Why?

Cidu Bill on Nov 6th 2017

undated-harry-bliss-why.JPG

Filed in Bill Bickel, Bliss, CIDU, Harry Bliss, comic strips, comics, humor | 32 responses so far

32 Responses to “Why?”

  1. Arthur Nov 6th 2017 at 03:00 am 1

    I wondered if there was a clue in the artwork. James is shown
    with his back to us, and only down to the shoulders. Is his
    imaginary friend not imaginary? Is it a real snapping turtle
    he’s holding in front of him?

    OTOH, I hope somebody comes up with a better idea.

  2. Olivier Nov 6th 2017 at 04:48 am 2

    “I wondered if there was a clue in the artwork”. I wondered too.
    Could this be a scene from some horror movie ? ‘The shining’, ‘the omen’, ?

  3. Kilby Nov 6th 2017 at 04:50 am 3

    Some kids invent imaginary friends. I have no idea how widespread it is, but it is certainly not uncommon (I never did, nor did my son, but my daughter has at least two). However, these friends are normally human children. Coming up with a pugnacious reptile would be at the very least rather odd, if not downright disturbing.

  4. Carl Nov 6th 2017 at 07:06 am 4

    I’ve never actually met anyone who has/had an imaginary friend, so it’s “common” (meaning, it happens, but probably not as often in real life as in cartoons). Not devaluing Kilby’s daughter or anyone else, just speculating about statistics. I’m certainly in no position to mock anyone for being unusual–I read CIDU, which represents what, 0.0001% of the population at most? (And that wasn’t mocking Bill, either.)

  5. Stan Nov 6th 2017 at 07:28 am 5

    “Coming up with a pugnacious reptile would be at the very least rather odd, if not downright disturbing.”

    I was wondering if that’s all there was too it as well, but it seemed rather thin. Kids imagine all sorts of weird stuff and a grumpy turtle doesn’t register that high on the odd scale really. If the turtle had pus-secreting wounds for eyeballs or ate nothing but Cheerios and vomit, then maybe.

    I then got to thinking that kids often model their playtime behaviour on things they’ve seen or conflations of that, and I believe some schools of thought would say that the scenarios they dream up are reflections of their inner feelings about the world around them. Maybe the reason these parents are concerned is that the imaginary friend is a reflection of how their child sees them: slow, hard and irritable.

    I doubt that’s it, but it’s the best I’ve got.

  6. Terrence Feenstra Nov 6th 2017 at 08:04 am 6

    Cheerios and vomit - all stirred together in a bowl, or one after the other like salad and entree?

  7. Kilby Nov 6th 2017 at 08:58 am 7

    Like Carl @4, I always thought that the phenomenon was rather rare, but a quick Internet search (for “how common are imaginary friends?” produced some surprising statistics. I’m not sure I can believe the numbers in some of those studies. I have run into a few cases outside of my own family, but nothing like was those researchers claim. On the other hand, many cases are probably short-term, and wouldn’t get discussed much outside the family after the behavior disappears.

    P.S. My first guess (just based on the kid’s first name) was that this might be a reference to “James & the Giant Peach”, but a quick search proved that the kid in that book was an orphan. Now I’m wondering whether the adjectives “Teenage Mutant Ninja” might be relevant.

  8. DemetriosX Nov 6th 2017 at 10:54 am 8

    Coming up with a pugnacious reptile would be at the very least rather odd, if not downright disturbing.
    More or less so than a mildly sarcastic tiger?

    I had an imaginary friend, though I don’t know for how long. My oldest grandson has one (the others aren’t quite old enough to verbalize one if they do). I always understood it to be fairly common.

  9. Christine Nov 6th 2017 at 11:06 am 9

    In my case, my imaginary friend was more a collection of imaginary children who I made up stories about. I never really “played” with them. But I think that still counts

  10. Winter Wallaby Nov 6th 2017 at 11:46 am 10

    I think there’s nothing more to it than this: “Coming up with a pugnacious reptile would be at the very least rather odd, if not downright disturbing.”

    Although, like others, this seems fine to me.

  11. James Pollock Nov 6th 2017 at 12:17 pm 11

    “Coming up with a pugnacious reptile would be at the very least rather odd, if not downright disturbing.”

    Cut down on how much James plays with those Mario and Luigi kids. They’re a bad influence. Not just imaginary turtle friends, but imaginary girlfriends who happen to be princesses of foreign lands…

  12. Scott Nov 6th 2017 at 01:50 pm 12

    The clue that I see is that both parents are holding their hands over their crotches. I’m not sure why the mother would, but I can understand about the father. Perhaps the kid sometimes plays out what his imaginary friend would do?

  13. Brian in STL Nov 6th 2017 at 01:50 pm 13

    A friend of mine has a son that earlier in life had imaginary friends, including his own future self. My pal related once when the lad was talking a new friend, they inquired as to whether this one was real. He was not upset, just assured them that this one was “non-fiction”.

  14. Cidu Bill Nov 6th 2017 at 01:59 pm 14

    That’s interesting, Brian: my son also understood that his imaginary friend was imaginary but, well, never held that against him.

  15. Mona Nov 6th 2017 at 02:35 pm 15

    My first thought was on the line of what Scott said. One might be concerned to learn that a short tempered snapping turtle was in your house. If it became angry it might snap things off. For example, if James didn’t want to go to eat his spinach or go to bed, turtle might get angry and come during the night while Jack and Nina are sleeping and snap off fingers, toes, etc.

  16. Bookworm Nov 6th 2017 at 03:53 pm 16

    I had an imaginary friend until I was 3. It was just me and my Mother all day alone at home, and she was sick a lot. When my brother was born, I didn’t need the imaginary friend anymore. So mine was just a cure for loneliness. I’ve never known anyone else who had one, so I thought it was rare.

  17. Cidu Bill Nov 6th 2017 at 05:04 pm 17

    My niece not only had an imaginary friend — though she insisted she was real — and her imaginary friend had a bunch of other friends (akin to Barbie’s gang of friends, I guess), including one friend who lived in Florida whom my niece had never “met.”

    So while many kids have imaginary friends, my niece managed to have an imaginary stranger.

  18. Bob Nov 6th 2017 at 07:30 pm 18

    I imagine (hah!) that imaginary friends are on the decline. Many years ago when a kid was lucky to have a stick and a discarded mop head as toys, imaginary friends were in high demand. Now that (as James alluded) real kids have Mario and hundreds of other interactive “friends” on phones, TV, laptops, iPads, etc., there’s not as much need for truly imaginary friends.

  19. Carl Nov 6th 2017 at 08:42 pm 19

    At least a couple of people in this discussion are using “imaginary friend” to mean “someone I imagined.” I think everyone tells themselves stories about made-up people. Believing they’re real is required to have them be imaginary friends. In my usage.

  20. Mark in Boston Nov 6th 2017 at 09:27 pm 20

    When your kid starts killing people because his imaginary friend told him to, it’s time to start worrying.

  21. turquoisecow Nov 6th 2017 at 10:55 pm 21

    The thing I mostly noticed is that, while Mom looks concerned, Dad looks bored. I don’t know if this *means* anything, or if the cartoonist just doesn’t do expressions well, but I figured maybe Mom was better at playing along and Dad was just like “yeah, yeah, whatever.”

    As to why they’d be concerned, maybe the imaginary snapping turtle was teaching their son to bite things?

  22. fleabane Nov 7th 2017 at 02:35 am 22

    I have a pet hypothesis that having imaginary friends and distinguishing the difference between reality and imagination is closely related to the ability to remember things objectively and therefore …. learning to distinguish that your imaginary friend is not real coincides with your inability to remember them.

    I’ve known many people who’ve had imaginary friends but none who can remember having them. Or at best they only remember a few of the very last escapades that are of a fairly detached and abstract nature.

    My little sister had an imaginary friend which was an odd form of hero-worship. *Every* time she learned a new concept she’s say very excited and convinced that Pillow does that. When she learned that people go to college, Pillow goes to college! When we went to the airport, Pillow has an airplane in her garage! The there is a country called France, Pillow lives in France! That people die, Pillow is dead! Quite the worldly being this Pillow.

    But the weirdest thing was when she was about six she asked her mother in all seriousness, “I haven’t seen Pillow in a long time; How come we don’t visit Pillow any more?”

  23. Stan Nov 7th 2017 at 02:46 am 23

    Another strange thing about this comic is that it says their ‘concern grew’. From the posts here and from general knowledge, having imaginary friends at a young age is quite common and nothing to be concerned about. What’s their problem?

    Maybe the perspective in this drawing is off and their son is actually thirty-five years old.

  24. Meryl A Nov 7th 2017 at 03:04 am 24

    I have real (plush) teddy bears, but husband and I give them imaginary personalities and lives so they are sort of imaginary friends,but unlike when children seem to have them, we know that what we are pretending they are saying or doing is not real.

  25. Christine Nov 7th 2017 at 02:43 pm 25

    Stan - The way that “it’s normal to have imaginary friend” is often presented (or at least often used to be presented, before parenting books were so common that we all read them as kids when our parents left them lying around) is “don’t worry, it’s normal”. Especially when you consider that some kids will insist that their friend is real. (I remember as a kid I was aware that my toys & imaginary friends weren’t “real”, but it would never do to say that, because it might offend them.)

  26. James Pollock Nov 7th 2017 at 04:08 pm 26

    “From the posts here and from general knowledge, having imaginary friends at a young age is quite common and nothing to be concerned about.”

    When you first see your kid interacting with someone who isn’t there, you get a little worried. Is it play, or is it full-on hallucination? Then you remember that imaginary play is normal and reasonably healthy, and you stop worrying about it. Unless the kid’s actions suggest that it isn’t just play, their friend is real to them… and isn’t a nice, normal type of friend you’d WANT to imagine, but a hostile, malignant force. This is especially true if you’ve watched movies like “Poltergeist”.

  27. Cidu Bill Nov 7th 2017 at 05:45 pm 27

    Carl (19), what we see in a lot of kids is that they haven’t learned the difference yet. Or they have, and the concept of real vs imaginary is very fluid.

  28. Mark in Boston Nov 7th 2017 at 09:55 pm 28

    In many of our politicians, the concept of real vs imaginary is very fluid.

  29. Bob Nov 7th 2017 at 10:22 pm 29

    MiB - LoL.

  30. James Pollock Nov 8th 2017 at 01:34 am 30

    “In many of our politicians, the concept of real vs imaginary is very fluid.”

    Also true of a lot of the voters who elected them.
    Wishful thinking is rampant in modern America…

  31. Weird Beard Nov 8th 2017 at 08:09 pm 31

    If your imaginary friend is human, at least it has imaginary parents in an imaginary home to look after it. This kid has to feed it imaginary food, take it for imaginary walks and clean up imaginary poop. And if he’s a typical kid, it’s the parents who’ll end up doing all the work, besides trips to the imaginary vet.

    Or something.

  32. Kilby Nov 13th 2017 at 08:56 am 32

    Over the weekend I asked my mom if she knew of any kids in our family that had had imaginary friends. She did: me(!) (two of them, in fact). When she told me their names, I remembered having heard the story long ago, but even back then, I had had no conscious memory of them anymore (and I recall being a little embarrassed about it). Perhaps it runs in the family, but it will be a long while before I can test this theory on grandkids.

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