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Posted by on June 10, 2015

His name is Sergio Aragones.

He isn’t a theologian.  Far from it.   He is a cartoonist.

Yet through cartooning humor, his philosophy often outweighs much offered by stuffy volumes once part of several university and grad school required reading lists.  Given the chance, I’d like to meet this man.

We first met because of his shadowy work in MAD magazine.  Lock on to ‘shadowy’.  And before you ask, no, I did not identify with Alfred E. Neuman.  I did, however, almost instantly relate to Aragones’ strip, “The Shadow Knows”.

I’ve neither space nor time to show you much of that work.  The gist is that while the drawn character is doing what’s considered appropriate or politically correct (shudder, #helpmenotbepukingsick), the blacked-out shadow is doing what the person really feels like doing.

How often have you given in to someone else’s preference, or opinion, or bluster when it’s the last thing you wanted to do?

It made you grind your teeth a little, didn’t it?  You weren’t happy, you felt put upon and used, and the embarrassment and frustration – and, yes, anger – elbowed their way into whatever you did from then on.

Projecting those negative emotions is a bad thing.

Right?  Puts those around you on edge, thinking they need to tippy-toe around you?  Plus in itself it solves nothing.  And haven’t all the Good Guys been taught the honorable thing is to prefer one another over oneself?

So what do you do?

You smile.  You stuff your own desires, hurts, preferences and wishes down inside and clamp a smile cover on top of ’em.  No.  It’s not the best way.  Others who tend to approach every situation or conversation, invited or not, with mouth wide open take from your acquiescence that their asocial speech and actions must be acceptable.

But it works.  Sort of.

“Okay, wait.  This all sounds a little, I don’t know, feminine.  Isn’t this all—”

Stop.  Don’t you think men weep inside themselves where nobody sees?  Don’t you know guys hurt, and their hurt is often compounded by the lack of true friends who keep their hearts open and mouths shut?  Who do men go to when they’re destroyed inside?

Read some of Sergio Aragones’ bio.

I have Aragones to thank for wishing a thousand and three times I had the courage my shadow does.  Know how my shadow handles stuff?

  • If he doesn’t like an activity, he turns on his heel and leaves.
  • If he believes a person and/or their actions repulsive, he says so.
  • If he sees someone being shunned or abused, he openly cares about them.
  • If asked his opinion – or what’s wrong – he says it.  No sugarcoating or playing cute ‘tolerance and light’ games.  He isn’t brutal, but he’s dead honest.

My shadow could care less what social protocols dictate.  If he doesn’t like what’s on his plate, he doesn’t eat it.  If he doesn’t like a person, no matter who that person is or thinks they are, he chooses to hang with others whom he admires and whose company always leaves him better.


“Does this make me look fat?”

Me:  “Perhaps a different color might work better for you.”

My shadow:  “Yep.  You won’t look good in it, so you won’t feel good, either.”

“What do you think of my idea?”

Me:  “Let me think about it a little more.”

My shadow:  “I think it’s a pathetic attempt to throw your weight around and suck up to the boss.  If you’d done your homework, you’d know it’s been tried, won’t work, why it won’t, and that you’re no more brilliant than the last three.”

Thaaat’s my shadow.

Where do I keep him?

Right behind my smile.

I suspect that you have one a lot like him, and keep yours in the same place.

It’s truly scary what a smile can hide.

© D. Dean Boone, June 2015

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