In case of cartoons, see therapist

It started with this John Deering cartoon from 11/23/12 (passed on by a series of Facebook posters):


In the tradition of the signage


and introducing the cartoonist Deering, who’s fond of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme.

TAKE STAIRS. #1 plays on an ambiguity in transitive take, with these two meanings (from NOAD):

carry or bring with one; convey

use as a route or a means of transportation: we took the night train to Scotland | take 95 north to Baltimore.

The first use (in things like take the apple to your teacher) is more common; it’s the one illustrated in the cartoon. The second, ‘route’ sense is much more context-bound; it’s used in signs next to elevators — the elevator context is crucial — to warn people that if there’s a fire in the building, they should use the stairs for escape instead of the elevator the sign is next to.

Deering’s cartoon is a close relative of an old cartoonist’s joke, which I described (but didn’t illustrate) in a 3/10/18 posting:

[in a One Big Happy cartoon:] CARDS is to be understood not as referring to any old cards, it doesn’t matter which ones, but as referring to the cards in the context, the cards in the display to which the sign is attached. Ruthie gets things wrong, but not as wrong as she could have: she could have behaved like the joke character in a lab with a developing fire, the person who looks at the sign


on a box enclosing a fire alarm box, a fire hose, or some other object useful in fighting fires, and picks up a beaker in the lab and smashes it, not appreciating that the glass to break is the window in the front of the box the sign is attached to. Context, context, context.

Here’s another version of this cartoon, by web cartoonist Matt Rat / Matthew Rathew:


John Deering. From the Creators Syndicate site:

John Deering is chief editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper. Five times a week, his cartoon comments entertain (or sometimes enrage) readers throughout Arkansas, in Washington, D.C., and across the country.

… Deering’s work is collected in two books: Deering’s State of Mind (1990) and We Knew Bill Clinton … Bill Clinton Was a Friend of Ours (1993, with Vic Harville)…

Born in 1956 in Little Rock, Deering has been drawing since his childhood fascination with science fiction and dinosaurs — subjects he made into comic books. After studying art with Truman Alston, Deering focused on commercial and fine art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Along the way, he found his strength in interlocking art with comment.

At the Democrat-Gazette, Deering advanced from layout artist to editorial cartoonist in 1981-82. His promotion to chief editorial cartoonist in 1988 made his cartoons the state’s best-known. Deering also creates the comic panel Too Much Coffee.

He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter and two sons, and live in Little Rock. He still draws dinosaurs.

Check out his comic strips, Zack Hill and Strange Brew.

Deering returns to the Psychiatrist cartoon meme (with a Freud-like figure as the therapist) every so often, as here:

(#3) Strange Brew 5/18/16; for a Bizarro cartoon with a dog on the couch, see my June 3rd posting

(#4) Strange Brew 2/28/17; not only Psychiatrist, but also Desert Island

While we’re in Psychiatrist mode, here’s today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration:

(#5) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

A Little Pig as therapist, the Big Bad Wolf as patient on the couch.

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