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Daffy Duck was my first role model, and probably my most enduring. Those who know me, will recognize in my person Daffy’s Quixotic optimism, his dogged determination, his wet and unstoppable verbal bombast—in short, his mania. Daffy is a blur. He completely and perpetually defies inertia. Daffy is tireless, his appetites never wane, his energy never flags. Daffy feels best with four hours sleep. Daffy can preach, wax, eat an entire buffet, drink twelve beers, preach some more, peel the labels off the empty bottles, stack the coasters, give you an unsolicited pep talk, tease, hector, and encourage you in the same breath, and when that’s done, Daffy can jump in his car and drive twenty-six hours straight to Tuscon, rouse his friend out of bed, and force him to go bowling.

Daffy, like me, has delusions of grandiosity.

This little meditation on Daffy Duck is all by way of a roundabout apology to all the Porky Pigs in my life, along with all the other poor undeserving bystanders who happen in the way of my bombast. Thanks for enduring me.

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Jonathan Evison JONATHAN EVISON is the author of All About Lulu, which won the 2009 Washington State Book Award, and the bestselling West of Here (2011). In 2009, he received a fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. He is the executive editor of The Nervous Breakdown, and an advisory editor at Knock. He blogs at Three Guys, One Book. He especially likes rabbits and beer.

30 Responses to “Daffy and Me”

  1. What a strange post… I like it, though. I just got your book a few days ago and for some reason your strange self-portrait makes me all the more eager to read it.

  2. jonathan evison says:

    . . .yes, i reckon it is a strange post, DW . . . i went looking for this particular cartoon on youtube and when i found it, i realized that i had never iterated my lifelong debt to daffy for inspiring me to take the tornado by the tale and run with it . . . nor had i properly expressed my gratitude to the poor souls who are forced to put up with me, etc, because it must be sort of exhausting . . .

  3. JB says:

    Brilliant. I think everybody ought to grow up with a cartoon role model. Me and Charlie Brown always had a lot in common–much to my chagrin.

    Cheers.

    • jonathan evison says:

      . . . embrace your inner charlie brown, JB, it’s nothing if not lovable! we love people less for their successes, and more for their failures, i think, because we recognize them . . . charlie brown had pathos . . .

  4. jonathan evison says:

    . . .tail, that is, not tale . . .freudian slip?

  5. Do you jump around a lot and go ‘Woo hoo woo hoo woo hoo!’?

    Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do!

    I’m not sure who my cartoon role model was. I’m going to think on it and get back to you.

  6. Marybear says:

    Toon love is real <3
    I highly approve

  7. Greg Olear says:

    This does explain your affinity for rabbits.

    • jonathan evison says:

      yeah, but i gotta’ be honest, i never cared much for bugs– he made winning look too easy . . . i like how daffy grinds out his victories with sheer determination and fortitude . . .

  8. Kerry says:

    Johnny, this post is a revelation! YOU ARE DAFFY DUCK! So many of my photos of you come out blurry because you never stop moving. But then you can also nap anywhere which is an envious skill. I think you have taken your Daffy Duckness and refined it to a point that works for you. Cheers.

  9. Sung J. Woo says:

    I’ve always been partial to Daffy, too, much more so than Bugs. It’s interesting to see the earlier Warner Brothers cartoons — Daffy is way crazier and much less greed-driven.

  10. Hey Jonathan:

    You and Daffy. Wow, I would’ve never thought of that one. But putting it into the terms you do, it makes sense. Also, I’ve been loving your book, All About Lulu. I’m just about done. Speaking of which, in addition to having a little Daffy in your DNA, do you perhaps have some desert dinosaur tossed in there, too?

    Peace.

  11. Brad Listi says:

    I think it would’ve been interesting to couple the Daffy video with some old, grainy video footage of you on amphetamines at, say, age 17. A mash-up of sorts.

  12. D.R. Haney says:

    Great minds, etc.: I’ve always identified with Daffy Duck, JE, mainly because of his insistence on thrusting himself into the spotlight. Less so his greed (“It’s mine! Mine, mine, mine!”), though I could be said to be emotionally greedy, and have been.

    But one thing that struck me, in the Doddering Dept., on being reacquainted with the clip: the aside signs displayed by the kid/client — ham, screwball, and so on — wouldn’t make a lick of sense to anyone under the age of twenty, say, and maybe a decade older.

  13. jonathan evison says:

    . . . it’s funny, i never really connected daffy with greed . . . i like this one because daffy’s advocating for someone else . . .

  14. Marni Grossman says:

    It’s hard not to respect a man who can speak with such eloquence about Daffy Duck.

  15. I always felt Daffy and me had an unspoken common bond as well…. though I was never a Catholic priest.

  16. Carl D'Agostino says:

    For me Daffy was just too Brooklyn pushy , overbearing , inconsiderate, ostentatious. Even the virtuous Lone Ranger would have wasted a silver bullet this bird in a sec. But Daffy aside, the art deco backgrounds were so re-mindful of the time. Art deco is so cool. Many restored buildings and interiors here in Miami. The cartoon reminded me of how people have changed from 70 years ago, especially in what they laugh at and this cartoon certainly had adults audiences rolling on the floor with laughter while would barely elicit a bit of amusement today. Daffy is like screeching fingernails on a chalk board. This quacker couldn’t even shine Donald Duck’s shoes.

    Oh and speaking of birds. What kind of champagne do penguins drink on New Year’s Eve? Why, Cold Duck, of course.

  17. jonathan evison says:

    . . . agree to disagree on this one, carl . . . i never like donald duck . . .

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