July 22nd, 2008


A Living Dog

While digging out the drawing by Garry Trudeau that I scanned and uploaded for yesterday's entry, I came across this caricature of me done by Joe Papin, famed courtroom sketch artist for the New York Daily News. (Click on the image to view a larger version.) And since I've mentioned in the past that I'd share other caricatures of me, in addition to the Jack Davis image which I sometimes use as my icon, it seems like the right time to post this.

I was visiting Bill Kresse at the paper's 42nd Street offices just before heading off to begin as a freshman at SUNY Buffalo in January of 1973. (That odd starting date is due to my graduating high school early, in January instead of June.) I had become friendly with Bill thanks to a school tour several years earlier.

A number of Daily News cartoonists drew me going-away cards, including George Ward, whose artwork I've already shared with you. At the time, I wanted to be a newspaper columnist in the Pete Hamill/Jimmy Breslin mode, walking the streets and writing about whatever I happened to find there.

Joe's scribbled comment at the bottom of his caricature advises me to stay strong:

Always remember: You are entering a field in which the working ethic has sadly become, "Better a living dog, than a dead lion!" With hard work, perseverance, and a great deal of luck, you can help change this! Excelsior!!

I guess I never fulfilled whatever journalistic promise Joe saw in me, but at least I got a neat portrait out of it. Sorry about that, Joe, wherever you are!