The ancient Mayan calendar has brought us another doomsday prediction. Its been in the news a lot lately and predicts the world will come to an end Dec. 21. The numbers alone are a little spooky: 12.21.12.
Even The New Yorker, the bastion of cool skepticism, has run a number of Mayan calendar jokes. My favorite is the one of the artisan who carved the huge disc. He simply ran out of space on the circular stone when he reached 12.21.2012.
In that spirit, I drew my bi-weekly Sunday cartoon for the Herald on the theme of predictions (The Durango Herald, Jan. 8). I wanted to join the hubbub surrounding the latest doomsday scare. I also marked my calendar for later this year to have a party Dec. 22 to celebrate the continuation of life.
Under the banner Predictions 2012, my cartoon shows the Mayan calendar on the left with an overweight priest gazing in bewilderment. On the right, I made a prediction for locals. I chose my favorite road sign, one we all see on back roads and mountain highways everywhere. To me they are a warning to slow down. They are also a metaphor for life.
The ones I drive by every day have small rectangular signs below that say driveways or next three miles. Ive been looking for one that would say: The rest of your life. Thats what I should have drawn for Sundays cartoon.
Instead, I wrote Wildcat Canyon Road on the small descriptor sign. My cartoon mascot, Mortie who usually gets the punch line, says, or thinks, The rest of your life.
To my dismay, many people didnt get the cartoon and told me so. One fan emailed that Wildcat Canyon must be a local joke of some sort, but he liked the drawing.
A nephew stretched to connect Mortie-the-cat with Wildcat Canyon. Local friends said they didnt get the connection between the Mayan calendar and Wildcat Canyon Road at all.
Ill just have to think about it, said another.
Its been a while since one of my cartoons didnt make sense. After listening to my explanation, which is the worst thing for a cartoonist or any joke teller to have to do, one friend said: Maybe you should have ditched the reference to Wildcat Canyon and put The rest of your life in the rectangular sign beneath the twisting arrow. Let Mortie the cat just think about it, she said..
So, dear readers, thats my wish for you. If you didnt get it, now you know. Please imagine the revision. After all, this is ephemeral art. Sundays newspaper is Mondays fish wrapper as the cliché tells us. Besides, who cares?
Then again, some of you will certainly object to even calling a political cartoon art.
Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.