Serious Comedy


bz panel 05-22-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Deep Thoughts.

We all grow up being taught myths about life: our country is always right, God is watching over you, hard work will yield wealth, justice will prevail, the police are your friends, the people inside the TV cannot actually see you, marriage is forever. The list goes on and on.

The myth I was taught that did me the most physical harm was the one about marriage. It was a combination of my parents and Hollywood that did the trick; my folks were 1950s high school sweethearts, likely virgins when they married at age 21 (I’m not going to ask them for details about that and if you do, please don’t tell me), and are still married in their late 70s. Because of this small-town, old-world impression of adult life, I got married at 21 also. It lasted 16 years, we had two daughters, then it fell apart with alarming speed and misery.

I was single for six years, then, like a blathering halfwit, I got married again. She was a wonderful woman and we were destined to be with each other (then) but there was no logical reason to drag the courts into it. We could’ve had the same relationship without marriage and it would have been logistically and financially easier when it was over. Still, the idea that two people can be best friends and lovers for decades on end is a farce, whether you complicate it with legal entanglements or not. A lucky few couples have that kind of relationship, but the overwhelming majority do not. They either split up after x years or they stay together in mutual misery. That’s fine, but I just wish someone had told me when I was a kid that that’s the way life is.

In fact, I wish someone had said this: relationships are terrific but they end in pain; there is no higher power that’s willing to drop everything to help you succeed, so do it yourself; this country is a terrific place to live but it isn’t any more “right” than most others and “GOD” isn’t on our side; some police are your friends, others are assholes who wanted a legal reason to carry a weapon and push people around; hard work is good but don’t expect it to make you rich unless you’re already a member of that club; most priests are probably good people but some are dangerous so stay out of the rectory after school.*  Stuff like that.

*In the interest of fairness to victims of molestation, I should make it clear that I was never molested by a priest or anyone else. But I was an altar boy, was alone with priests many times and was taught to respect their authority without question, which is how that stuff happens. I was lucky it didn’t.



35 thoughts on “Serious Comedy

  1. That was both enlightening and insightful. Thank you for sharing what many are going through in life.

    As enriching and rewarding life can be, it’s still stocked with reality, ready to slap you in the face like a fish.

  2. Love and agree with nearly all of this logic. However, I am fortunate to still be married after 47 years. I have never considered my wife as my best friend and have never understood that concept. For me, being married to your best friend is a bit incestuous :)

  3. Occasionally the Fairy Godmother comes back off of sick leave, and your paperwork is on her desk.

    Treasured Spouse and I just entered into our 45th year together, and we can actually enjoy the company of our offspring, whenever we happen to be in the same geographic region.

  4. OK, so what the heck is in that picture behind the dialog bubble? I keep picturing a duck wearing a crown standing next to a chicken.

  5. I’ve been married for fifty years plus after three week of courting…

    Now, I try to get my three sons to marry after being with the same girl

    for nearly thirty years…worked with one…but Goddam it,

    you must have got to the two other ones before me!

  6. I am so sorry you’ve got relationship troubles. My first is a controlling, utterly controlling &^%*(() who leaves a wake of pain (and still thinks we are married, despite him insisting on the divorce so that he could marry his now-husband).

    With my second, I think I lucked out. I recognize that the marriage is hard and it is a slog. I think I learned the lessons I needed to try to make this one work out. (And yes, there is a difference between a marriage and a happy marriage. When I get really really cross with The Spice, I tell him I’m going to the Humane Society to pick up a couple of cats.)

    I’m sorry you’re walking through hell. I wish, for you, that it would be over fast.

  7. All well and good, Excellent One. Can’t disagree with a thing. And although I was not raised Catholic, in my first marriage I was exposed to Mass enough to still think “kyrie eleison” every once in a while . . .

  8. Respectful correction: relationships don’t “end in pain”, we are simply too comfort-oriented to get past that point and choose not to try. Old school marriage comprises 1) the bliss; 2) the hell; and 3) a return to the positive, whatever that may be (I’ve never been there), but many in their 70s & 80s do reach that third level and are devastated when their partner of a bzillion years passes on.

  9. There are good reasons for a couple to marry, though. In my case, we did it mainly to ensure that there would be no complications or prevention of one of us being with the other. My husband has a chronic illness, so that sort of thing is not some far off thing to think about.

    Also, he moved to my state and began a degree program, and neither of us wanted him to be billed at the higher out-of-state rate (since he hadn’t lived here a year yet). :P

  10. You did the best you could at the time, Dan. People change, situations interveen and life happens…and besides, your track record shines in comparison to Elizabeth Taylor.

  11. Thank you, Mr Piraro, for another great sketch and write up.

    I’ve always believed ‘Happy Ending’ is an oxymoron. And so is ‘Happily Married’. You’re either, not both. The vast majority of people just don’t want you to point it out. I detest this obsession to have a fairy-tale ending every goddamn time. They call you (me) a pessimist, a negative person etc., when I question how any ‘end’, whether it be movies or anything in life be ‘happy’. When asked about my relationship status, I elucidate that I’m ‘Happily Unmarried’.

  12. Before someone educes another deep thought, it would be wise to take care of this typo:

    “But I was an alter boy”

    “altar boy”

  13. Cute cartoon, and a very well put blog entry! It’s touching also. Relationships used to last longer; just like cars. Just like everything. Things have become more sophisticated, fragile, vulnerable. It long has become part of our lifestyle; we also can’t seem to fix things by ourselves anymore. We go to high priced specialists. They usually can’t fix it either, at least not for long. We end up double-broke.

    In a way, relationships remind me of “best before dates” on food. Just that life doesn’t give you that piece of information unless you have earned your judgment through bitter experience. I hope the relationship you are in now will last more like salt than lettuce. They say, you even can use it after that date; it just doesn’t free-flow as well. Or take honey! — But wait: that’s the trap! While statistics prove the opposite, we still hope for the exception to the rule; we still dream of honey. It might get old but stays sweet. One morning, though, we wake up and find things have turned sour. Just like milk.

  14. Sorry, Dan, I don’t agree. I met my wife 31 yrs ago. We started dating shortly thereafter. Went through some challenging times, but married over 26 years ago. If anything, we’re even closer now. I do consider her my best friend, and so much more. I admit, I am lucky. I found my true love. You think that comes along every day?

  15. Dan: I think that the following caption would seem to make more sense…and be funnier, too:

    “And everyone lived happily ever after…except your dad and his new trophy wife.”

    Love your weird work!

  16. I believe in Dog. He is my co-pilot.

    However, he’s terrible with maps and often wants to climb out the window to chase passing squirrels.

  17. Marriage has been compared to a fortress under siege with all the people inside. trying to get out, and all the people outside, trying to get in. (But I still feel for Ya- been there & done that, twice).

  18. Sometimes I come to Bizarro when I’m down and want to laugh and today I came to Bizarro and lost my faith in love…hmm.

  19. Hi Dan, l’d like for you to know that I’m a big fan of your work in my part of the planet. Hope you’ve created enough pieces till the end of the world, which is about 47 custard pies away ;-)

    Now I’m a strong believer in the marriage institution regardless of the evidences that are becoming increasingly frequent around us. This has not always been the case though. If we were to look back on society, the breakdown of marriage & family seems to go back to the time when traditional values began to change. Gradually, of course, not instantaneously. When those values/beliefs were challenged it set a trajection that was unprecedented and unforeseen. Which is the position we find ourselves in today in our society. Sorta like tampering with the human DNA and producing unnatural mutations whereas those mutations were relatively small if left to nature. (Am I making any sense here?)

    The reason I can say this is because I come from a culture where traditional values are upheld. And the result is stability in the home & children that are able to grow conducively to their best potential. (Hence, the brownish skin tones you find ever increasing in performin surgical procedures and whatnot.) That’s not say we’re a perfect society. We have our flaws, for instance the men are sometimes found to be chauvanistic. But the danger is in swinging to the other extreme thus undoing the predominantly positive values that were passed down to us.

    That is where some among my peers are failing to discern where to draw the line and resort to the full adoption to the so called “Western-lifestyle”. That is how we’re able to draw the conclusion, when the same matrimonial struggles are faced by this segment in our society are beginning to reflect that which is found on the other side of the GMT. I dont mean this judgementally. People change or practice a certain I’m sure in the best of intentions. But as it is said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…

    Strong words, I know. And this is probably not the platform to say it. Our views & outlook of life can’t help but be shaped by our personal experiences. And I just thought, well, I’d just share my view based on my reality/experience. Dan, if you did read all the way to the end, I owe you a mug or something. Love, brother.

  20. I’m from Malaysia. It’s above that tiny little dot on the map you know as Singapore. Been a fan of yours since I was 12. Admire your take on everyday life and the ability to say it all in just that one panel. You probably did more than you wanted in shaping my sense of humour. My potential to deliver world peace has forever been ruined.

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