Freudian Slips: They Oughtta Not Made This Comic Book

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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.

March 06, 2005

They Oughtta Not Made This Comic Book

They Oughta Have Bells is considered one of the most offensive reprehensible comic books ever published. If anyone out there knows more about the specifics of this comic book, please drop me a comment. This 1960’s comic book mocked disability in living color. Its message lampooned disability and disregarded human compassion. It never reflected the public rights of being disabled in America nor political correctness. Instead, it found its way into American pop culture promoting the kind of hurt that could make Helen Keller speak. To borrow symbolism, it lit the torches carried by the hate mongers to Frankenstein’s castle. This comic book may have setback disability rights a generation. I hope the comic book’s circulation was small and its shelf life short.
Thankfully, disability rights have come a long way in the last fifty to a hundred years. Nonetheless, diehard prejudice still finds a warm cozy home by the fire with some people. As a social worker, I receive a high volume of mail. I recently received a complaint letter from the neighbor of one of my clients. Its content left me aghast. The letter awfully reminded me of the comic book.
Let me preface the introduction of my client by saying that I admire Nat. Nat functions in the mild range of mental retardation but he does his best to negate cognitive limitations. He is gainfully employed as a porter. Furthermore, Nat has been recognized in the local newspapers for his dedicated work as a porter. In unheralded fashion, Nat helps his sister raise her children and even does the family laundry. Nat is a member of society in good standing. He lives in a 600 unit apartment complex, the nosy kind of residential community where everybody knows your name. It sounds like Cheers but it is far from the Norm.
Human beings are indeed different but shouldn’t be treated differently in terms of civil rights. For the sake of argument, let’s talk about Nat’s individual differences which came under scrutiny. Nat looks a little different but I guarantee you, he wants to be treated fairly and not judged based upon his appearance. Nat has an idiosyncrasy of talking to himself whenever he spends time alone. He mumbles and perseverates out loud. He can often be found humming and singing to himself as a way to fill the silence of being alone. Self-talk is no crime against humanity in any state in the country. I do it myself and do not want to be imprisoned because of it. Nat, you see, is as harmless as his namesake.
In so many words, the neighbor apparently finds Nat abnormal and repulsive. She felt so strongly about Nat that she went in writing to the apartment complex. The venomous letter found its way to my desk but not before the neighbor further reported Natty to the Division of Youth and Family Services for babysitting her nephews without supervision. Slack-jawed, I read the letter through a few times before my Marty Feldman eyes subsided. The neighbor’s letter indicated that her safety was being jeopardized sharing the same laundry room as Nat. Leaving nothing to interpretation, I include only a couple of her comments:
“The creature roaming the laundry room is downright scary.”
“He scrapes the bottom of the barrel of society.”
Talk about airing dirty laundry! As part of the dehumanization, the neighbor never referred to Nat by name. Let me assure you that this letter was not penned from ignorance. Rather, this was hate mail born in the witching hour. The neighbor would have been better served if she referred to Nat as Whatshisname. I wouldn’t be surprised if this neighbor had an entire collection of this comic book. I guarantee you Whatshisname doesn’t own a single copy.



Blogger PaxRomano said...

And if Nat were gone, said neighbor would turn her jaundiced eye towards someone of a different color or sexual orientation or religious belief ... I'm sure Ms. Nat-Hater was proudly circulating her letter at the Klan rally after she left the snake handling services at her church.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Right you are Pax Romano. There are soothsayers, naysayers, and Gale Sayers. She was a Natsayer. Hey, you neglected to answer the hidden message. Does Whatshisname own a copy of this comic book? Has he ever heard of it? I wrote the whole ending of my story with double meaning.

6:38 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Color me in brain-dead. I was so enraged that I missed all the "name dropping" at the end of your tale.

Whatshisname has never heard of this comic book, though he is going to talk to some of his comic geek pals and see if they know of it.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Ah, the wasted energy I spend in writing with double meaning. I am glad to hear that the comic was eventually pointed out to the resident expert. I will defer on the subject to Whatshisname.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one question. How did you come across this garbage? Even the best deodorant can't mask the malodorous stench coming from this piece of trash. Post by ET

8:04 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Your son John had a copy in his private collection. I seized the copy away from him to save him the shame. just kidding. To answer your quesiton, the comic book was referenced in some disability circular...

5:01 PM  

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