Oh, Lord, what have I done?
On paper it looks like a great idea. Fifteen of the nation’s top cartoonists coming to Boise to support wounded and injured veterans. These guys have done it all. They are award winners, they have traveled all over the world to show their support for the troops (including combat zones), and they are incredibly successful cartoonists. The best of the best.
But there is a problem.
I know these guys. A couple of cartoonists is a manageable arrangement. But getting fifteen of them together at an event that has beer? That is … well, let’s just say on a risk management chart the dot is in the upper right corner.
Problem number 2: They are coming to my town. After they leave, I will still be here to deal with the fallout and pay for the broken furniture.
Here is who is coming:
1. The Governor. With this poster his reputation is indelibly linked to the artists coming to the state. No pressure.
2. Rick Kirkman, Baby Blues
3. Ed Steckley, illustrator and MAD Magazine contributor (for the record in case of litigation, he drew the poster)
4. Chad Carpenter, Tundra
5. Michael Ramirez, Investor’s Business Daily and Pulitzer Prize winner
6. Mason Mastroianni, B.C.
7. Dave Coverly, Speed Bump and Reuben Award winner
8. Todd Clark, Lola (and Boise local)
9. Jeff Keane, The Family Circus
10. Steve Moore, In the Bleachers (another Boise local)
11. Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine
12. Ray Alma, MAD Magazine
13. Jeff Bacon, Broadside and Greenside
14. Mike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm and Pulitzer Prize winner
15. Bruce Higdon, Punderstatements
16. T Lewis, Over the Hedge
17. Tom Richmond, MAD Magazine and current President of the National Cartoonists Society – also a Reuben Award winner.
These guys are my heroes, and to a large extent they are the reason the Wyakin Warrior program was created to shepherd severely wounded veterans through college and into successful careers. But they were also the kids who threw spit wads in junior high school. My daughter won’t be of dating age for another thirty years (if I have anything to do with it), but when she finally gets there I will tell her to stay away from cartoonists.
At the same time, each of these guys has donated artwork for a silent auction to benefit the veterans in the Wyakin Warrior program, so they’re worth the risk. (In fact, you can bid on their art by going to the Guardian Ball website – you don’t need to be in Boise to win.)
Is there a chance they’ll get out of hand? Yes. Will they also visit the veterans at the VA Medical Center while they are here? Sure. Am I grateful to this band of knuckleheads for all they have done for the troops? Without a doubt. Is there a chance my reputation with the Governor and state of Idaho will be damaged beyond repair?
But in this case, I think I’ll play the hand I dealt myself and hope it comes up aces. And if it doesn’t, well, I have a fall back plan.
I can move.