Tuesday, May 01, 2007

0013 Matinee Soup 'Alzheimer's'

Ye gods. Winter has set in, and I've been zwanged by flu. Not the terrible, snuffly, sore-as-hell flu. Mine's the slow, insidious, sap-the-soul kinda flu.

Which means I'm able to be out and about and active, but that there's an energy and sleep cost associated. Blah. Poor me. How miserable.

Anyway. Regardless. It's onward and upward.

Here's my latest MATINEE SOUP.

A while back, I made a painting of a woman in an old-age home. She's tied to the bed.

A friend of mine emailed me to say that one of the reasons that sufferers of advanced Alzheimer's Disease get tied to beds is cos they tend to fall out of bed and seriously injure themselves. So short of mounting a 24-hour guard, the only way to keep the person in bed is to tie them to it.

I don't recall if Clive actually suggested I do a MATINEE SOUP on the topic, but I certainly thought it might be an option. Problem is that I don't think it's a particularly funny topic. At the same time, ANY topic is actually funny. And whether it's funny or not, sometimes topics NEED to have humour poked at them, simply to make life more bearable.

And anyway, this week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Remember'. So it fits.

The first version of this joke had Bambi asking, 'Did I ever tell you that my gran had Alzheimer's?' Then there's a blank panel. In the third panel, Bambi says, 'Did I ever tell you that my gran had Alzheimer's?'

Probably quite funny. But it completely breaks the world that Bambi inhabits. Firstly, it's out of character. Secondly, it implies that she's got Alzheimer's, which isn't possible, cos she's an adolescent puppy. Thirdly, it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

In the version I've opted for, I had almost finished the cartoon with this line in place: 'I can't remember when I last thought about Alzheimer's.' This is a weak line, in my view. It feels soft.

As I was finalizing the lettering, I realised that the line has to involve the viewer. It has to draw the viewer into the world of Alzheimer's, and make them ask questions of themselves. In this way, the line's quite funny, but also quite poignant. And it doesn't tread on toes, nor leave a bad taste in my mouth.

The best thing for me about this current version is that it keeps Bambi young and innocent. She's not implying that she's got Alzheimer's. And she's not jokng about it. Instead, she's making YOU, the reader, the originator of the joke.

Now I think I'll just hop back into bed and have yet another blissful nap until J comes back from visiting her gran. And her gran DOES have Alzheimer's. The good news is that J laughed at this joke.

This painting was made at Mugg & Bean in Cresta in two hours. I had to speed through it without being precious, cos I was heading off to my weekly Al-Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting. The painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra 4 tablet pc.

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