Most people view comic illustrators as free-spirited, unyielding, deeply disturbed, warped-minded individuals who can_t spell the titles of articles. Some attribute their bent, untamed interpretations of the world to addictive, chronic ink sniffing. I say, "Not true!" (Unless, of course, you_re snorting all the colors of the rainbow at once.)
I know one thing for sure. It_s hard to be a well-behaved cartoonistƒmuch less an acquiescent EMS cartoonist. (I wrote this article just so I could use the word acquiescent.) Comic artists as a whole embrace controversy and are passive-aggressive as hell. I know from personal experience it_s not in my nature to play by the rules or embrace the status quo of EMS. So much so that I_m sureJEMS was forced to assign the editor of my monthly artwork and column a whole task force of lawyers, market surveyors, focus-group researchers, advertisers and Dunkin_ Donuts deliverers to review, dissect, screen and potentially (heaven forbid) censor my illustrations.
I_m happy to report that (for the most part)JEMS gives me a free illustrator_s hand in expressing EMS_ uniquely sick and twisted humorous view of the world. Not easy to do in this hyper-sensitized society. Political correctness is getting to the point where one has to be prepared to defend every joke or cartoon. Even if the joke rings true, one is forced to back away from expressing its original intent if there_s even the slightest hint of controversy. (Uh, not that I_m implying there_s anything wrong with thatƒspecifically in regard to race, creed, color, age, physical appearance, gender, religious affiliation or choice of coffee creamer flavor.)
EMS needs to laugh. Not just a little, but a lot, repeatedly and redundantly. Not only do we need to laugh at ourselves but also at our profession and the ridiculous situations we_re often placed in. Laughter keeps us balanced and can act as an airbag during the impact of a crisis. (Nice traumatic analogy, eh?)
As a "holiday" gift (the politically correct term for Christmas) and in appreciation of myJEMS editors for their hard work in their fruitless attempts to keep me in line over the past 15 years, I_d like to offer the disclaimer to the left for my cartoons and articles. I hope this takes some of the pressure off them from any disgruntled subscribers who may deem my work too offensive, crude, crass, insensitive, parentheses-intense or lacking any purpose whatsoever.
Until next time, without implied obligation, stereotypes or labels, be safe.JEMS
Steve Berry Cartoon Disclaimer
This cartoon column is meant for recreational use only. Void where prohibited. Laugh only as directed. Some assembly of mental processing may be required. Contents of your cerebral cortex may shift during such processing. Any resemblance to real EMS persons, whether paid, volunteer, urban, rural, private, fire- or hospital-based, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Ha! Ha! Yeah, right.) Cardiac pacer batteries not included. Keep cartoon articles out of reach of management. Turn pages only as directed. Do not use cartoon page to control bleeding. Ink may fade when exposed to light. Do not bleach. Refrigerate after opening. Column is slippery when wet. Keep away from flammable sources (management again). Should a paper cut occur, please dispose of cartoon page in appropriately labeled red bag. Avoid direct page contact with eyes. If skin irritation or rash develops, discontinue reading. Observe cartoon articles only in a well-ventilated area. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while viewing comics (unless you want to laugh harder). Do not observe cartoon while operating a motor vehicle, heavy equipment or glucometer. This cartoon column has no expiration date but should not be left unattended in bathroom stalls, especially if toilet tissue is limited. Do not bend, shake or twist cartoon page unless you_re rolling up the magazine to hit your partner with it. The author is not responsible for the content of this articleƒunless you think it_s funny. Viewing of cartoons by those outside the profession of EMS may lead to dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. Cartoon pages are not edible. In case of accidental ingestionƒyou_re a moron. Copying of cartoon in ED is prohibited unless illustrated character resembles arrogant trauma surgeon. The author is not responsible for damages to the central nervous system that may result from trying to comprehend cartoonist_s mental psyche.
Steve Berry has been a paramedic for the past 25 years in the southern Colorado region. He_s the author of the cartoon book series I_m Not An Ambulance Driver and invites you to join him and others of the EMS community to ride in the 2009 National EMS Memorial Bike Ride (www.muddyangels.org). Visit his Web site atwww.iamnotanambulancedriver.com to purchase his books or CDs.