Medium Large

The Ghost and Mrs. Forth

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on January 7, 2018


When I was a kid I just assumed there was a ghost in our house, even though that made almost no sense for reasons other than the obvious. We lived in a new house on a new street in a new development with no backstory that ever caused anyone to scream. “You son of a bitch! You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you?! You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!” So even if there had been a ghost it would have been that of a frog, turtle, garden snake, or occasional quail, all sadly, eventually forced out by further building that—despite constant yanking and hiding of property markers by my friend Jeff and I—ultimately erased the pond and woods that now inform Ted’s childhood memories…

As for our supposed house ghost, I never thought it was watching me. I never imagined it was interacting with me in any fashion. Frankly, I thought it couldn’t give a damn what I was doing. All this would seem great for a pathologically shy child who one would assume wished more than anything also to be invisible. But for anyone who has ever suffered from severe shyness or studied it, that’s not how awkward apprehension works. Shy people don’t need solitude like introverts nor do they crave to be ignored. In fact, shy people often long for interaction but are so overwhelmed by the possibility others will intensely watch, judge, and summarily find them remarkably wanting that they can’t even take that first step to being social. In many ways it’s a remarkably ego-driven anxiety, one that presumes everyone has a vested interest in—and absolute focus on—what one is doing, born from a twisted version of self-importance that both cannot handle the very idea—not even the actual proffering—of criticism but greatly longs to be recognized and seen by all.

In short, it can be a self-involved, self-destructive mess. It also explains how someone can performs for hundreds on stage or millions on the screen but be remarkably hesitant or removed one-on-one. Ever since I was little I wanted to be a writer and cartoonist. I wanted people to see my work and hopefully enjoy it. And when I was extremely fortunate to achieve such, I was never felled by any public criticism, whether by letter or online. After all, once a work is out there it belongs to the reader as much as the creator. I got to have my say, so why shouldn’t someone get to have theirs? But only in the last ten or so years have I been able to talk about what I do in person, for the very fear that being seen would lead to comments regarding ugliness or awkwardness or how not everything has to end with a Simpsons reference.

And speaking of inflated egotism, weren’t we talking about ghosts and not me? So in short, maybe I didn’t think I was worth the ghost’s attention. But I do know it had a rapt audience in my childhood cat Bettina. Every so often I would see Bettina quietly, intensely staring at a wall, as if listening to a fascinating story, receiving commands from beyond or simply making a new friend…

And so now the Forths have their own cat-communicating specter. That said, the ghost will never be seen, even in transparent or dotted form. It will never interact with any family member save Kitty, and even then will remain unseen and mute. And it will never move any physical objects, disrupt any storylines or take on a “Not Me” quality, since we all know where that will eventually lead…

After all, the ghost has its own afterlife to live, and doesn’t have the time to simply watch and judge others.

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Medium Large Comic: Friday, January 5, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on January 5, 2018

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