The Fertile Fads
The prionic web comic, by Mike Stanfill
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Rings Are A Tough Hobbit To Break

"I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things." - Franz Kafka

So I'm reading the Lord of the Rings for the third time, just for the sheer, delicious pleasure of it, when something occurs to me about the One Ring that is absurdly obvious.

Our lives are filled with Rings.

I don't simply mean round, hoopy things. I'm referring to objects which at first seduce and then overwhelm us.

Money is not a Ring. It's simply the currency we use to acquire Rings.

Dogs are Rings.

Dogs are not just friendly, furry playmates. Any animal that can be taught to kill on command should always demand our deepest respect, no matter its size. Yes, this includes wiener dogs.

As pack animals they normally look to us as their leaders, their alpha males. But some people are incapable of assuming command, too unwilling or unable to demand the necessary kind of respect, and so fall into a primitive co-dependency. They wake up one day to find themselves trapped with a destructive, uncommunicative beast, their nerves shot and their homes in chaos. Entire industries have sprung up to rescue these poor saps from the psychological morasses to whch they've succumbed. The Dog Whisperer is not just infotainment, he's a sad reflection on our times.

Drugs are rings.

First, let's define what a drug is: Drugs are substances you introduce to your body, which affect you physically and even alter your consciouness. Sugar is, by this definition, a really good drug.

Actually, we all know which substances I mean but I like to include alcohol and nicotine to the list of usual suspect if for no other reason than their obvious Ring-like qualities.

You start with a simple drink/toke/hit but eventually, like most people, you slowly expand your intake in order to explore your limits. Or to sate your widened tolerance. This curiosity, especially the variant which says "I can ingest more than you, sissy-boy" has made a lot of people, many with CIA ties, very rich.

There are of course people out there who can stop using drugs any time they want and have been doing so for decades.

The most monstrous 21st century Ring of all is the automobile.

I don't think I have to belabor this point but the world would certainly be a far different place without cars, and a far better one, in my opinion. You, on the other hand, might just prefer pollution, suburban sprawl and catastrophic climate change, but the vast concrete wastelands anchoring stagnant clouds of noxious air reminds me more of Mordor and less of the Shire every day.

Ask yourself this: Could you drive all the way to the Mount Doom Recycling Plant, toss your car in, and then walk back? If so, then maybe the Fourth Age of Man will be Smaug free, too.


Note: This cartoon in no way intends to minimize the remarkable, take-no-prisoners, anti-meth print ads developed by the Montana Meth Project. Go see for yourself. And share.

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Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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