A Bart Sighting

I don’t think any character quite encapsulated the crass, “in your face” humor of the late 80s and 90s quite like Bart Simpson. That’s all well and good, I once thought mooning was the height of hilarity. What has become a problem, for me at least, is that it is now 2021 and Bart Simpson still won’t get out of my face. When I say I see him on the daily, and typically in the most unlikely of places, I am far from exaggerating. Even as I sit to type this I assume a yellow spiked head will be popping out at any moment.

I see this bastard everywhere I go. There was a time I’d say my daily travels were once blessed by seeing a relic of my childhood. Usually a laugh would be had. If you’ve made it a few decades so far into life, you know all too well that a blessing can very quickly become a curse. More often than that it will, that’s for damn sure. The laughter probably stopped for me when I entered my 30s — for no other reason than it started to become downright disturbing. A gas station cap rack would have a random antique Simpsons trucker hat, Bart boldly demanding that you consume his short pants. Antique stores, which I love to frequent, would be chock full of the strangest Simpson items. Phones, cards, a DINNER SET complete with silverware! I’m convinced all of these drop offs are made by the mothers of children who obsessed over this show very briefly, more than happy to unload memorabilia from the show that caused their child to tell them to not have a cow many, many times. This extended to the workplace, where a passerby would have on a Simpsons shirt so old you could use the holes in it to tell its age much like one could with the rings of a tree. It all became too much.

Then it happened. I stopped being put off by it and became amused again. I should add this is a much different amusement. This is not a genuine belly laugh or the thought of a fond memory that puts a smile on my face. This is one step from a straight jacket guffawing that is equal parts glee and sorrow. I’ve come to expect to see Bart Simpson every day of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I am manifesting him. I try not to think too hard on how many Bart sightings I have are real, and how many are from a mind that was stretched too far by our favorite 90s cartoon rascal.

Ay caramba!

This is an old AOL Instant Messenger derived chat that was drawn on MS Paint. It's simple and pixel-heavy. The title is "A Bart Sighting? Maybe so."

In panel one, Billy Holiday asks Amandoll, "Does any mention of Bart Simpson cause you to erupt in laughter?"

After a pause, Amandoll says, "not really?" To which he instantly replies with "well damn" with his hands on his hips. He looks disappointed.

He explains over the next few panels: "For some reason, it does with me. I saw a boy today -- a fat boy. In blue shorts, an orange shirt, and blue shoes."

Amandoll takes this moment to say, "My god."

He continues: "And I was trying to get out that he was in a Bart Simpson get-up. I couldn't get anything out after Bart."

The final panel shows him alone, looking forlorn as he says, "I fell apart."

Ten damn years ago, it happened. I got very close to breaking. That is what you see before you in this comic drawn by Amandoll. A pivotal moment in life.

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