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Often, I have gotten suggestions for cartoons from well-meaning readers, and my standing response is that I may use your their idea, or a portion of the suggestion, or their idea may send me in a useful direction, but I make no promises that I will use their idea. The reason for this is simple, most of the suggestions that I have gotten are simply not very humorous, in fact, they often suck. Normally, these suggestions are much like a funny dream that someone has. If you have ever tried to write it down immediately after you wake up- it may seem hilarious to the dreamer at the moment, but when you read what you have written later in the day, it reads something such as,

“Uncle Paul is chasing me and he has a tomato for a nose.”

The average person reading this will later ponder what the hell was so funny about that?

Unfortunately, the cartoon suggesters are not so easily shown that their idea is a loser, and the cartoonist, who does not want to turn off a loyal fan who simply wants to share what they think is a really good idea is now placed in the “your idea stinks dilemma”.

Then again, there is the slob who simply wants to see themselves featured in the cartoon itself. This type of suggestion always follows the exact same pattern. The salivating suggestor pulls you aside and using the greatest degree of hand gestures says;

“I’ve got this great idea for a cartoon.”
“First you’ve got Klyde over here...”
“Then you’ve got ME over there, and I say...”
“Then Klyde says...”
“Then I say...”
“Then Klyde says...”
“Then I say...”
“HA HA HA HA HA HA HA” [protracted boisterous laughter intended to convince]

These animals are only put off by being told by the cartoonist, “I’ll see what I can do with that.” Then alerting the authorities that a potential stalker has just been born.

Often, however, suggesters can send the cartoonist thinking a new direction, which is usually productive. In very rare cases, the suggestion is so amazingly funny that it must be written exactly as suggested. In fact, the cartoon that appears in the “Klyde Morris” section of this web site on 8/30/99 is just such a suggested idea. It was submitted by James "ZWebMaster" who helps me bring Klyde to you each week. His wife got a new job and had to take a drug test, thus a great idea for Klyde was born!

Such was also the case in the autumn of 1978 when a bunch of us were hanging around the motel room that the university had rented for us in place of a dorm. This was a gathering of flight students who were all sitting around discussing aspects of our flight training and some of the “wouldn’t it be funny if...” situations began to pop up. A fellow student by the name of Mike Morrone, who lived next to my room, came up with a suggestion of what would happen if your flight instructor pulled your engine on you to simulate an engine failure and when asked “What are you gonna do now?” you yelled “Jump for it!” and tried to open the door as if to jump out of the aircraft. Immediately, we recognized this as a great cartoon. I rushed back to my sketch pad and drew it out. Later the next week it ran and everyone loved it, but I had to give the credit to Mike.

This all is not to say that the cartoonists themselves can not draw strips that absolutely no one else “gets”. The only problem is when the cartoonist draws a loser, it gets printed! On more than one occasion, I have written cartoons that I thought to be amazingly funny, but that absolutely NO ONE else “got”.

In the summer of 1978 I had been reading a book titled “The Ghost of Flight 401”, and conceived a cartoon based on that Eastern Airlines ghost story. Foolishly, I assumed that everyone else was familiar with the story- I was wrong. The cartoon ran and not a single person who read it “got” it. A few years later, I made a similar boner when I wrote a cartoon based on my roommate Dan The Man’s addiction to a video game called “Tempest”. This arcade-styled game ate quarters and looked much like a psychotic episode, and Dan could not stop playing the crazy thing. So I figured it would be fun to have a Daytona approach controller addicted to it in a far greater way. The problem was, that hardly anyone else played the stupid game, and again, no one “got” it.

Later on, as the cartoon grew in popularity, I found that I could write a “no one gets it” cartoon, and people never said anything. It was the Paul Simon song lyrics syndrome. Your stuff is popular, so no matter how little sense it makes... because “YOU” did it, everyone still thinks its good. This is the path that leads a cartoonist to Charles Schultzdom. So, when I suck, please, someone, tell me!

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