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No. 2497: Stressfield

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Stressfield

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Strip by: MadDogBV

Jon: Got a minute, Garfield?
Jon: Garfield, I'm so stressed out. The yard needs mowing, the car needs an oil change, the house needs painting, Odie needs to be washed, Liz is breaking up with me, I'm overdue on my mortgage, my credit card is maxed out, the local paper fired me, I have to write a eulogy for mom. Did I mention my shingles? Oh, Lyman didn't pay the rent. I haven't slept in days! But at least I have you to comfort me.
Garfield: You know, I can't even joke about this.

The author writes:

Not to beat the "first world problems" dead horse, but when I looked at the original strip, I thought that Jon was slightly exaggerating the extent to which he was stressed. I decided to turn it up to eleven with this submission. In the process, as Garfield points out in the last panel, I sucked all the humor out of it.

Well, nobody said life was a rose garden. Psychology teaches us that stress is a fairly universal human emotion. There are many causes for stress, the most frequent of which are listed within this strip - money, failed relationships, family, career, and illness.

With my modification, the strip becomes less of a triviality of Jon's humdrum life, and instead shines a spotlight on the impact of stress on the human psyche and the importance of empathy. Garfield goes from gleefully taking advantage of Jon's vulnerability in the title panel, to being sympathetic - to the extent that Garfield can be sympathetic - by the "punchline" panel.

My take-home message is: be there for those who need you. Even if they don't make it evident at first that they need you, let them know the door is open.

Original strip: 2003-03-09.