During a recent e-mail discussion in which I was a participant, while attempting to identify the source of a rumor about the plans of the new owners for the cafĂ© at which the discussants hung, a finger was pointed at “that skinny guy who writes about comic books.” As keyboards turned in my direction, I pointed out that this description could not possibly refer to me since (a) I was not “that skinny guy” (confirmed by the new high-tech scale in our club’s locker room which places my BMI squarely in the lower third of “normal) but “that extremely handsome guy” (confirmed by my wife, the admiring Adele); and (b) I don’t write about comic books” but “about underground/alternative cartoonists.” (In my inner, more private, less public man-of-the-people self, I don’t write “about” them either. They are merely subjects through which I address matters of universal concern.

Still I mulled the description over.

Just suppose 74-years hard labor at crafting an identity had resulted in that. It was cooler, I supposed, than “that skinny guy who used to practice workers’ compensation law.” It was definitely preferable to “that skinny, bald, four-eyed…” (or, as my friend Cary said, to “that skinny, toothless crack-addict”). It also seemed an advance beyond the even more reductive “you skinny prick,” which I had been called by a passing drunk in 1959 (when, incidentally, I may have weighed ten-pounds more than I do now). (See: “How I Spent My Vacation.” May 24, 2009.

It may even top “that pudgy ex-mime,” who authored the slur in the first place.

Smiley face goes here.