There's a certain talk that some children have with their parents. It comes when the child - usually as a teen or young adult - has a moment of self-realization. At that time it's only fair to share with mom and dad this moment of discovery, as they are the ones who invested so much of their lives in the upbringing of the soul-searching youth.
The fear before the talk comes in waves. Will they accept me like this? Will my news give dad a heart attack? Will mom console herself in a flood of tears? Most importantly, will they still love me?
I had such a moment of clarity, followed by such a talk.
We sat in the living room. They on the faded couch, me on the dusty ottoman. Sunlight filtered through the windows, casting a shadow on my face.
Deep breath. Clasped, sweaty hands between jumpy knees. Anxious looks exchanged.
"Mom ... Dad ... ," I started.
"Oh my God," Mom interjected.
"Mom, please," I begged. Another deep breath. Just say it! "I'm a cartoonist."
My mother let go an audible gasp. My father sat with a stunned, confused look plastered across his mug. I could see them questioning themselves. Hadn't they raised me right? Didn't they make me take all the right classes in high school? Wood shop, metal shop, accounting for Pete's sake!
The house was quiet for what seemed an eternity.
"How can this be," Mom asked to no one across the room.
"It's ... It's just the way I am," I apologized.
Actually, my mother expected no less of me, and my father shows off my work to a lot of people (Ssh! Don't tell him I know).
To be completely honest, I've never had the above moment. But that's the way a cartoonist's mind works. We find humor in the most mundane, the most painful and even the most serious of life's events.
It's a curse.