The Worst Thing I've Ever Done

The Worst Thing I've Ever Done
"Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go feed this thing worms..."

Toilet paper stuck to the shoe. Broccoli in your teeth. Zits. Everyone feels like they got picked on in school for some superficial fault. But I'm telling you, I had it really bad. I grew up in Southern California hyper-superficiality, where the teenagers actually looked like the actors in Beverly Hills 90210. And for awkward, skinny, pimple-faced kids who only talked about dinosaurs and their extant animal kin this led to early self-image issues. Sure, I didn't get picked on as much as the Magic: The Gathering kids, but I did form a wildlife club and bring a live varanid lizard to school on a leash with a guy who now studies rattlesnakes in Baja. It's taken me awhile to integrate with human society, but I think I'm getting there.

Not all the way though. Contiguous with my earlier mental frailty is my current anxiety about my creative output today. Ever since gaining a wider audience for my work (now ballooning into multiples of dozens of peoples), I've paradoxically found it harder to see meaning in it. People already have a lot of shit. Do they need mine? There is so much genuine talent the world, why am I trying to contribute? I'm even trying to capture a completely niche market in veterinary cartooning, only to find out it's much more competitive than I ever imagined.¹

If I can't be the best veterinary cartoonist on the internet, what the hell am I doing?! Such has been my mind of late. But this downwardly spiralling rationale eventually plopped me *kerplunk* into the only possible conclusion:


For those of you who didn't grow up in San Diego, "WGASA" was the name of the legendary monorail line that ran the perimeter of the Zoo's Safari Park, a place where I spent countless hours as a kid gazing at miraculous creatures rolling over green hills. It always sorta sounds exotic, like a fake name Hollywood would give to a magical African kingdom.

But it actually just meant Who Gives a Shit Anyway?, because the park was gonna open soon and the designers knew nobody would actually notice. They weren't there for the name. They wanted the magical experience.

Perhaps my mind was infected by this crude and semi-nihilistic acronym as I watched herds of loping giraffe and sparring rhinos from the monorail. My mind was certainly opened wide by those scenes, finding sublime joy in the beauty of the animal world. All I wanted to do was to sit on those plastic benches all day, circling around the dreamy landscape as the sun went down.

Sometimes, nowadays, drawing cartoons or writing a post gives me that same feelings. When I'm most enjoying the experience, most lost in it's intrinsic loveliness and perfection, most immune to the eyeballs from the outside is when it's most fun. Incidentally, most meaningful. Inci-inci-dentally, when I produce my best stuff. But when you let the world back in, and start to worry, all of that goes away.

Part of my growth as a creative, who actually now thinks of himself as a creative, is that you have to maintain that carefree aspect in order to create the kind of work you want to. Growing up, really growing up, means that you have to hold on to being like a kid. You have to remember to have fun, to take risks and to do dumb things. Even when people are watching. Because if you can do that, if you can hold onto the childish joy of just being, then either you'll produce something wonderful or at worst you'll just have fun. And that's a great way to live.

So because I believe, so fervently, that public acts of stupidity are the most redeeming quality in an individual, I am now going to formally display what I think constitutes my worst possible creative achievement (to date). I hope this inspires readers to pay a little more attention to the tiny little voice in their head that says "Have Fun!" a little more often than the big loud one that constantly shouts "No! You'll Look Stupid in Front of Cool People!". Well, buckle up, little guy, you're about to get the mic.

Yup! I'm gonna do it. Gotta let go of your shit to grow, eh? Even though this piece of crap is actually painful to watch. The patron saint of Intentional Moronicity is bleeding real blood here.

Again, the point of this post is to say that only by being tooooootally okay with the lowest limits of how people perceive you can you be actually free enough to show the true genius of your creative soul. Lock solid, right? Go for it, right? Whoo! Okay, Okay! No more stalling... This is crazy... This is crazy...

Okay, ready?

You're buying that premise, right? You appreciate somebody being willing to act stupid, in order to lower the bar of everyone else's anxiety? Like, they're sort of diving onto a grenade of embarrassment? I'd love to know if that's helpful to you. Because I'm going through a lot of mental calisthenics trying convince myself that this should be on the internet. I mean, the internet's a big place. Something embarrassing could go viral. People who might have to make a choice about giving me time or attention or money might not want to after seeing this. They might decide I'm a complete waste of time!

What? That's not how it works? Nobody cares because everyone has zits and smelly farts and draws dumb cartoons about radioactive corn dogs and people will like you for you who you are if you just show them who you really are?

And it's been on the internet for almost 20 years already and it only has TWO likes?

Oh shit

  1. Dean Scott, Mansum Yau, Vishal Murthy, cleverllamadoodles and adventuresveterinary on Instagram.
  2. The story is that while in college I was unfortunately given access to official video production equipment while purportedly making a highlight video for the women's volleyball team. Instead, I somehow convinced a friend to waste an entire day with an unplanned, uninspired, plotless and excrutiatingly poorly acted short film because I thought I could figure out how to make it look like we were doing cool dunks.
Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop

A veterinarian with unquenchable creative impulses. Unquenchable? Hmmm... creative "tendencies"? Well, it depends on how well I slept last night. Also a writer, illustrator and whatever-elser.