I believe in finding huge joy in a tiny thing, something that will bring a little smirk to my face, a chuckle, a hearty laugh. For me, one such little thing is waking up on Sunday morning, putting on my pink bunny slippers, hopping down the stairs, jumping out into the brisk morning sun, and grabbing the Sunday paper. I run into my kitchen, a warm comfy room, soak in the sun, and toss to the floor every section but one: the comics.
It all began with my grandfather, who I call Papou (grandfather in Greek). Papou would read me the comics even before I could read. I remember him explaining them to me, his big finger pointing at the pictures and telling me what all the words said. We’d finally figure it out and then share a nice, big, genuine laugh. We could read them for hours, over and over. Then I learned how to read myself, and Papou and I would read them together, telling each other how funny one was, and “make sure to read this one!”
As I got older, one of the first things on my mind Sunday mornings was getting the comics the minute I was out of bed, and I guess you could say it became a habit. Run outside, get the newspapers, read all the comics at least twice, making sure I don’t miss any. Then I take out my scissors and cut out my favorites. The very best go on my door, which has not a single trace of white left on it. The second strings go into my special “Funny Comics” folder. Of course, having such a habit can be traumatic. One day, on one of her cleaning frenzies, my Mom said I had to throw some away; it was “getting ridiculous”. I remember the regret, the sadness of throwing them away; I felt horrible doing it. I couldn’t stand the thought that “Sherman’s Lagoon”, “Dilbert”, and “Zits” were going into the trash, never to be laughed at again. But sadly, my Mom continued to make me throw away the ones that I could somehow bare to live without. She didn’t understand my undying connection and joy that came every Sunday in a pink plastic bag covered in morning dew.
I remember laughing out loud when no one was home. I remember crying because of a history test then reading the comics, and am reminded that they were always there. Whenever I feel low, I can read them and it gets me going again. It is plain old fun, pure enjoyment, and I love every second of the comics.
I feel bad for the New York Times, and The Washington Post who have stories of road-side bombings, murder, and natural disasters, but have no bright color, no chuckles to remind readers that there still is joy in this world. Luckily for me, I have a gigantic magnetic whiteboard, as you can imagine, covered from top to bottom with smiles, some chuckles and even a big old laugh.
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