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I hope all of us who celebrate it are having a good Passover. My household held our Seder Sunday night. There were six at our table, and we set up a zoom with some of the households who’d normally be sharing a Seder with us, so we could at least read the Haggadah together. And for the second year in a row, we finished the Seder by saying “next year in person!”
I’ve gotten my first vaccine shot, and so have a lot of people I know. A few people I know – teachers and older people – have gotten both shots. I feel a bit guilty for being an American (we’re getting shots so much faster than so many) but also a great deal of personal relief.
Despite this cartoon’s pessimistic ending, I’m optimistic that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel (those of us in the States and a handful of other countries – the New York Times has a tracker). But it would happen quicker, and with less death, if so much of the country wasn’t made up of people who think denying reality is a virtue. Some of those people are governors.
This cartoon doesn’t have a punchline, really – it’s less a gag, and more of an attempt to describe how the country feels to me, right now, in cartoon form.
This is one of very few cartoons in which I’ve drawn people wearing masks (I’ve instead acknowledged our new reality by drawing more cartoons in which people are talking on screens).
I’m hesitant to draw masked characters partly because most of my cartoons are intended to be “evergreens” that will still be relevant for years to come. But an even bigger reason is because I use “dot eyes” on my characters – which means that I rely on mouths to make my characters expressive.
(This is a problem I have in real life, too. I rely on smiles to communicate with strangers all the time – smiling at a driver to acknowledge them stopping so I could cross the street in front of them, or to let someone who has accidently bumped me know I’m not mad. And I can’t do that anymore because I don’t leave the house without a mask.
(I still reflexively do smile at people in these situations, actually, but then another part of my brain points out that I might as well be waving at someone wearing a blindfold.)
Thanks to Frank Young for his colors here! This one looks to me like something I could have colored myself – Frank is definitely adapting his style to my style. Although there are still little things he does – like the fade at the top of the sky in panel four, or the white mist in panel 3 – that I wouldn’t think to do. (Except now maybe I will, because they look good!)
Normally I wait a few weeks (or months) before posting a new cartoon in public, so the folks supporting my patreon get to see them way in advance. But in this case, I’m hoping the cartoon will be less and less relevant with each passing week, so I’ve waited less than a week to post in public.
Thank you to my patrons, as always, for making it possible for me to produce weird cartoons that use the “F” word and don’t even have a punchline. That I can make cartoons without having to worry about editors or publisher rules (aside from the Patreon Trust and Safety team) is such a privilege.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show two people, one bald and stubbled, the other with shoulder-length black hair and glasses, walking through a hilly park area. Both of them are wearing face masks. A third person – not with them but a little distance away – has neatly combed hair and is not wearing a mask.
Stubble and Glasses walk and talk. Glasses is holding up a finger to make a point, and Stubble is clasping his hands together and looking skyward in a hopeful manner. Well behind them, Combed is waving a hand and yelling towards them.
GLASSES: People are getting vaccinated! If we can stay safe for another three or four months, we can beat Covid!
STUBBLE: I dream of eating in a restaurant again!
COMBED: I want restaurants open now!
Stubble and Glasses walk on, Glasses looking a little worried, and Stubble glancing back over his shoulder at Combed, who is now definitely following them.
GLASSES: I wish it was quicker. But we can mask a little longer.
COMBED: I don’t want to wear a mask.
Now Glasses is glancing back. Stubble is facing forward and walking quicker. Behind them, Combed is jogging after them and yelling.
COMBED: I have a right to live like nothing has happened!
COMBED: I DEMAND NORMALICY! I DEMAND IT NOW!
STUBBLE (quietly): Just keep walking.
In the foreground, Glasses and Stubble are walking on without looking behind them. Glasses is saying something to Stubbles; Stubbles is looking downcast, with his hands shoved into his jacket pockets. Well behind them, Combed is no longer following them, and his just screaming and railing at no one in particular.
GLASSES: We are so fucked.
COMBED: NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!