This cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas except for the punch line. Who wants to see good food go to waste? Ok, it’s not good, but it’s food. If you’ve ever skipped breakfast, left your lunch on the kitchen counter, or taken someone else’s shift unexpectedly, it feels like Christmas when the vendor throws out snacks that are about to expire. Yes, we rummage through the trash, as proper etiquette is not in our job description. Merry Christmas from Suits and Guarders!
I won the lottery! Okay, not really. I was summoned for a random drug screening this week! The day before the drug screening, my supervisor asked if I could stay an extra hour after work the next day to which I answered sure. When I asked why, she replied, “It’s a surprise.” I should’ve known it was a drug screening from her nonchalant tone of voice, but I just thought I was moving heavy equipment for something. By the way, if anyone is randomly reading this that makes random decisions about things like which random urchins are randomly chosen for random drug screening, this lifeguard urchin has been randomly selected twice this fall! Just sayin’.
It appears that unless you are authorized to drive during work hours, you are not allowed to drive on city time. So my supervisor had to be my personal chauffeur for this outing. While I was conjuring images in my mind of my cartoon character Kurt riding shot-gun and looking annoyed while Ellen drove him to the lab, I must admit that my supervisor, Amy is pretty cool. Still, between the drug screening in September and the one this week, I have written dialogue for another four cartoons! In the end, I chose my character Thomas for his overall anxiety about any sort of test. I made one rough sketch this week but there are lots more that I am working on. Meanwhile back to the stretch limo, um, rather the city van, we spent the drive talking about music, classic cars from the 70s and 80s, family and Christmas.
Now just because she’s not as feisty as my cartoon character Ellen, doesn’t mean Amy isn’t just as snarky in her own quiet way. On the drive back from the drug screening, she said “It isn’t like you can stop working with us Ian, because who else would provide all this great material for your cartoons?” So much for the career move I was planning. Anyway, I’m having way too much fun!
This fall, I began teaching a gym class one day a week. It’s really nothing too elaborate. There is no gym, but there is lots of outdoor space. So while students are there to take a variety of other academic classes with tutors, the objective for the gym time is to stay active and accomplish some personal fitness goals. We have spent time running, doing core strengthening work and playing games. So once every week, I supervise, and I get to be a kid all over again. I like my job!
Hopefully the tips I shared a few weeks ago helped you in clearing the first eating hurdle, Thanksgiving. Now we are in full eating mode for Christmas and other holidays throughout the month of December. ‘Tis the season to eat and plank: Warming up our body’s core for January and beyond begins this month. There are many exercises that help strengthen the core, but my favorite for its simplicity is planks. Planks are an effective way to increase the body’s balance and endurance. They also strengthen the body for more advanced exercises like push-ups. In other words, if you have never been able to do a decent push-up, start building the core muscles with a few minutes of planks every day. If you have never really exercised, just start slowly by trying to hold this position for 20 seconds and move on from there. Like my gym class, you will be doing amazingly good, solid push-ups in a few weeks if you work at doing planks first. See the diagram of “Suits and Guarders” characters below.
I confess that I am like Thomas. I like to tell my gym guys and gals jokes while we are planking. There is nothing like belly laughing while planking. It works your ab muscles when you laugh, so it hurts and feels good all at the same time. Okay, get planking!
Ian Johnson was born with a crazy cartoon character perspective on the real world. “Suits and Guarders” is loosely based on his life as a lifeguard and swim instructor at a local pool. Any resemblance of characters in this work to persons, drawn or imagined, is purely coincidental.