Denention With Happy Little Trees

“What do you do in art class detention? Do you have to wash out paint brushes, or sharpen pencils, or what?”

“No, we do those things anyway. It’s like a study hall, only really horrible.”

“So you just sit, or do you have to write the names of the Dutch masters five hundred times or what?”

“Worse, way worse. They make us draw the worst things. Cliche art, completely mind numbing bad. We have to do motel art for one thing. You know, sad clowns and big-eyed kids? They threatened one guy, said
he’d have to do a Velvet Elvis! He got pretty upset, so they let him off with some washed out impressionist seascapes. He was actually shaking!”

“Well what about you? What did you have to do, or don’t you want to talk about it?”

“It was funny. They were real serious and told me I had to draw Snoopy. I knew what they wanted, what they expected. Snoopy on top of his dog house, or Snoopy dancing, you know something like that. So what I did instead was the Snoopy balloon, the one that’s used in the Macy’s Parade every Thanksgiving. All those balloons are stored in New Jersey you know, and only brought into Manhattan for the parade. So what I did was a painting of all the balloon handler clowns trying to get Snoopy into the Holland Tunnel. All these clowns straining away, pushing and shoving on Snoopy’s butt. trying to get him into the tunnel. Every clown had my teacher’s face.”

“Uh-ho…. how did that go over?”

“Good I guess. They gave me a pass for next week to use the 3-D printer in the library. I wonder how big I can make it?”

Doug Mathewson

Skill Sets

Juan Carlos didn’t grow up around here. He’s from Guatemala so he knows a lot of stuff we don’t. Stuff like how to keep a nectarine peel in one piece, turn it inside out and make a little nativity creche to hang on the tree. With a Sharpie he made a simple version of the scene inside. That’s so cool!
I closed one eye peeked in to admire his work. There were little shepherds with their sheep, three wise-men with gifts, and a tiny manger. But my girlfriend was Mary and Juan Carlos was Joseph! That’s not cool at all!

Doug Mathewson

Missed Connections

You know those little features in big city newspapers called “Missed Connections”or some such? People are always describing themselves and the other party with whom they would like to connect with in terms of their expensive wardrobe or fashionable location. “You in vintage Gucci, I in limited spring collection Armani at the 92st Y members event……” Nobody is ever at Walmart, nobody is ever wearing old gym clothes with mustard stains and a broken zipper. So that is where this piece is coming from.


You – Three thousand dollar MacLaren stroller and sleeping child.

Me – Six hundred dollar car and someone else’s dog.

The light was changing, I rev’d the engine, you flipped me off,
I blew the horn, your child woke crying, the dog went nuts.

Next time, …… coffee?

Doug Mathewson

Bus Station

The TV commercial confused me. There were young beautiful people in fluid choreographed motion. Their dancing was perfectly timed, and eyes always connected with the camera.
While in motion they unzipping pockets on themselves and each other. Cooley smiling goofy smiles, flirty smiles, knowing smiles so confident, and like magic personal electronic devises popped from pockets and spun once, then grew on screen. It is unclear to me what these delightful youngsters are selling until a girl with a million dollar smile holds up some twinkling plastic thing, and teasingly calls out “What’s in your technology pocket?” “Oreos” I shout back in a splutter of crumbs.

Doug Mathewson