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August 2, 2005 > Senior Moments

Senior Moments

Art and humor have been traveling companions throughout time and across the globe. While art can take many forms, often of serious inspection and introspection, an occasional injection of comedy is usually well received. Most of us would agree that a bit of levity can be one of the strongest allies in situations requiring a release of tension. Cartoonists know how to harness humor without worrying about physical boundaries. Fantastic flights of fancy have been not only accepted, but applauded in the medium for years and it is this freedom of pen (or pencil) that allows readers to laugh comfortably at life in general and themselves in particular.

In this issue, TCV will introduce a local cartoonist who recently retired from his "day job" as a cartographer with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Known for his quick wit and eloquent humor by friends and family, TCV is happy to include John Fisher's "Senior Moments" in our publication. John says that his inspiration comes from personal observation and after viewing many of his drawings, we are sure our readers will find reason to smile and relate to his thoughts.

Now that John has more time to spend around his home in Niles and the greater Tri-City area, his gentle humor will include many local themes. For those of us, of all ages, who share "senior moments" these amusing caricatures will provide a welcome relief from our daily chores. John adds, "All of us are headed for our senior years if we are not yet there and everyone can identify with a "senior moment" - when you can't think of something you knew a second before."

John Fisher grew up in Irvington. He remembers selling subscriptions and delivering the daily paper, qualifying in 1957 for a trip to Disneyland. "My dad gave me $20, a lot of money, and the paperboys who qualified spent the day running all over the park." Pointing to a vacant lot on Main Street, he notes that that was where the family house sat at the time. He says, "I watched a lot of freight trains go by in those days." John wanted to be an artist but was "talked out of it."

Many years separate that boy from John Fisher today, but as in all of us, the mischievous spirit of youth still finds refuge. Over the last ten years, John decided he would revisit his youthful passion to draw. He considered oil and watercolor painting, but decided that cartooning was an inexpensive and less time-consuming art form. After completing his career with the USGS, John is a bit more philosophical about his day-to-day activities. "Life has sharp edges," he says. "Consequently, there are a lot people with scars and cuts. Maybe I can bring a smile to them. There is no harm to that."

With an active imagination, John's cartoons speak for him. "I age, learn and enjoy life." He adds that part of his motivation for drawing was to see if he could do it; "draw a cartoon everyday for a year - the pros do it." John was interested in the creative process of coming up with new material and ideas day after day. Viewing John's large portfolio, it appears that a reservoir of material and ideas does not present a problem. He says that the challenge of a single pane cartoon is to "encapsulate an idea into one thought where people can see it and get it." Being around people "triggers" ideas that he can "flip" into a "what if" scenario.

According to John's wife of 42 years, Janie, some of these cartoons are actually funny so be sure to read future issues of TCV for more "Senior Moments" to share John Fisher's world of fun and imagination.

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