What we all need now is a little silliness.
I’m not talking about the dangerous kind of silliness current in politics. I’m talking about the opposite kind of silliness that makes one feel better.
When the bad kind of silliness begins to bring me down, I often turn to one of my “Pogo” books.
Pogo was a daily newspaper comic strip drawn by Walt Kelly from 1948 until his death in 1975.
It featured Pogo the opossum and his friends — other critters from the Okefenoke Swamp, like Albert the Alligator, Churchy LaFemme (a turtle) and Howland Owl.
Pogo is probably most famous for saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us."
Not all the characters were so wise, though. That is where the silliness occurs. A lot of his little cartoon skits were making fun of some politician whose pomposity had carried him away.
Here are some examples of the good kind of silliness that came from Walt Kelly’s head:
• "Now is the time for all good men to come to." — Walt Kelly
• "Why does folks always build houses outdoors?" — Rackety-coon chile.
• The Three Bats (“Bewitched,” “Bothered” and “Bemildred") had difficulty with a counting operation one day.
The difficulty was that each counted only the other two as being present.
First: “The way to solve this is with algebra. Here’s my old algebra textbook. It says, “Let X equal the unknown.”
Second: “The unknown, huh? That would be Snorbert Zangox over in Waycross.”
First: “He’s unknown?”
Third: “The best! I’ve never heard of him.”
Second: “Neither have I. Put me down as one not knowin’ him.”
Third: “I don’t know him, either.”
First: “Neither me. Now I adds up how many don’t know him, and I gets “three!”
Second: “Meaning three of us don’t know him, so there’s three of us here!”
First: “Man, that algebra is terrific!”
• "Ma was shiftless — like a new car. Money went through her fingers — no clutch." — Viola, girl insect
• "I couldn’t support you in the style to which you are a customer." — Beauregard, the dog, to a flea who was proposing “marriage.”
• Conversation at the door to a “speak-easy school” for kids locked out of their schools during the segregation battles:
"Who sent you?"
"Fella name of Sam."
"Sam? Do I know him?"
"No ... But I does an’ I can vouch for him."
"In that case, come in, stranger. Any friend of yours ain’t no stranger to me, as long as you says he’s OK ... What’s he say ‘bout you?"
"He says I’m Okay."
• Conversation between two characters:
“Everybody is talkin’ ‘bout Owl disappearin.’ ”
“Well, you isn’t everybody!”
“Without me, nobody kin be everybody.”
Books full of Pogo cartoons are still being sold in bookstores and online.
Mike Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.