As a comic-strip character, I can get away with things the rest of you only dream of. For example, the more I make mistakes, the more you keep reading. If I didn’t know better I’d say you take a perverse delight in watching me mess up in my syndicated comic strip CEO DAD. But get this: because I am limited to the scenarios and punch lines that my creator, Tom Stern, invents for me, not only do I HAVE NO IDEA that I’m screwing up, but by the very next day I might make the same mistake again and still not even recognize it as a mistake.
In the real world, you folks would not suffer fools like me gladly. In your human universe, a character like me, whose idea of work-life balance is paying my secretary to clean the house, would gradually lose all his friends and try to work out what he did wrong by creating a comic strip loosely based on his own experience. I’m not necessarily saying this is Tom Stern’s career trajectory. (Oh, who am I kidding, of course it is. Why did I pretend it wasn’t? What am I, worried about being sued? I don’t even exist! See, this is the kind of immature, neurotic co-dependency that Tom has written into my character. Thanks a lot, Stern!)
But there again, my pain and misery seems to make for good comics fodder. This leads me to an interesting philosophical question: why is it okay for a cartoon to behave like an imbecile, when they are really only mirroring the behaviors of actual human beings whom we would not tolerate for very long in our daily lives? I think it’s because, like it or not, humans want to be forgiven for all the times they’ve been a pain in the butt. So forgiving me allows you all to forgive yourselves. This is why my comic strip is especially popular with CEO’s, who know they need forgiving, and with the spouses of CEO’s, who are in the process of deciding whether or not to forgive.
Rest assured, I will keep making mistakes to illuminate your vulnerabilities, your foibles, your I-can’t-think-of-a-third-word-here-since-Tom’s-vocabulary-is-somewhat-limited. Unlike you, I have the luxury of not knowing what I’m doing wrong. It would be a perfect life, if only he hadn’t made me bald.
Frank Pitt, CEO DAD