I’m always writing, it seems, even in my sleep. But when I’m not, I’m either reading or, if it’s summertime, looking for a baseball game to watch. I enjoy watching baseball. I was an avid player in my youth, and I played in softball leagues for many years when I became an adult. There’s nothing more thrilling than the one-on-one competition between a pitcher and a batter.
There was a time when I ate, slept, and dreamt baseball. When I was a kid growing up in Union City, Pennsylvania, I met baseball legend Ted Williams. Our town’s boat manufacturer made a line of fishing boats that he endorsed. Whenever he came to visit the manufacturer, he always made time to visit us neighborhood kids and talk about baseball. His batting tips helped me become a better hitter.
I began drawing comic strips when I was a fifth grader. My toons made people laugh, so I kept at it, happily, right into high school, college, and beyond. Because baseball was my life when I was a kid, it was common to find me drawing comic strips about it. One, called The Bullpen, featured the comical exploits of a pitcher and his secret slick pitch, which was either a spitball or a greaseball, depending on the lubricant used. One of those gags made it to a later strip called Conroy’s Corner, which I’ve included below.
Although I never became a syndicated cartoonist, I drew Conroy’s Corner and other strips for two local newspapers. Drawing them allowed me to put on plays between the characters I created. Those shows were often silly, sometimes serious with a gag at the end, sublime at times, and even nonsensical, with themes that made me laugh. If they didn’t make me laugh, they never made publication. No other form of storytelling allowed me as much fun and freedom within the realm of a made-up world. It was an escape I loved from beginning to end.
Mark Twain is quoted as saying this about humor: “All our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.” He may as well have been describing my feelings about comic strips. They do leave me with a sunny spirit.
Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at the foibles of life are the best things we can do for our health. But don’t take my word for it. Some of our greatest comedians have told us over the ages that laughter is our best medicine. I pray we live every day to have our funny bones tickled, that we never lose the laughter.
That’s all for now.
This post “Being Funny” copyright © 2022 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.