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November 2, 2021: Overcast

As we get older, we acquire more and more arcane historical knowledge. It is of course easiest to relate to people of our own age who because they lived during the same time frame, know what we are talking about.

I may be wrong, but I don’t think that many know of Joe Btfsplk; unless, like me, they were avid comic strip readers in the late 1960s to late 1970s. Joe was a character in the comic strip Li’l Abner, which ran in papers from 1934 to 1977. The illustrator was Al Capp, a rather eccentric individual who as he aged, became increasingly more cynical about most things.

Btfsplk was well-meaning, but he was the world’s worst jinx, bringing considerable misfortune to everyone around him. His bad luck was symbolized by a small, dark rain cloud that hovered over his head.

According to Wikipedia, a story line in the 1970s featured him trapping his cloud in a special anti-pollutant jar. Joe had become romantically involved with a gal for the first time, then his crazed ex-boyfriend showed up to kill him. Joe reluctantly opened the special anti-pollutant jar and released his cloud in order to take care of the boyfriend. Right then he realized that he wasn’t meant for any other kind of life. As he returned to his normal, loner existence, he was for the moment satisfied to be who he really was.

And so, I grew up thinking that those who were jinxed had a black cloud over their head. I thought the same of morose or very negative people. I didn’t ever see the cloud in person, but whenever I thought about these individuals, it materialized. I learned to keep my distance from such people.

Sometimes, for instance, when I’m in a foul mood, I feel the cloud hovering above my head. This has definitely been true in dealing with the book project. I then have to then make a conscious effort to think in a more positive fashion.

I’ve been in a good mood lately; nevertheless, actual black clouds have been literally hovering over my head. There seems to be no escaping it. Day after day after day it’s been overcast, damp, and either raining or snowing or both. I have actually taken the hedge rake and poked at the sky in order to let the sunshine poke through the clouds. Of course, this hasn’t worked.

It’s odd, but Alaskans don’t seem to gripe about the weather. It is simply mentioned as a conversational aside. I suspect that this is because most believe that it goes with the literal territory, which is living in a place where it’s winter eight months a year. Also, most can, and most likely do, escape into their warm homes that have radiant heated floors, and in keeping themselves entertained, this way keep from going bonkers.

Okay there was Joe Btfplk, at the same time there were also Smoos. Smoos was the antithesis of Btfplks. Maybe more about them, tomorrow. Then maybe not. Might be too arcane.

Next: 304. 11/3/21: My Two Personas

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