This is Shrek.
Say hello to Shrek.
As you can see this Shrek is NOT a fictional character
but real flesh and blood.
Nor is he green or ogre-ish.
Shrek works at the Stunned Mullet,
the best fish and chip shop in the suburbs
cooking and serving customers.
His real name is Srikanth and comes from India.
Workers at the Hilton near the airport where he used to work
contracted his name to ‘Shrek’ in 2016.
Srikanth loves it and has been called ‘Shrek’ ever since.
He is warm and amiable and has a wicked sense of humor.
When you get served by Shrek it brightens your day.
Three naked men in a cage
in an Edward Steed sketch,
the Jonathan Swift of cartoonists.
Husbands for girls to choose from.
pic courtesy of Pinterest by Edward Steed from The New Yorker
Reading about Roz Chast’s parents in her cartoon memoir
‘Can’t We Talk about Something Pleasant?’ makes me feel
Almost normal. I do know how to use the toaster,
I can change a light bulb, open cereal packets neatly
so it doesn’t look ‘as if a raccoon had tried to get into them’
AND I was comfortable using the new stove after only
six months. Compared to them I’m a genius.
Meeting the Parents
But I do ‘walk around with my feelers out’ like her old man
and ‘get distracted by interesting words thereby missing
the larger point of what was being said’. And I am a fast eater
like her mum. ‘Stop gobbling your food’, I was told as a kid,
[and am still told from time to time].
I’m only on page 30 of this 230 page memoir but I’m enjoying
meeting the parents. It’s like meeting me in a book.
- what book are you enjoying at the moment?
- Have you ever ‘met yourself’ in a book? how did it feel?
There’s a cartoon of a couple in a car
tearing down a roller coaster
and the woman says to the man, “With you screaming all the time,
I can’t hear myself scream.”
Men are so much noisier than women, my partner says.
When I began barfing in the bushes at a country fair
, “Can’t you barf quietly? Everybody is watching.”
Barfing has no volume control,
I wanted to say
but I was too busy being sick.
- photo by Claire Satera on Unsplash
Before I met her
I always laughed at cartoons
was astonished before paintings & poems
but now I pass the magazine to her,
the one with the crazy cartoons.
Look at this, I say, & she does and smiles
Span our faces & rumble our bellies
like little laughing Buddhas;
Trouble shared is trouble halved,
my mother used to say — but Joy
It is doubled when spent with another.