Would you like to be a cartoonist like me?
You can’t. Sorry. Not even if you paid me to train you. It won’t happen.
No reboot of Mortal Kombat has come close to the cultural coup-de-grace of the original series from the 1990s. It doesn’t matter how many new “Fatalities” there are, or how much blood, or how realistic the fighters look. There’s still a crucial ingredient missing.
From 1992 to 1995, I worked in the music store on the upper level of the Savannah Mall. Disc Jockey was the other music store, on the lower level and the opposite end. Our respective locations affected our clientele; we were next to the upscale department store, and they were next to the parking lot.
Of course there was a rivalry.
Despite what you might think, it was friendly. We all ate in the same food court, and used the same deposit chute. If a customer stumped our staff, we’d begrudgingly call downstairs and ask their staff. Sometimes one store knew something the other didn’t. Upcoming trends in music, promotions, closings, and firings within the busy mall.
Long ago, in the Before Times, I was dating a woman with a very young daughter. I had not yet gelled as an artistic entity, and was in the process of learning that I’m really not cut out to be a father, even a surrogate one. This became apparent on two occasions. Both were attempts on my part to make a connection with a kid. Both failed hilariously.
The first was the purchase of a “children’s book”. I spent hours at Books-A-Million (down the block from Media Play) hunting for just the right one. It had to be colorful, clever, and not condescending. I refused to buy anything “kiddie”, on principle. It had to be something that enticed, thrilled, and sparked the imagination, like the books I read in my grade school library.
When you listen to a professional newscaster, you are hearing an “all-purpose” American accent, very similar to how black comedians make fun of white guys. It’s a mode of speaking designed to be understood by a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. It’s also totally alien sounding, especially when they lapse into a Spanish voice for words like “Nicaragua”.
In 1990, I relocated from New Jersey to Georgia. Originally, I had a curt New Jersey accent, like Jim Norton. My first year, I roomed with a guy from Rhode Island, and when I went back to Jersey for vacation, my friends couldn’t believe what a horror show my speaking voice had become. I was the caricature of the braying Yankee.
Every so often, somebody inquires as to why the hell I call myself Matty Boy.
To which I affect my terrible Billy Bob Thornton impersonation, and reply, “would you ask Sonny Boy Williamson that?”
Since I’m referencing a radio debacle from years ago between Thornton and the guy from Moxy Fruvous, I receive blank looks in return. So let me clear the air a bit.
Today, a great hamster was laid to rest. His name was Boris.
We must not be sad, and instead celebrate the all-too-brief life of a beloved creature. Boris was curious, friendly, and adored by all who knew him; even the folks who disliked his kind. By some cosmic coincidence, the grey-and-white patches on his back formed a big “B”. Continue reading