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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Danger Is My Middle Name

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: June 2011

If we humans were fully aware of the daily danger we seem to put ourselves in, we’d probably never leave the house. Which of course, probably wouldn’t do either, seeing as how germ-ridden most houses are. The steering wheel of your car, the phone you hold against your face every day, even the keyboard I’m currently typing away furiously on, these items we surround ourselves with every day serve as a refuge for sickness, pestilence and disease. Germs are one of the smaller dangers, to be sure, but certainly not the only one. Driving poses another problem, as the road to any destination is paved with a million assholes, jabbering away on cell phones, thoroughly distracted by any number of mental deviations. You could be killed any second by a brain aneurism, hit by a falling meteor, attacked by that mountain lion that has been prowling around Bidwell Park.

Of course some people make a conscious choice to inject a bit more danger into their daily lives than the rest. Could be as simple as crossing the street against the light, or maybe you’re in the break room doing rails of coke off the microwave that reeks like hundreds of bags of popcorn. For some, with the addition of these elements into their life, comes the instinctive need to keep adding more danger, until it spills over in one way or another.

They say that hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and that a more accurate perception of events comes with the passing of time. For some things this holds true, like when I think back on truly miserable relationships that that I partook in, (mostly in my early twenties). Or when I remember driving back from Tahoe at age seventeen, in a tiny Honda, dirt and slush being kicked up onto the windshield by all the cars in front of me. To say I could even see the road at all would be a lie, I merely tried to follow the other cars break lights. One of the less intelligent driving choices I’ve made, but not the worst.

This week our focal point is Life With Mister Dangerous, by Paul Hornschemeier. From Villard Publishing, this graphic novel is at first glance, a played out tale. The unlucky-in-love girl, working a pointless job in retail and working her way through a string of failed relationships. She fears she’s becoming a punch line, more destined to become a crazy cat lady than any sort of success. Her closest friend Michael lives in San Francisco, and through their conversations a will-they-or-won’t-they scenario emerges. This tale could easily be trite, but with the masterful handling of a simplistic art style, the reader is drawn into the unassuming pages quickly. Pick this graphic novel up at your local comic-slingin’ shop, post haste. 

Arielle Mullen