See Beyond The Numbers [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

200. The number of mass shootings in the United States this year to date. Heck, it’s not even June. Of course, I’m writing this a few days ahead so, at the very least, by the time you read this, 222 more people will be dead from gun violence since we are averaging 111 people a day.

What’s remarkable to me is how many bar charts and line graphs are available. How much data we keep and information we track, all made easily digestible through smart visual analytics and colorful charts. Murdered children and teachers and church goers and concert attendees and folks who simply went to the grocery store – reduced to an abstraction translated into a visual that’s easy for us to consume. Apparently, we’re adept at making the carnage-numbers pretty and consumable but not so accomplished at seeing the numbers as people – children and elders, parents and friends. Scrub it. Nothing personal. That way our leaders* can offer a few more antiseptic thoughts and prayers and we, for some reason, vote them back into office.

[*I wonder if our representatives were required to go to the morgue every time we have a mass shooting and actually see the damage a military grade weapon does to a human body, especially a small child’s body, if they might see beyond their personal ambition and lobby dollars. They might see murdered children and teachers with names, and parents. I know, I know, a stupid idea. Were they required to experience the reality, they’d have little or no time to legislate. 200 morgue visits in 5 months would certainly be a full time job. With ample time to lead or no time at all, it seems the result is the same.]

read Kerri’s thoughts on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Attend To The Details [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Don’t let this cartoon fool you. In another life, she would have made a crack detective. Or a masterful research scientist. Or a lawyer (god forbid!). Her attention to detail sometimes frightens me. Kerri loves to do research. For instance, when we are going to take a trip, she delights in investigating the available airbnb options. She scrutinizes each property down to the pots in the kitchen.

For a guy with his head firmly lodged in the clouds, it’s an excruciating process to witness. It is not in my fiber to consider minutiae. True confession: I generally hide until the the vast options are narrowed down to the top three. My head explodes if there are too many considerations and since I appreciate having a head, I’ve learned to guard my head-explosion-threshold. Three.

Besides. She has great taste. And, she likes to hang out with me! Those are the only details I need to know.

read Kerri’s blogpost on this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Let The Chips Fall [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

If I left Kerri to her own devices, we’d have a kennel full of once-stray-dogs, a menagerie of rescued kitties, birds in rehab, chipmunks recuperating in the upstairs bedroom and a host of other critters who crossed our path on their day of distress.

It’s not that I am heartless. I have a heart. My capacity to stand upright is proof-positive that it works. No, the real impediment to my save-the-animal-kingdom-resistance is practicality: we have a tiny backyard and it’s my job to scoop the poop. I can barely keep up with Dogga.

I’d love a St. Francis existence, birds alight on my shoulders and raccoons following at my feet. The realities of poop always pops my fantasy. “Let them run wild,” I insist. “Let nature take its proper course!”

She looks at me with those pleading, doe eyes.

“Let the chips fall where they will,” I say with conviction, “just not in our backyard.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about ANIMAL RESCUE

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Deflect And Dine [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

It’s true. Never go food shopping when you are hungry. It’s also true – for us – after stocking up the pantry, the last thing we want to do is cook. “How about Thai?” she asks.

“My thought, exactly,” I chirp. It’s a ritual.

We let our supplies dwindle to almost nothing before a resupply. It’s become a game: what can we make with what’s left in the fridge and on the shelves? I’m happy to report that some of our favorite dinner-discoveries have come from this game. Enjoying the dinner-surprise-game also serves as a signal: tomorrow is resupply day.

Of course, sometimes, after the signal, when resupply day arrives in all its glory, we don’t feel like doing a massive shop. “How about Thai?” I ask.

“My thought exactly,” she chirps.

read Kerri’s blog post about NOT COOKING

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Delay and Seem! [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I’m one of those people who doesn’t hear lyrics. When I sing in the car or the shower it is generally gibberish or a rude approximation. Except, when I’m singing along with Kerri. I’ve learned that, with a nanosecond delay, I can sing what she sings and seem like I know the lyrics.

I know there’s trouble when she asks me – me, the man who has the ears of a goat, the man who knows no lyrics, “What does that lyric mean, anyway?” I quickly tap my inner Philistine and respond, “What does any lyric mean?” Artists! Puh! They can’t be trusted. They just make stuff up! What’s the use of asking about meaning when an artist is involved! I am one! I should know!

“Google it.” she says. I married a consummate researcher. Were she not a musician, she’d have been a crack private eye. A world-class investigator. It’s impossible for me to get away with anything! No lyrics cover-up for me!

And then, sweet-Google-relief. We’re both singing gibberish. Something made-up. “Wait!” she exclaims, “You mean I’ve been singing that wrong all my life? Didn’t you think you were singing the right lyric, too?”

I smile. “Yes.” I nod emphatically. “I’ve been singing it wrong my whole life, too!” A strange path to an obvious truth.

The next song begins. I lean in, sounding good with a nanosecond delay.

read Kerri’s blog post about LYRICS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Bargain With Bacon [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Kerri is the true fan of bacon in our house. If I’ve pinched her last nerve, if she’s having a hard day, bacon for breakfast will always turn the tide. All of this is to say, this cartoon is less about bacon than it is about bargaining.

Have you ever made a deal with the universe? If this, then that? I don’t know about you, but I am notoriously bad at keeping my end of the universe-bargains. There’s always another piece of flourless chocolate cake. That whiff of bacon is sure to invoke another bargain-on-top-of-the-last-bacon-bargain.

I suspect the universe smiles when we bargain. Silly humans, tossing up imagined obstacles in the name of good behavior. And, you know what they say, every obstacle is an opportunity!

Bon appetit bacon mi amore!

read Kerri’s blog post about BACON!

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Snore and Deny [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Although we may have led you to believe otherwise, these characters are fictitious. Especially the man. He’s a product of imagination and has no bearing on reality. Any resemblance is purely coincidental and, since I never snore, there’s no chance of coincidental resemblance. None. Nope.

Now, if the woman in the cartoon snored, well…

read Kerri’s blog post about CHAINSAWS

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Run! [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Our code phrase for product/service-discontent is, “Write a letter!” (It’s necessary, when speaking the phrase, to use a thick Long Island accent, “Write-ah-lettah!”). Beaky taught Kerri to express her discontent when a service, product or experience is substandard. And, Beaky taught Kerri this lesson in a thick Long Island accent. So. There you go!

I can see it coming. I can see it in her eyes. The first time I saw my darling dainty duck turn into Nurse Ratchet was at a hotel. I was terrified at the transformation and ran across the lobby. I feared for the person receiving the complaint. It’s become my standard practice: run! Put vast distance between me and the expression of discontent with undertones of Long Island. Pretend to be someone else. If only we’d leave and, later, write-ah-lettah!

The most horrifying cartoon panel I have ever drawn is the last panel in this strip. She grabs his arm. There’s no escape. Oh dear…

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Dress In Layers [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I know to dress in layers. If we are going to take a drive in these cold months, or go to the store, the windows will go down. The windows will go up. Hot. Cold. Menopause, I’ve learned, is a whack-a-mole of temperature fluctuation.

I am a man – and a slow-study – but I know when I am on thin ice and writing about menopause is very thin ice. There is only one thing I will add to my dress-in-layers comment: when the heat hits her brain I have to remind her that they will punch me, not her. And, as a chivalrous guy (stop smirking), it’s my obligation and duty to stand between her and the biker-dude that she’s just called a “sissy.” I’m not much of an obstacle.

But mostly, that biker-dude wouldn’t stand a chance. She’d blow through me like a hot tornado. Windows up. Windows down.

read Kerri’s blog post about MENOPAUSE

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Reinvent [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

As we’ve been told, Kerri and I are simpatico. Yet, at this time of year, the vast differences in our past lives come to the surface. For instance, she’s lived in this house – now our house – for 32 years. She raised her children here. I did not have children and was mostly – until I met her – a wanderer. For Kerri, the holidays are rich with memories and traditions, meal prep for the masses, all things that she now misses. Covid has served to amplify her longing.

I’ve always had to improvise during the holidays and, were I to do an accounting of my experiences, I’d wager that I’ve spent more holidays away from rather than with family. I do not suffer the loss and yearning that Kerri suffers. My holiday memories are not fond or tradition-filled.

It was cold on Thursday but we walked a trail anyway. We held hands and talked of reinventing or rituals. It seems so much of past two years has been an exercise in disruption and loss, letting go of what-was and making space for what-will-be. The holidays in our future need not be populated with the ghosts of holidays past.

We read an article that flipped on-its-head the usual Thanksgiving question. Rather than ask, “What are you thankful for?” the article suggested we ask of ourselves, “What will you do to help others be thankful?”

It’s a good question and a great seed to plant for the ghost-of-our-holiday-future.

read Kerri’s smack-dab. blog post

smack-dab. © 2021 kerrianddavid.com