Thursday, November 13, 2008

Human Interest Story

James Lileks, one of my favorite bloggers, also works for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He has an online blog there, too, in which each Thursday he presents a set of cartoon mysteries that were originally printed in the paper in the late 1940's. He withholds the solution, of course, until the regular commenters have a chance to guess the solution.

Today's cartoon came from an idea sent in by a reader to the comic's creator. He checked on the name and the woman is still alive. So he called her up. She's likely about 75, but she remembers it well.
Like most such interviews, I felt a bit stupid and rude – interrupting someone’s day to ask questions about a sixty-year old cartoon strip seemed a bit forward, and I expected “oh, my, no, I don’t remember that.” But she knew exactly what I was talking about, and told me the tale in that cheerful and familiar voice of small-town Minnesota ladies.

Kinda cool story, however brief. This is one of the reasons I like James Lileks so much. He isn't just infatuated with the past, he respects it. Even when he mocks elements of the popular culture you can tell he does so with a bit of wistful reverence. And when he runs across actual participants, like Bernice, he gets down-right fan-boyish.

In short, I'd be perfectly comfortable sending him to hang out with my mother. I know she'd be in good hands.

No comments: