Come back a few decades with me (4 or more to be more precise.) I am sure you can. You are 10, sitting in the “waiting room”, aptly named, as you are waiting for your brother to get out his dentist appointment, and you are particularly miserable, because you know you are the next victim. The dentist’s office is bare, but on the wooden table are a half dozen Highlight magazines. You grab one, immediately turn to the hidden pictures. But then what? You’ve found them all (you are so smart!)
Still awaiting the smiling hygienist to lead you to the torture chamber, you turn next to Goofus and Gallant. Always the same. Goofus, the bad boy, never does the right thing. Gallant, the prissy boy, always does the right thing.
Even at that age, the urge to kick Gallant in the face was pretty strong.
I hadn’t given either Goofus or Gallant much thought in the past decade- until recently when I read the amazing book by The New Yorker Cartoonist, Roz Chast, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant.” If you have (or had) elderly parents, you may want to own a copy of this book. It is on my coffee table. It made me laugh and cry, and it tells its story in cartoons. One of my favorite pages of the book is called, “Gallant and Goofus: The Daughter Caretaker Edition.”
After reading the book, I couldn’t get Gallant or Goofus out of my head—captions for cartoons of these characters just kept invading my life. And I’m sorry, you will just have to use your imagination for the pictures- I am no Roz Chast.
So….here we go…Are you a 50 something year old Goofus, or Gallant?
Gallant makes herself a spinach salad with salmon for lunch, sprinkled with pomegranates, a few almonds, hearts of palm, and dresses it with just a little olive oil and lemon juice.
Goofus grabs the unheated container of left over General Tsao’s chicken from the fridge and eats it standing up at the counter.
Gallant falls quickly asleep while reciting her Gratitude List, and wakes refreshed after a full 8 hours ready for a new day.
Goofus pops an Ativan at 11PM, wakes up at 3AM and has a glass of red wine, and wakes up at 5:00AM for good. She is a total bitch the next day.
Gallant has created a clothing budget, she is a savvy shopper, and when she is at her limit, she doesn’t tempt herself with sales.
Goofus just did retail therapy with a pair of Prada boots she couldn’t afford at the fabulous Bloomingdales shoe sale.
Gallant knows that giving unsolicited advice to others- especially her adult children- is always wrong and self-serving.
Goofus feels the need to constantly enlighten others, especially her 20 something year old children, with her unique knowledge and insights. She fools herself into thinking they are listening.
Gallant is always ready for sex, despite her post menopausal dry vagina.
Goofus is always tired; she’s had a headache for a month.
Gallant calls her elderly parents every day and visits them often.
Goofus checks the caller ID—if it’s them, she doesn’t pick up.
Gallant starts her day by meditating for 10 minutes in front of a lit candle, which she follows by drinking a cup of unsweetened green tea.
Goofus is on her fifth cup of coffee, sweetened with cancer causing Aspertame, before Gallant has gotten up.
Gallant mixes cardio and weights in her daily exercise routine.
Goofus has a membership to the gym, but hasn’t gone for a month.
Gallant bought a beautiful and personal gift for her niece’s wedding, arranging a couple’s massage at their hotel as a little extra treat.
Goofus reminds herself that she has a year to get a gift and surely she will get around to it one of these days.
Gallant writes beautiful, handwritten thank you notes of appreciation on her personalized stationary.
Goofus is lucky if she remembers to write an email.
Gallant knows that hot water with lemon is not only delicious, but detoxifying.
Goofus knows that tequila with a splash of lime is very delicious and toxifying, which is exactly the point.
Gallant gets out of her pajamas on a snow day to help her husband rake the snow off the roof.
Goofus takes a picture of her husband raking the snow off the roof and posts it to Facebook.
Gallant just started a cleanse– she will be free of white sugar, white flour and processed foods for a month.
Goofus just started a pint of ice cream. She will finish it within 10 minutes.
Gallant is reading the New York Times
Goofus is watching The Biggest Loser.
I think this was the easiest post I have ever written. I could do this all day.
And I still want to kick Gallant in the face.