Four cartoons on familiar themes

… in recent days, covering a wide territory: in chronological order,

—  from 10/31, a Mother Goose and Grimm Psychiatrist cartoon with a Halloween theme and some puns

— from the 11/1 New Yorker, a Desert Crawl cartoon by David Sipress

— from 11/3, a Zippy strip with Zippylicious repetition (onomatomania)

— from 11/9, a Rhymes With Orange with a notable POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau)

MGG for Halloween. The cartoon:


(#1) The patient is a disarticulated skeleton — the skeleton for Halloween, a day of the dead; disarticulated to motivate the puns on therapy-talk: separation issues, pull yourself together

[Side note: the fact that the therapist is a Black is quite striking. The therapists in Psychiatrist cartoons sometimes happen to be women, but I can’t recall a cartoon in which the therapist belonged to a recognizable minority racial or ethnic group; I can imagine situations in which membership in such a group would be relevant to the joke in the cartoon, but I can’t see that in #1. My guess is that Mike Peters has just decided to show a Black therapist as a  way of broadening his readers’ perceptions of what’s possible in our society. (The actual number of Black psychiatrists is quite small; the American Psychiatric Association is reported to estimate the figure as 2% of all psychiatrists.)]

Then on separation issues. From NOAD, among the senses of the noun issues:

… personal problems or difficulties: a nice guy with a great sense of humor and not too many issues.

The separation in question is being apart from your loved ones. Having separation issues means you’re troubled by being apart from your loved ones (especially a treasured single person). That’s the pop-therapy term; the technical term for the clinical condition is separation anxiety. From the Healthline site on separation anxiety in adults (it’s most common in children):

People with adult separation anxiety disorder experience high levels of anxiety, and sometimes even panic attacks, when loved ones are out of reach.

In any case, the expression separation issues has separation ‘being apart’ used in a specialized medical context. Meanwhile, #1 depicts the separated bones of a skeleton. So, a little pun.

And then on pull yourself together. That which has come apart might then be pulled together. Literally for the bones of the skeleton in #1. Or figuratively for the emotional state of the skeletal patient, in the idiom the therapist uses. From NOAD:

phrase pull oneself together: recover control of one’s emotions: you’ve got to pull yourself together and find a job.

So, another pun.

The Desert Crawl cartoon meme. From my 5/1/16 posting “Between the desert and the couch”: a Bizarro combining Psychiatrist with another desert cartoon meme, involving a man (or, more generally, people) crawling, parched and hallucinatory, across a seemingly endless desert — call it Desert Crawl:


(#2) Either about the absurdity of a therapist sitting in the middle of a desert, or about a hallucination on the part of the desert crawler; in either case, a meta-cartoon about cartoon memes

And now, in the 11/1 New Yorker, a David Sipress Desert Crawler absurdity, with a crawler for modern term, using his cellphone to order up two bottles of water for him and his companion on the desert:


(#3) I know, I know, even if the phone works out there, how’s the delivery company going to get the order to them? And if the phone does work out there, why doesn’t he just call for rescue?

The answer to the second question is, of course, that he’s a character in a Desert Crawl cartoon, so his contract obliges him to crawl on, without rescue. What he does in the meantime is his own business.

Zippylicious repetition. The onomatomania cartoon from 11/3:


(#4) Say it, again and again: Hydro-quench body glow!

The product. If this is an actual product, I can find no evidence of it. But the name combines elements from the names of several different moisturizing preparations:


(#7) Elizabeth Arden HydraGel


(#6) GlamGlow Waterburst hydrated moisturizer


(#7) Neutrogena Hydro Boost with advanced hydrator


(#8) Bliss Drench & Quench hydrator

Then there’s Zippy’s well-documented inclination to seize on some phrase and savor it by chanting it over and over again. See my 7/18/21 posting “Between the glutes”, with an appendix on Zippylicious repetition, aka found mantras, onomatomania, phrase repetition disorder, repetitive phrase disorder.

Psychedelicate POP. In the Rhymes 11/9 strip:


(#9) A lovely POP, psychedelic + delicate cycle (with the overlap underlined)

Note the clothing, hair styles, tie-dye shirt, and peace symbol locating the strip in the hippy-psychedelic 60s of lore. And then the machines at the laundromat; my home washer and dryer both have delicate cycles (which I happen to be using right now).

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