Heathcliff, Misc, News,

Erik Hagen Explains Heathcliff

I’ve been going through this thing for over a year now, trying to make sense of the senseless. I don’t understand it, but I want to, I really want to, so I keep trying. It’s the first thing I think of in the morning, it’s the last thing before I fall asleep. It occupies my every waking thought. What does it mean? What does any of it mean?

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m talking about Heathcliff.

If you’re a person who doesn’t know who Heathcliff is, first off I’m afraid I have to inform you that you’re in actuality a unicorn because YOU DO NOT EXIST. Sorry you had to find out this way. And then second, Mr. Sprinkles (I assume that’s your unicorn name), Heathcliff is a popular orange fat cat from the comic strips with a bad attitude. No, not Beatle Bailey. The other one. Now, what you just read in that last couple of sentences was supposed to be a joke, but did you notice how it didn’t make any sense? Beatle Bailey’s not a cat. Well, congratulations regardless. You’re halfway to understanding the humor of Heathcliff, a series of comics that are ostensibly supposed to be jokes, but aren’t quite grounded enough in actual reality to qualify as humor. Keep your brain exactly in the position it’s in right now and let’s get started.

Okay. So. Let’s get our bearings, first of all. There is a family of raccoons, two owls in a tree who can speak perfect English, and Heathcliff in a karate gi. Heathcliff is giving the youngest raccoon his yellow belt. The owls inform us that the yellow belt is in the discipline of “garbage.” These are all things that should not be happening. Garbage is not a form of karate. A cat cannot train a raccoon to tip over a garbage can. Birds can’t talk. Thus, uproarious laughter. You get it yet? No? Alright, we’ll keep going then.

Mental illness is a serious thing and not to be joked about. So the joke here is that there is such a thing as “cat therapy” because how would that even work? The therapist can’t understand the cat. What does a cat have to even be depressed about? Also, I think there’s some sort of word play going on in the punchline with “scratching” because that is a thing that cats often do. I’m still working it out. Let’s move on.

This one takes some explanation of previously established Heathcliff lore. There is an ape in the Heathcliff Universe called the Garbage Ape who has garbage cans for hands and ransacks Heathcliff’s neighborhood frequently. The local neighborhood cats love the Garbage Ape because <undefined>. Here, we find out that the Garbage Ape is also beloved by robots. Wait, robots, you ask? Where did the robots come from? Who is making the robots? Why aren’t the robots stopping the Garbage Ape? To this I say, shut up. There’s a perfectly rational explanation for all of this.

Again with the karate? Again with the karate. Please do notice that this is a one-panel comic extended out to seven panels, most of them without backgrounds. Also, the punchline is recycled from earlier. That punchline gets used a lot.

Jokes are way funnier if they’re repeated 89 times or so.

Topical humor! The mouse would probably be even more tempted if those things weren’t completely worthless right now. I bet Elon Musk would’ve laughed though. There’s a guy who appreciates unfunny, shitty things.

Heathcliff started a band and called it Body Fat. It did a fairly decent gate of a 26-headed amorphous gray blur, who are all having a very good time watching three cats wearing sunglasses standing on a fence in front of two water coolers.

Heathcliff is friends with a robot? I don’t know. What’s with those owls? Do they ever do anything besides provide commentary to the madness that surrounds them?


There’s a Gum Store. They sell gum there. It is popular. Existence is suffering.

The beef cider was not selling all that well until Heathcliff thought to parade around town on an elephant playing a tuba. That turned things around, as was expected.

That fish recognizes that other fish that is soon to be murdered quite gruesomely. 

Heathcliff is a fan of ham, which is why he has the word HAM written on his helmet. Those pigs are likely to take umbrage. Heathcliff is probably going to try to eat the pigs alive.

Yup. They sure do.

This is it. The apex of human achievement. The most perfect sentence written since Shakespeare. “Children love the meat tank.” When I die, somebody please carve that into my gravestone.

So. How’s your brain and your soul feeling? Flayed alive? Good. I do so hate suffering all by myself.

-Erik Hagen

Growth, News,

The COVID Diaries

Well, what do you know. Here I am again. I guess anything really is possible.

So I suppose the polite thing would be to tell you what I’ve been up to in the last eight years since I was last a semi-professional blogger. The answer is, I don’t really recall. I might’ve changed jobs, I might’ve had more kids, I might’ve moved to Saskatchewan, it’s honestly all a blur. I think Donald Trump might’ve been president for a while. Boy, what a stupid idea that was. And something else. What was it? Oh, yeah! The worldwide pandemic that killed millions of people! Have you heard about this? It’s so stupid.

So obviously everybody has a story about COVID-19 and how it’s completely upended your existence by now. Mine isn’t completely end-of-the-worldish, but I also wouldn’t describe it as anything close to pleasant. We’ve all suffered to varying degrees, and my intent is not to make light of what anyone’s been through. Like you, I’m still coping with what’s been lost and what’s still to come. That disclaimer aside, let’s plunge face-first into the abyss.

In late 2019 was when I first heard the word “coronavirus.” My first thought of it was the same first stupid joke that almost everybody came up with on Twitter at the time: “Coronavirus? That sounds like it’d be great mixed with Lyme disease!” Hardy har, yuck yuck, wokka wokka, we were all so incredibly stupid back then. Anyhoo, I figured back then that things would end up going the way that all of the things have gone – ebola, bird flu, monkeypox, the yippie skippies, etc. – it’ll be fine. It’ll burn out. Hardly anybody will even notice.

As a prognosticator, I really suck. Chuck Todd levels.

So on literally my daughter’s birthday in 2020 was when shit met fan. She had 2-3 parties that weekend, one at home, one at the bowling alley and one at an art school. We were around people and making jokes about not shaking anyone’s hands and a little nervous but otherwise okay. And then I went to work the next day and they sent us home with our computers and it’s over two years later and I’ve yet to go back.

Don’t read that wrong. I still have a job. I just do it at home now. Like a lot of you, and also unlike a lot of you, depending on your supervisor’s interest in his freedom to exhale anything directly into your nostrils at any time he cares to. What’s it like working at home? I like it. A lot. To the point where I’ve made myself a bunker in my basement and forgotten what sunshine feels like. Suffice it to say, I’m not going back and you can’t make me.

Beyond that change, how else was my life affected? Well, as someone who enjoys wearing a face mask in public and not having anyone standing six feet within his space at any given time, things were pretty sweet for Old Erik for a while. I can see how other people who are more social than I (which is a very, very low bar to clear) could have been negatively affected by the complete shutdown of civilization, but I’ll be honest, I kind of liked it. Wish we would go back to that. Other people would bring food to my door, and then not even expect me to open the door and acknowledge their existence! Living the dream!

Then all the people started dying and I started losing my mind and it was all a bit of a buzzkill.

I know people who have lost loved ones to COVID. I am a person who lost someone during COVID but not to COVID. My mother passed away the beginning of 2021. Because of COVID protocols, she couldn’t have her entire family in the same room with her as she left. It sucks, and it hurts, and I’m still recovering/not sure if I’ll ever be close to done recovering. COVID didn’t take my mom but it certainly complicated her last year to a degree that still makes me angry to think about, and it took a lot of other people’s moms from them. And dads. And children. And grandparents. And friends and cousins and neighbors What I’ve gone through, I’m not close to being special. The only thing that’s spread farther than COVID is grief. So many people infected.

I did get COVID myself. I tested positive for COVID in February of this year. I’ve been vaccinated so my case was mild. But it’s lingered to an extent. I cough a lot more. Most nights I rasp myself to sleep still. It could be allergies, it could be asthma, it could be just a really prolonged cold. All I know is that something is different and I hope that it changes, but it might not.

It was upsetting getting sick, because of how hard I tried not to. Like I said, I vaccinated, I masked, I took it seriously and responsibly like a grown-ass adult should have. Partly because my mom told me to, frequently, but mostly because I wanted to protect the people I loved. Can I prevent the people I care about most from getting sick? Not entirely, obviously. But if an unknown disease with no known remedies pops up and is highly transmissible, I was going to do everything that I could do to keep that out of my house and away from my family. So I did it. I trusted the science. I still got COVID, but they didn’t. I’ll still keep doing anything I can do to keep it that way.

It was an annoyance when people started losing their minds in the face of a new enemy, and started to do things that made it seem like they were taking the germ’s side. Complaining about wearing a mask. Harassing those of us who did. Demanding their “freedom” to cough into a stranger’s open mouth. Pretending that a miracle vaccine developed in record time was somehow “unsafe.” Convincing themselves and the more gullible to not take it. For what? Politics? I still don’t understand the benefits of fooling yourself at the potential cost of your own life. For a belief. The only thing that could possibly suck more than a non-preventable death of a loved one would have been a preventable one. If I had facilitated the demise of any other person on this planet with something that I said, or believed, or didn’t push back against, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. I don’t know how others are able to. Still.

And now we are where we are, with the pandemic becoming an endemic and people largely watching out for themselves or just pretending that the last two years of human history didn’t even happen. I envy those of you whose biggest loss was simply time, at the movie theater or restaurants or with your loved ones. Those with a normal to return to. For so many of us, there is now two phases in their lives – the before and the after. I hope you’re in the former group. I hope you still have the same amount of people to hug today as you did in 2019. I don’t know how many people can say that, but I hope it’s a lot. I wish we could all go back to how things used to be. We can’t, but it’d be nice.

So I guess we just take back what we can. For me, that’s blogging the sod. Like I used to. In the before.

-Erik Hagen


Growth, News,

This thing on?

Bear with me here (misspelling intentional, as I enjoy bears). I’ve been a non-blogger for so long, I don’t remember what blog even stands for. I think it’s a takeoff of clog? Or slog? Or vlog? Whatever.

Maybe you remember me, or remember someone who had the same name and some of the same shirts as me. That guy is dead. He’s gone now. It’s very sad. But also, very triumphant. Because I don’t think that many people liked him.

So if you’re insistent on introductions, my name is Erik with a K, not Keric, though that would be cool. No personal details will be provided because I’m much more comfortable being an enigma. All I’m willing to share is that I don’t like the word moist and I base my entire personality around that. Because I’m kitschy. Now there’s a word I like. That and chutzpah. 

I think I remembered what blogging is. It’s me writing a bunch of stuff to amuse only myself and trying to pass off old Simpsons jokes as something that I came up with and making no money from it. So I’m going to go back and do whatever it was before I was doing this, and maybe I’ll come back and maybe I won’t, and the world will keep on spinning and moving forward despite my protests. 

I might also eat something. I don’t think I’ve done that yet today.

– Erik Hagen, BBBBITW*
*Best Blogger In The World. The extra B is for Bear and not a typo. The other extra B is a typo.