well for him.

  13. 1=i








    Upside-down on a calculator, you get 8 letters. So copy and paste these letters ⇒iehsglboiehsglbo onto this Unscramble Words site, then click the green Start and scroll down for the full list. You will be amazed at how many words you can write on a calculator!

  14. Once again the full panel has much more LOL power! I am glad you do this daily now, I totally didn’t see the Chalkboard scribbling, teaching the new generation the old 7734 and bad math, but hey I always thought 9×9 was 99 too..LOL Keep it up, I am going to have to convince our paper to get the full panel strip!!!!

  15. Tomorrow’s Sunday cartoon (which we get on Saturday here) captures all the elements of a true Bizarro creation. Beyond odd people doing strange things against the norm, it’s the anticipation as to what is about to happen that is the gag.

    Good one Dan – an instant classic.

    I’ll bet the gentleman skips his elevator to see how the other one loads.

  16. The smeared chalk board is brilliant,like most of your stuff.But as a Pink Floyd fan I wondered why no Rainbow through the triangle.Just my imagination working.

  17. very creepy and very realistic. i love reading youre blog. your comics make the already hilarious comics even funnier. keep writing and i’ll keep reading C:

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