Nor am I so ill that I want to languish in bed. Thus, I turn to this blog for a simple but meaningful project.
I just happen to have these two stories from Marge's Tubby #15. Since Kelly and his kids [TM] enjoyed the recent set from that issue, why not double their (and your) pleasure?
First up: "The Teacher," in which we see Tubby at his most anarchic and self-determined. No one--not even filthy-rich Wilbur--can impede Tubby's plans, once they're set in motion. Especially so, if said plans advance Tubby's social status with ever-fickle Gloria.
Poor Tubby is setting himself up for a lifetime of frustrating, painful relationship troubles. Even though he relishes getting Wilbur's goat (and, usually, Gloria's), it's clear how ill-treated and poorly thought of he is by these supposed social superiors.
They address him as one would a mangy cur snooping in the trashcan, about to overturn a Hefty Sak of rancid leavings. "GET AWAY FROM HERE, YOU FRESH THING...GET OUT! OUT! OUT! OUT!"
Tubby may outwit these hoity-toity kids, but he does so at the sacrifice of his dignity. The psychotherapy community was designed for individuals like Tubby Tompkins. We are, thankfully, spared such potential titles as Marge's Tubby Therapy Time! and Tubby Traumas. The comix of Ivan Brunetti give us an approximation of what the adult Tubby might well be like...
Tubby comes out the victor in "The Lost Shoe." Wilbur and Gloria attempt a minor-league mind-fudge on erstwhile detective Tubby.
This prank is justified. Tubby has literally snowed the poor little rich boy, in a harsh moment of social humiliation. There is something quite real and jarring about Tubby's attack on Wilbur. For once, we, the readers, feel some understanding of Wilbur's point of view.
This story's most haunting moment is softly spoken, when we see Wilbur's fear of his father's anger. "I'd rather be out in the cold than in the house when father is in a bad mood," a subdued Wilbur confesses at the end of page one.
As wealthy patriarchs go, Wilbur's dad is a old softie in Stanley's world. His gripes concern something that's feasible and understandable--foot pain. Wilbur's highly vulnerable confession suggests that there are frightening moments in this high-faluting household. Stanley never shows us any of these moments. To know that they exist is enough.
Whoa--am I downer today or what? I forgot to mention how funny these two stories are. Stanley was at the top of his game in the mid-to-late 1950s as a writer. As I've said before, his weaving of dark and light gives his stories a resonance--even as they entertain us, they remind us, just a little bit, of life's harsh realities and hidden secrets.
OK...time for some more grapefruit juice!