Once upon a time, I liked to draw. Actually, I still do. I’m just not very good at it, so I don’t draw very often anymore. I used to have two or three drawing tablets and a fistful of #2 pencils. I even used to have a drawing kit, complete with the charcoal and fancy drawing tools. I just never had anyone who could show me what to do with them. So, I drew the easy stuff – buildings and geometrical figures – things with straight sides and sharply defined edges. Anything that had lots of turns and depended on shading to bring to life has always remained beyond my reach.

Lately, though, I’ve had an interest at getting back into drawing, particularly back into cartooning. Of course, when I say ‘back into cartooning’, I’m thinking about my brief hand at my slapstick cartoons when I was in the 5th and 6th grades. This was during that time when Saddam Hussein was making such a nuisance of himself over there in the Middle East, when Bush Sr. was running the American show, and right before the Persian Gulf War. It seemed like Hussein was in every headline at that time. Even as a kid, it was hard not to notice what was happening on the global scene.

Somehow, I got it into my head that it would be amusing to create a comic strip about “Sadman Insane.” ((That was my 5th grade teacher’s favorite nickname for Saddam. The way he figured it, any man that given over to violence much be pretty sad inside and positively insane to risk the wrath of the rest of the world to do the things he was doing.)) The comic was pretty Warner Bros. – in every single one, it was Saddam versus Uncle Sam. And in every single one, Saddam always managed to blow himself up. ((I’ve always had a bit of a morbid sense of humor.)) In one he pulled the pin on a grenade and threw the pin. In another he rigged a launcher to throw a bunch of grenades – only he rigged it backwards so that the pins went flying and the grenades stayed. Or he walked over his own landmines. It was pretty ridiculous and very unoriginal. But to my 5th-grade mind, it was the funniest thing going. I probably drew 30 or 40 of these strips to keep myself amused, and every single one had me roaring with laughter at the idiotic antics of this moronic dictator.

I think most of those comics ended up getting lost over the years. Heck, I probably threw a bunch of them away shortly after I drew them. I mean, what kid at that age really understands the value of stick figure drawings like that, recognizes the value that they would later have for their older self? Now I wish I still had them, something to look at again now and see if I still found them amusing. I suspect I might; my sense of humor really hasn’t changed all _that_ much over the years. And they might have actually inspired me to do other humorous drawings now, to pick up the pencil again and risk the idiotic.

I might do that, anyway…

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