Garfield Is That You
I turned 41 this year, and getting older has been strange, especially since the Internet got ahold of someone I consider to be my dream brother: Garfield.
What I’m talking about is “Creepy Garfield” art. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a series of cartoons featuring Garfield as a monster stalking Jon. It’s mostly sci-fi and body horror Cronenberg-style drawings.
My friends sometimes post this Dark Garfield art on my wall — and I appreciate it, I do love to see all of Garfield’s incarnations, even the upsetting ones. There’s even a subreddit for Creepy Garfield art called r/imsorryjon.
Picture a bloated Garfield the size of a star pouring the dark light of his essence directly into Jon’s eyes and Jon saying “I can see forever and it’s bad.” Or Garfield as one of the monsters from Annihilation, with tentacles coming out of his face and the caption is “This lasagna recipe requires your DNA, Jon.”
I’ve seen a lot of Garfields in my forty one years on this Earth. I’ve seen sparkling BLINGEE Garfield that says “Oh Damn It’s Monday.” I’ve seen pregnant Garfield holding his belly while a proud Sonic looks on (the producers of the new Sonic movie are cowards for not putting this in).
And of course I’ve seen Garfield Minus Garfield — the point of which is that Garfield is not there. They snapped Garfield out of existence like Thanos. This is what happens when Heathcliff gets the Infinity Stones.
Garfield is like CBD oil, you can really put him in anything and it kinda works. But I just don’t know about this new Cthulhu world-devouring version of America’s favorite orange Tabby.
Not to sound like “back in my day we had nice Garfield” but when I was a kid, Garfield was a positive presence in my life. Garfield was created the same year I was born, in 1978. I think the fact that we both came into the world around the same time made me feel I had a connection to him as a character.
A love of Garfield was the only thing my childhood enemy Byron Henderson and I had in common. Byron had a mullet and a ton of Garfield merch. We’d shoot the shit about Garfield, then we’d go out to recess, and he’d punch me in the face. Garfield can only do so much conflict resolution, I guess.
When I met my girlfriend Cherry, one of the first things I loved about her was her collection of coffee mugs, and specifically a glass mug of Garfield rowing a kayak and saying, “I’m easy to get along with when things go my way” And yeah — I guess that’s true Garfield. I’m glad we came on this kayaking trip, but you’re kind of being a bitch.
I was already catching feelings for Cherry, but when she started sending me pics holding that Garfield mug, I was in love. And Garfield didn’t steer me wrong — Cherry and I are engaged now. Do I base all my romantic choices on whether Garfield appears like a good omen to bless the relationship? Absolutely.
It’s like they always say: Garfield will appear at true love’s kiss. And by “they,” I mean Jim Davis.
I think of Garfield as a helpful visitor from the spirit world. It wouldn’t surprise me if Garfield has been appearing in different forms since the beginning of time. Garfield has always been here, just waiting to be born. Jim Davis has known this since the first time he did DMT.
So it’s a little jarring that the Garfield spirit guide that led me to my true love just a few years ago has shapeshifted into an eldritch nightmare now. “Hey Garfield, my old friend! Is that you gnawing on Jon Arbuckle’s bones?!”
I know that I can’t control what people do with Garfield, and that spending 41 years in our collective unconscious is going to produce some horrifying versions. He’s been deep fried for four decades in the lasagna pan of our dreams, and if I ever get a Garfield weed tattoo I know what to write on the bong.
I think the form that Garfield takes reflects the times we live in, and obviously things are beyond fucked up right now, so we got a fucked up Garfield. It reminds me of the corrupted boar God Nago in Princess Mononoke, who was turned into a demon by an iron ball created by man’s destruction of nature.
It makes me wonder, who will pull the iron ball from Garfield’s belly? I think that like all spirits born from the minds of men, he will only be healed when we are healed as well.
Or when we pry the Infinity Gauntlet from Heathcliff’s paws. He found it in the junkyard where he lives. Somebody left it in a trashcan under a fishbone.
In the meantime, I’m getting married next year and I couldn’t be happier about it. We’re doing a Garfield-themed wedding. Cherry will be wearing an orange and black dress, and Jim Davis will be officiating. We’re both changing our last name to Arbuckle and Cherry is going to heave a pan of lasagna at the crowd instead of throwing the bouquet.
But if we change our minds, just know that he’ll be there in spirit. After all, Garfield is my dream brother. He introduced me to my wife.