Friday, August 7, 2009


oil on linen

Back to work and Bug Life. Feelin' better. I'm carryin' around a little stuffed chocolate lab I bought a few years back. He reminded me so much of Dev that I stowed him away for just this occasion. His name is ARFOD—A Reasonable Facsimile of Devlin—and I'm happy to say he's helping very much.

Isn't a clown face appropriate? I love to smile. To laugh. And it feels so good when its genuine. From the heart. The gut. In my experience, a genuine, bonafide case of the "HAs!!" is rather rare.

The most memorable case I've had to date transpired years back, driving to work. My car called in sick that day, so I hitched a ride in with my board buddy. This was back in the day, when graphic art was done in the physical world. Elizabeth was one of my closest friends, however she always kept me at arms' length, which I think, is why she still is one of my closest friends. "Familiarity breeds contempt!" she would always say with a knowing smile.

Anyway, she's a talker. An incredibly animated, gifted, and hilarious talker. So, as she was driving, the hands are going every which way, we're making fun of our boss at the time (yes, another tyrant), the scenery's going by. Discussing his outbursts and paranoia, we were relieved to be on schedule for on-time arrival at work. We were told that we had better be on time that day, no excuses would be accepted.

Then about a mile and half from work, it was a 35 mile round trip, the car began to sputter. My friend's eyes opened wide, she looked apprehensive and began a slow, tortured and perfectly metered chant of "OH NO!"...with a little tick of time in-between the OH and the NO, giving it more gravity. The car's sputtering increased right along with the "OH NO!s," until it finally gave up the ghost, right there on the parkway, as we rolled onto the shoulder. "What?" "OH...NO!" "What? "OH...NO!" "WHAT!!!"

Now I'm thinkin', hell he can't get in our faces because of car trouble, we're cool. In fact, I was quite pleased we broke down. It was Friday, a little drama, in late, bagels waiting, so what's wrong? "Engine trouble huh?" She looked at me and slowly uttered five little words..."I ran out of gas!" That was it! Nothing else. She didn't deliver the line in any particularly clever way. She just said it. And I lost it. Completely. I lost it so badly I couldn't breathe. I laughed for at least five minutes, full tilt boogie, never stopped. She opened the car door, my body spilled out onto the grass beside the parkway. And there we were, the two of us, writhing and laughing uncontrollably. Our boss was furious. Had to interrupt meetings to get someone to pick us up. He's yelling, face red and all it took were those same five words for us to lose it again. Good thing he liked our work.

Not a very funny story. But, sometimes, a really great case of the "HAs!" is all about timing, circumstances and just letting go. Obviously, we both needed to let go.


  1. For me, those "HAs" tend to come when I've been stressed, or too focused, or wound a little too tightly and something comes along that is just plain sillly or absurd and it all breaks loose. The release is wonderful. I'm glad you're thinking about smiles and laughs.

  2. So glad you are feeling a wee bit better over sweet beloved Dev. If this wonderfully buggy clown face doesn't bring a smile I don't know what will!

    Your story made me laugh out loud and recall the day my mural partner and I were driving to a job. We are both pretty spacey and think alike (we called each Whales because we didn't have to speak to communicate). We were yak yak yak when she pulled into a parking lot and turned off the engine. We simultaneously opened the doors (still yakking) and started to unload... then stood there in silence (crickets chirping here) with our mouths hanging open. We were in some strange Apt. parking lot literally miles from our destination! HA! Love those truly unexpected belly laughs!


  3. "ARFOD"--Oh my god, that makes me laugh and cry simultaneously.

  4. What a great post and a fun painting. Grins and hugs... -Don

  5. You are an amazing woman, Suz.
    And you need to write as well as paint! :)

  6. Suzanne!

    I love this one!!

    The composition is just brilliant!

    It took me a second to read the title and then scan the image before seeing the face.

    What a truly clever way of combining all of your expertly rendered bug portraits into 'hidden' image!


    Do more like this please!



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