>Bizarro is brought to you today by Real Live Indians.
Me: “My name is Dan Piraro and I suffer from depression.”
All: “Hello, Dan.”
Group member: “You’re not supposed to use your last name, this is Depression Anonymous.”
Me: “You’re not supposed to use quotation marks in a script format, either, so sue me.”
Yes, I’m a long time taker of “crazy pills,” thus called because they keep me from being crazy. As such, I know full well that anti-depressants do not make a person feel the way Melancholy Wolf appears to feel in this cartoon. In truth, they just make you feel normal. Normally happy, sad, or somewhere in between, depending on the circumstance.
I was quite the melancholy wolf for many years, with unpredictable bouts of utter hopelessness and despair, as well as unbridled anger, that would last from a few days to a few weeks. I went to shrinks, I read books, I exercised, I changed my diet, I changed my life – nothing worked. It was inexplicable.
Until one of my therapists bothered to “explic” it to me and asked me to try anti-depressants. I was very hesitant, being one of those tough guys who doesn’t want a chemical solution to my problems. But I was so desperate I finally agreed and within a couple of weeks, I felt normal for the first time in my adult life. Melancholy Wolf’s exuberance is representative of how I felt when the cloud first lifted. I just wish I hadn’t waited until my late thirties to take the plunge.
Speaking of the Injuns in the cartoon above, I was in Indianapolis recently with some Native American comic artist colleagues and learned a lot about what sort of pop culture stereotypes bother them. I suspect this cartoon might fit into a few of those categories because I didn’t bother to research it.
Not all American Indians wore braids, bone breastplates, feathers in their hair, fringe on their shirts and lived in teepees, yet that is commonly how they are depicted. Sorry, guys, didn’t have time to look it up, deadlines loomed. I just went straight for the easy cliche, I hope I didn’t get it completely wrong.
On a slightly different note, I’m a fan of Native American names. Not all of them are bucolic monikers about nature – like Soaring Eagle and Whispering Beaver – some are more expository. My favorite name, which was in a book of photos of Native Americans from around the turn of the 19th century, is Stabs By Mistake.