Jay Meehan: Berke’s back
"Oodles of noodles help blue poodles mit der strudel."
~ Berkeley Breathed
Looking back, I should have sensed that something was a’kilter in the cosmos. Even my usual plod to the coffee maker had overtones of a "red-shift." There was less friction in the air, less impediment, a bit more bounce in my step. Not that rapture had arrived. Just a somewhat less than unbearable lightness of being that, Bukowski knows, wasn’t part of the original draft.
I had already been riding a small wave of reverie just lying in bed fantasizing about how, through telekinesis or some other occult power, I might influence my president to further irritate the Honorable Rob Bishop, "duly elected" representative of Park City and the rest of the First Congressional District.
Once again, Bishop is up in arms over any speed bumps that the Executive Branch might place in the way of larger players within the corporate structure currently controlling our government. And, to put it mildly, President Obama’s recent use of the Antiquities Act to designate National Monuments in Nevada, California, and Texas seems to be affecting, dosage-wise, ol’ Rob’s hypertension meds.
One could also assume that my own congressional rep, the Honorable Jason Chaffetz of Utah’s Third Congressional District (which includes, but is not totally encompassed by, the northeast foothills of that most picturesque jewel of the Wasatch Range, the Heber Valley) might also have recurring acid-reflux.
Thank Brigham for "gerrymandering," for it gives me practice locating printed barbs in close proximity. A nice "shot group" I think my gun-totin’ friends call it. Anyway, Mr. Prez, how ’bout designating some additional monuments in Utah — not only the "San Rafael Swell" and "Cedar Mesa" as have been leaked, but also "Greater Canyonlands." That ought to clear the local shelves of Zantac in short order!
But, enough of my dark side! There is light upon the land! There I go again, overplaying my hand! But, that’s me. Ol’ deuces-in-the-hole himself, going all in on the slim chance of catching a card I haven’t held since, what, the ’80s?
It was obvious the deck had been reshuffled, however. Through the dense fog of early morning semi-consciousness, I got the memo. It appeared to be in Sanskrit, however.
Although I couldn’t for the life of me make out the particulars, the good news was that the usually droll alarm-clock radio news team, during a flurry of "happy talk," was discussing the reemergence of Berkeley Breathed from his long-ago self-imposed exile.
Ol’ "Berke," the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist whose "Bloom County" comic strip had given us the portly penguin Opus and the "blitzo" Bill the Cat, among others, had shown up, seemingly out of the blue, on Facebook, with a new strip wherein Opus awakes from a 25-year nap.
The nap, reportedly, at the time, back in ’89, driven by a dispute with his editorial overseers, left his flock totally bewildered. Luckily, for me, all this transpired during what I laughingly refer to as my "boating period." It turned out Berke also had a boating fetish at the time and kept a quarter of his fleet of four down at Wahweap on Lake Powell (Lake "Foul" in the then-popular vernacular).
Without missing a beat, following the retiring of "Bloom County" from the pages of the Sunday paper, Mr. Breathed began showing up as a contributing editor of Boating Magazine, contributing, as it were, a monthly humor column called "Overboard." It was pure Berke! Only now the boating culture found itself on the receiving end of his well-honed and outrageous slings and arrows. As well we should have. We were a nasty lot!
Well, suffice to say, a "soulful bounding leap" later found me firmly ensconced at my computer desk. Anticipation and the way it stirs the internal juices is such a wonderful thing. Suddenly I had visions of a daily dose of Berke on Facebook dancing in my head. I’m not sure where I got the notion that my "fix" would be arriving on a daily basis, but a long unfed "jones" will do that to you.
C’mon Berke, buff me out! Those initial panels of Monday whetted my appetite to the point where I immediately satisfied the preconditions for being a levelheaded Irishman: I drooled equally out of both sides of my mouth. Welcome back, old friend! Once again, have your way with us! You’ve been missed!
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.