Peanuts, Garfield, The Family Circus, Hi and Lois, The Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes; Winnie Winkle and Judge Parker. The 'Jumble' puzzle at the bottom of the daily comics page. These are all part of what made reading the comics with my breakfast before work each morning, more anticipated than the front page of the newspaper.
Having been a full-time homemaker for 10 years now, it's been a very long time since I had a morning get-up-and-go-out-to-work routine. We do not subscribe to the local paper and thus, I've lost touch with my old favs, and many of them had been discontinued, even when I was still reading the funnies.
Fast-forward to present. My boys, over the years, have gotten a taste for the comics, from the occasional Sunday paper we'd pick up after Mass. And for a few weeks now they've asked us to pick one up each Sunday. OK, fine. Pretty harmless entertainment, right?
WRONG. Yesterday as one son read the comics aloud with his brother looking on and Mom and Dad sipping coffee at the dining room table, the words "sex change" came out of our son's mouth. My husband and I immediately and in unison, cried out, "WHAT?!?", while we both grabbed the "funny" papers from our unwitting boys' hands.
So much for allowing the boys to look forward to the comics section each Sunday. While the time will certainly come for our boys to be made aware of the myriad ways in which this world is messed up, the Sunday full-color funny papers is not the jump-off point we need for imparting this sort of knowledge to them.
Of course the kids wondered what they said that caused such a reaction in their parents. "But what is a sex change??" they both wanted to know. After giving them sufficient and age-appropriate information, we let them know that we would not be picking up a Sunday paper any longer. Of course they were disappointed, but having grown up with limitations on secular communications coming into our home, from the DVDs they watch, to the TV commercials that must be turned off as we watch a Cardinals game, they took it pretty much in stride.
I think it was more disappointing for me because those days of anticipating the next installment in the Winnie Winkle serial, or being touched by the oft-poignant The Family Circle, or laughing out loud at Calvin's latest adventures are looked back on with fond reminiscence, and I had hoped to give them some of that same enjoyment. Alas, even the funnies have gone the way of the world.
But all is not lost. The Sunday funnies? Well, the boys won't be reading them, as I don't need yet another thing to screen first. But, we will replace it with a book or two of those same strips I enjoyed. I think they will find a real kinship with Calvin. And certainly it will provide our boys with more reason for a genuine and innocent chuckle than what is found in today's Sunday funnies.