You know how some well-established magazines and websites sometimes publish letters from their readers? Well, I don’t get very many of those, so I’m going to milk this one for all it’s worth and make an entire blog post out of it. I would love to say that I’m going to make this a regular thing, but if the past is any indication of the future (and in this case, I think it is), I won’t get another fan letter for at least nine months. And once every nine months can hardly be considered a regular thing, unless you are the Duggar family.
I recently received an email from a gentleman by the name of John Hofacre, The message began with him telling me that he had stumbled upon my blog because its title is similar to that of his website: The Running Joke Cartoon.
Clearly, this man had good taste, so I felt compelled to read on. Also, I’m a total sucker for praise of any kind, and I wanted to see what else he had to say about me.
Turns out, John is an age-graded regional class runner, which with some help from The Google I determined to mean that compared to other old guys, he’s pretty freakin’ fast. This piqued my interest because I decided a while ago that since I have probably reached my peak as a regular runner, I should start focusing on my career at the master’s level. I figure that if I am able to maintain the speed and fitness that I currently have, I will be a top-ranked athlete by the time I’m 40. So watch out, master’s running scene—in 15 years I am going to rock your world!
So anyway, since John and I both enjoy poking fun at the sport of long-distance running, and since we both have goals of beating other old people, I started to develop a sense of camaraderie with him.
Further down in the email, he said something along the lines of, “You really should check out my book, The Running Joke Cartoon Book. I’m pretty sure it will be the second-best thing you’ve ever read, after your own blog of course.” (OK, so maybe that’s not exactly what he said, but remember, I’m paraphrasing.)
At this point, I was extremely intrigued and decided to follow the links to his work that he had provided for me. And it was good stuff. I mean, really good stuff. It was like he took things that I could spend an entire blog post blabbering on about and made them into one small, simple, colorful, laugh-out-loud package.
In fact, it kind of made me jealous. I once spent an entire afternoon sketching the stick-figure chicken for my title art (see top of page), and John has the kind of genuine artistic talent that I, tragically, was born without. (Other talents I tragically was born without include but are not limited to: gardening, baking, getting off of ski lifts, playing stringed instruments and singing songs other than “Fergalicious,” which I can karaoke the crap out of.)
You can check out some samples from John’s book on his website. You can also “Like” his Facebook page to see new cartoons as he posts them. One of my favorites is a cartoon showing an alien spacecraft hovering over a pack of runners. The top caption reads: “Buzz 'em again if you want, but I still say it’s not intelligent life.” Ha!
The other really cool thing about John’s book is that all of the proceeds support an endowed scholarship honoring his sister, Susan, who died of cancer in 2005. So if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for your best running buddy, it’s pretty much a win-win purchase.