First 2012 Dose of Dangle
Happy New Year! Well shit, it’s been a while since I wrote a Dose. I deleted a few starts. Ever since the end of the Troubletown comic strip I’ve been having a crisis of identity. 2011 was a year of tremendous change for me. Who the hell am I now? I always used to blog and tweet and Face to promote Troubletown. Being a cartoonist is like throwing bombs while hiding behind a wall. Just being Lloyd Dangle the Cartoonist is a bit unsettling. Maybe I should save it for my therapist.
It’s the middle of January already and I haven’t shared any of my recent exploits, my fabulous holidays, or anything. Well, let me get caught up. November and December were so chock full of work I barely came up for air. Down in Silicon Valley filming those whiteboard animations that everybody loves for the top secret internal use of big corporations. I’m not even allowed to mention their names. Confidentiality is very important, which makes it hard to build my portfolio. I can’t show anything! Potential clients just have to go by my stellar reputation. All the work took a toll on my writing, I just finally did a little work on the novel this week. The internal critic is enjoying great power over me at the moment. I have to beat him into submission before I can get back to work. Next week work should bury me again. I’ve overbooked myself, so if everything comes through I’ll be juggling like a maniac.
Over the holidays we went up to Lake Tahoe where there was no snow. Thank God I was relieved of having to ski. My body isn’t wracked with pain and the family saved a fortune on lift tickets. December 24 we went to the beach and put out a blanket in the sand. Strange. Last year at the same time there was ten feet of snow.
My good friend Simms Taback died. He was a wonderful children’s book illustrator and one of the sweetest and most decent guys I’ve ever met. He was one of the Graphic Artist Guild’s founders and the driving force behind the Guild’s Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines––that’s how I met him. When I was president of the Guild it was a rough time for the organization and the people on my executive committee were bailing and resigning left and right. Everything had fallen apart, we were out of money and we’d lost our latest executive director to a brain tumor. I hired a lawyer to come in as a short term executive director to tear the place apart and figure out what had been going on––and help get us either out of debt or into bankruptcy. I had to go to the office in New York on my own dime in the middle of the winter to help sort things out and Simms drove down from his home near Woodstock to help. He taught me the yiddish word “fakakta” to describe our situation, crazy and fucked up. We drove uptown in a freezing rain and had dinner at a place near Gramercy Park. The guy was warm and funny and, well, supportive at a time when I really needed it. He was so generous he even wrote me a check to help cover my costs, which I’m embarrassed to say, I took. So long Simms, it was a joy and privilege to know you!
My other buddy, Lee, suffered a stroke at the end of November, at the tender age of 44. Now he’s up in Vallejo at the Kaiser rehab center. I’ve been up to see him. It’s lonely and boring to be in the hospital, but Lee’s making great progress. Another friend, Kim, had a stroke earlier in the year. She’s doing well too for someone who had a stroke. All of this makes me worry about my own health. I’m on an aspirin regimen now because I know my arteries are full of cholesteral and the fat from all the ice cream and bacon I've consumed. I have a wife and kid to think about you know.
I hate new years resolutions. I don’t partake. But way before new years I resolved to get into better shape. Twenty plus years of inactivity hunched over a drawing board has taken its toll on me. My body is misshapen. Now that I have the physically demanding job of standing up and drawing for hours on end I have to improve my physique. Iggy Pop is my inspiration––always has been––but Karthik and I saw him play with the faux Stooges in December and he’s in pretty good shape for 64––to say the least. He still jumps around like a muscle on a stick. My dad is 92 and still stage diving so I figure I’ve got a few years to go. The only problem is that, unlike the Stooge, who traded drugs for weightlifting, I hate to exercise.