As noted on my “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (and Trolls)” page, Mike Peterson’s Comic Strip of the Day is one of my favorite sources/inspirations, although it usually only takes a comic (or webcomic, or -more often lately- editorial cartoon) as a starting point for a commentary on something that is usually not best summed up in a comic strip. Not the intention of THIS site. But when he stumbles onto two (or more) comics on related topics on the same day, his contributions are among his most entertaining.
It’s Serendipity! One of my favorite words (the meaning of which I had no clue of when I was growing up and there was a totally-not-rock group called The Serendipity Singers whose most memorable hit was “Beans In My Ears”, honest), but I digress. So when I notice more than one comic addressing the same topic in a similar way at the same time (unless it’s yesterday’s most earth-shattering deadline), I relish the opportunity to be just like Mike Peterson.
Well, that happened on Monday, when The Tragedy Series (which I addressed ad absurdum here) came up with a hilarious twist on the Old Saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, I despise most “Old Sayings”, being based on the same kind of “handed-down-from-generation-to-generation” “wisdom” that taught us that the sun orbited around the earth, man was never meant to fly and people who don’t look like us are less than human. And the Lemons “Old Saying” is particularly bad, for reasons I’ll explain later.
But then, while perusing my “B-Plus List” on the newspaper comics aggregator GoComics.com, I saw that Mark Anderson’s Andertoons had come up with something with a similar lemony-fresh scent. If you don’t know what “Andertoons” are, you’ve probably seen them around. Mr. Anderson is one of the most successful makers of generic-looking cartoons out there. And I don’t mean that derogatorily. His drawing style is simple, his interests are broad-based and his sense of humor is uncontroversial enough to get his single panels published in every magazine just looking for a cartoon to fill a space in a page. Yet, he is funnier and more on-target more often than most cartoonists in the same field. He often focuses on business topics with a non-Dilbertian attitude that has gotten him into the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and a bunch of corporate internal newsletters. He puts out a cartoon a day at his Andertoons site, available for licensing to any publication or website whose audience don’t know about his own site. And he has recently begun running cartoons from over two years back (omitting the obviously outdated) at GoComics. So it was that I found his lemon cartoon the same day as the Tragedy comic.
If that weren’t enough, less than 24 hours later (but dated the next day), Crowden Satz, better known for his “kid and a small alien who is totally NOT an imaginary friend” comic Nickyitis (currently in reruns during a rebooting process), put a lemon-related cartoon on his “Religion, Politics & Zombies” gag-a-day strip site Chuckle-A-Duck. Mr. Satz must live in a place with a shortage of good Mexican restaurants, because everyone here in California KNOWS that Classic Margaritas are made with limes. (And I grew up down the road from the first of the El Torito chain, where they invented the sacrilegious Strawberry Margarita) Or maybe where he lives there aren’t any good limes.
But I don’t understand the bad rep lemons have. I blame the song “Lemon Tree”, one of the sillier songs when I was growing that was NOT done by the Serendipity Singers:
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet,
But the fruit of the lemon is impossible to eat
Yes, you need to add a ton of sugar to lemon juice to make lemonade… almost as much as you need to turn cranberry juice into “Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail”, and nobody makes fun of the cranberry (at least not for that… the one-day-a-year cranberry sauce thing is another matter). To me, if you want “impossible to eat”, chomp into the bitter-tasting rock-solid hearts of an iceberg lettuce. But that’s just me.
And lemons are good for a lot of other things. A quick Googling brought up a Readers Digest list of 34 items that starts with “Eliminate fireplace odor” and includes “Get rid of tough stains on marble”, “Prevent potatoes from turning brown” and “Remove unsightly underarm stains” (almost Too Much Information, RD). Semi-popular link-baiter BusinessInsider.com, in an extreme example of how they’ve drifted from their original mission, has 17 Surprising Uses for Lemons, many of which are also on the Readers Digest list, but “Give your dog a makeover” and “Banish weeds for good” are surprising.
But my favorite of the Lemon Lists I found is an infographic from artist/cartoonist Yumi Sakugawa:
(if it’s too small for you to read, click the link and give the nice lady some web traffic)
As far as I’m concerned the best use of lemons today was to allow me to discover Yuki Sakugawa, whose Tumblr site features some fun stuff and where the “Home Page” offers some words of encouragement WAY superior to the whole “lemons thing”:
And before this current flurry of lemony snickers, the best comic response to that piece of bad advice came from Doug Savage’s “Savage Chickens”, three times ‘way back’ (in Internet eras) in 2005:
and once more in 2011:
Lemons. Not covered under the 2nd Amendment, but still dangerously fun (for fruit).
Yes, there was a typo in the original caption (“it” instead of “is”) which I corrected for the copy here. From two years ago… I guess that particular cartoon wasn’t a big seller.