Not literally. But I'll get to that.
Last night, I woke up and couldn't fall asleep. I woke up because for the past week a muscle in my left jaw has been acting up. Any attempts to chew or otherwise close my jaw resulted in excruciating pain. It's not TMJ, but more likely just a stress knot in my Masseter muscle. It's getting better, though.
I couldn't fall asleep because I had a dozen ideas kicking around in my head again. Stuff ranging from ways to improve how we foster community at the parent's website I work on to coming to the conclusion that arguing about which is better for fostering community, blogs or message board is moot because the design of both has been rooted in one form of narcissism or another and neither are purposefully designed to foster actual conversations.
I typed all of these ideas up just to get them out of my head. Then I looked for something to read. I grabbed a biography my mother had given to me for Christmas, Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life by Linda H. Davis.
As I said, I grew up with Charles Addams. Since before I was born, my father had a copy of Addams and Evil on the family bookshelf. I must have been in 2nd or 3rd grade when I first pulled it off the shelf and started flipping through the pages, reading, though not always understanding the captions.
It didn't matter though because some of my favorite cartoons were of the boy and the trouble he made: speeding a wind-up school bus across toy tracks just so the locomotive would hit, building a town in the bath tub and turning on the spigot, mixing chemicals in a Jr Scientist kit and turning into a Jr. Hyde and back before his mother arrived. Though my mother may have worried about my desire to find and hang stolen "danger: bridge out" signs on my bedroom wall, she used these moments to point out why that would be wrong.
It may have stopped me from doing it, but it didn't stop me from thinking it was still funny. These were the moments when I grew up --knowing the difference between right and wrong, but still being able to imagine the possibilities of wrong were funnier than the possibilities of right.
Today, I have only a small collection of his cartoons on my bookshelf. Whenever I read these, especially the macabre ones, I get a sense of nostalgia. They comfort me and I love to revel in his art and their twisted takes on the twisted world around us. It's Charles Addams' cartoons that warped my sense of humor -- and my sense of tragedy.
I can't see myself any other way.