“We all think we’re so different, and we’re not.” These wise words come from cartoonist Jim Unger, who died earlier today. You might recognize his Herman strip to the left – the series has run in newspapers for years, and has been a reliable source of genuine (if sometimes bittersweet!) chuckles. If you’ve never had the opportunity to spend some time with Herman, I urge you to clear some time in the schedule and do so STAT!
Cartoons are a particularly powerful way to increase the amount of humor in your life. The logical part of our mind reacts to the language used in a joke, but to reach the subconscious mind – where the most powerful, primal emotions reside – you need imagery. The best cartoons combine funny language with side-splitting imagery for an intense humor experience.
And make no mistake: Jim Unger’s cartoons are among the best. They really illustrate that humor unites us. We can all recognize the people in Herman: they’re our friends and neighbors, our colleagues and co-workers. Unger presents them from just a slightly different angle than we’re used to: his commentary on humanity is both gentle and dry, highlighting the absurdities that surround our everyday life.
When you’re living with a chronic condition like diabetes, you tend to be confronted by more than your fair share of life’s absurdities. Humor allows us to maintain our emotional equilibrium in the face of the frustrating, silly, or rage inducing moments we encounter. The work of a comedic genius like Jim Unger helps us see that when we can’t do anything else, we can laugh – and then we feel better!
In What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease you’ll find ways to benefit from the use of humor in your life. One recommendation is to collect humor – especially funny cartoons! Today, in honor of Jim Unger, I’d like to recognize his Herman strip as one of the funniest and most influential comics of our time. They deserve a place in every humor collection.
Thank you, Jim Unger, for all of the laughs!