Cartoons, Humor and Positive Distractions



I had the great pleasure to meet and hear Bob Mankoff, the author of “How About Never: Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons” It describes his early life, his early career and current interests as a cartoonist, editor and author.

His talk was warm, witty, and engaging. He reminded me about today’s need for humor in general. We need a good laugh to reduce stress and put things into better perspective. Of course, Mankoff’s cartoon wit makes us all too aware of the absurdity of contemporary life. No one does it better than the cover of his book.

His talk, however, provided a reminder about how important it is to use one’s strengths, interests and passions. In Mankoff’s case he always drew, but never felt that he fit in at school. For each of us, it is important to ask, “What interests or talents am I ignoring? Could I be more satisfied with my life if I focused on my talents?

In addition, his presentation emphasized the importance of perseverance. In Mankoff’s case, he “felt” that he should be in the New Yorker Magazine since the writing was intelligent and in sync with his values. The history of rejection by the magazine was formidable, but he had grit and, not only was his cartoons accepted, he worked there for 20 years and became the Cartoon editor.

Cartoons, specifically, and humor in general, are positive distractions, connecting us to others and the world, giving us a lift and reducing stress. Bob Mankoff’s book is worth some time and would make a great gift.

About Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.

Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. is principal of Managing Your Mind Coaching and Seminars and is author of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Increasing Productivity and Decreasing Stress. She is co author of Finding Your Focus: Practical Strategies for the Everyday Challenges Facing Adults with ADD and Helping Adolescents with ADD and/or Learning Disabilities. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Markel served as faculty in the School of Education. She coaches adults and adolescents with ADD and/or learning disabilities and specializes in working with independent professionals, writers, and graduate students.
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