A Little of What You Fancy

“When the going gets tough, the tough eat donuts”–Ziggy

I love Ziggy. Do you remember him—the fat little bald guy in the 70’s comic strip by Tom Wilson? Ziggy had a “woe is me” perspective on life but offered simple words of wisdom.

The cartoon quote from above was lovingly cut out of the paper by my dad and taped to my mirror when I was 18. I’m sure it’s now tucked away in an attic box piled on top of other boxes from far too many moves. Every time I think of Ziggy, I think of my dad who passed away at an early age of 59, fifteen years ago.

Striking a Chord

My dad didn’t cut that cartoon out to suggest I was getting fat. He simply cut it out because the humor struck a chord with him. When I was 18 I worked in the deli of a local grocery store. Oftentimes, at the end of the shift, I had to box up the fresh donuts from the bakery to be put out for the “day old” dollar sale the next day. So each night I’d box them up–and then buy ‘em. My particular favorites were the peanut donuts. Oh my, they were good. But, alas, they are not made anymore because of all the peanut allergen sufferers out there. Sigh. I loved a good peanut donut. The memory of biting into a fresh donut with falling nuts and crumbs waiting to be scooped up, filling my nose with the warm, nutty sensation, still makes my mouth water.

Woe is Me

The humor that my dad found in the comic strip was that I was a love-sick teen who had just broken up with my first forever boyfriend, who brought home a box of donuts at the end of the night to eat away the pain. When the going got tough, I ate donuts. My dad was trying to get me to move through the “woe is me” attitude from the teen-age breakup with humor. I loved that about my dad—he moved through life with humor and I couldn’t help but be sucked into it.

An Iron Fist

That particular Ziggy cartoon was based on the quote from Joseph P. Kennedy, father of our 35th president John F. Kennedy, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I’m sure the fiercely ambitious businessman and political figure, who thrived on competition and winning, gave that fatherly advice to his 9 children with a stern striking of his fist with emphasis on every word.

Not my dad. He cut out cartoons from the paper and taped them to my mirror. He peeled off Chiquita banana labels and pasted them somewhere in my school lunch box for me to discover with love. He’d sneak away early from work and show up unexpectedly for the last 15 minutes of my soccer game. He didn’t rule with an iron fist, rather with respect, love and humor.

It Makes All the Difference

The humor that he used to get me through my first forever boyfriend break-up still makes me smile to this day. He was letting me know that life goes on, it’s what you make of it, it’s how you choose to move through it that makes all the difference.

Too Much of a Good Thing

I had to stop eating donuts, not because they landed on my hips, but because I got sick of them. To this day I have a hard time eating donuts because I ate too much of a good thing way back when. As Marie Lloyd so simply states, ” A little of what you fancy does you good.” The lesson from Ziggy and my dad: taking it to the extreme is not necessarily a good thing. Although I have to admit when I see a “Hot Donuts Now” sign flashing at a Krispy Kreme, my car automatically pulls into the drive-thru. I’m just taking them home to the kids. Honest.

“A LITTLE of what you fancy does you good.” For sure.



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