Freudian Slips: The Bee Man of Blackwood

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

January 20, 2005

The Bee Man of Blackwood

A modern day Marco Polo, Robert Ripley lived an extraordinary life as an adventurer and explorer. He traveled the world searching for the unusual. Ripley started what has now become the enterprise known as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! He received over one million letters a year for twenty years from people wanting a spot in his famous newspaper cartoons. Such prolific fan mail explains not only where all the trees went but how many different people from all walks of life there are. Some time ago, Ripley’s Believe It or Not contacted me about turning my life into a comic strip. Today, January 20, 2005 I enter the auspicious realm as a comic strip. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not comic strip is syndicated in about 75 newspapers across America, 37 different countries, and over 200 publications worldwide. It will also be posted on a few websites, including The sheer volume of newspapers translates into millions of readers. Because of the media exposure, I hope my disease, Mastocytosis, is Googled a hundred thousand times. Why? There is no blessed cure for this peculiar disease. While I have been lampooned in art, my hope is to gain public awareness about my rare disease. I looked different during the years I costumed in a beekeeper’s suit, but no comic strip can begin to tell the story of how Mastocytosis has changed my once ordinary life. I have no regrets consenting to be the subject matter of a cartoon. It provides carbon dating of what I went through to stay alive until doctors figured out what to do with me. Yes, some alter ego is now The Bee Man of Blackwood in the Funny Section but allow me to share what the comic strip couldn’t cover in concept and design. The Bee Man of Blackwood could easily have been titled Masto Man with just as much flare for the unusual. Mastocytosis is about understanding your body as it counter-intuitively works to deceive you on a cellular level. Mastocytosis is about a mortal’s subtle erosion of energy, endurance, and talents. The erosion is such a slippery slope some of us fall further from grace until quality of life changes warrant a caregiver. I hope my condition never reaches this systemic saturation point. I live one day at a time looking at life from both sides of the spectrum. Let me count the ways. It hurts me to grasp a pen and write but I am still gainfully employed. My muscles inordinately fatigue to prepare a meal but I can still cook like nobody’s business. It hurts to exercise but it hurts worse if I don’t. The thousands of lesions on my body constantly itch but I am not in the least contagious. Pressure points cause pain even to hug my children but I still love. I am often out of breath answering to the day but I am still breathing. I cannot be stung by in so much as a bee but I can stop and smell the silk roses.
To the millions of readers around the world, Masto Man is not coming to a theater near you but it is a story that indeed needs to be told. The Bee Man of Blackwood is today’s news but long live Masto Man!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

what are you talking about????

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand what this is about, too many words, too verbose.

11:33 AM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Long Live the Bee Man, or Pastor Hornet, or The Masto Man (though my friend, Saul would prefer The Matza Man)whatever...LONG LIFE!!!! A Wonderful Life!! OH and you made a header over at Philly Future!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Thanks Pax. I work hard to keep all my alter egos straight.

11:33 PM  
Blogger HoneybeeMissy said...

Joe Congrats on the Funny Pages. Will you give me an autograph when I see you next the time?


P.s I wonder how late I will be up tonight reading you and Pax :~)

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't see in that link to united features where the comic is.

Hopefully we'll see "Bee Man" in some Philadelphia area papers!

- Steph

11:04 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

the closest newspaper to us is Bucks County Times in Pa. you can check it out here.

12:39 PM  

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