What was your first thought and/or feeling when you saw this cartoon–and your second and third if you had them? Stop a minute to recall your reactions and perhaps write them down.
Did you think literally–that the big fish was indeed a fish and would protect the small fish if they behaved themselves? I think we’ve all heard of fish who hold their babies in their mouths. The humor of the cartoon is based on incongruity of one of these parent fish acting like a human. Was what the fish said a happy surprise to you, a gruesome surprise or somewhere in between? Don’t tell me it was no surprise at all; that would bruise my cartoonist’s ego and I’d have to look for a shark to eat YOU (just kidding. My sometimes morbid sense of humor is part of my personality.)
Was one of your first thoughts, “How can that fish tell those little guys what to do with his mouth full?”
Did you take the cartoon as an anti-imperialism cartoon, with the big fish poised to gobble up some poor, defenseless countries, and the shark another big country waiting in the wings for its chance? This person would be using the intuitive preference rather than the more literal sensate one in the MBTI system. Learn more about the MBTI personality types by clicking on the “Happy Introvert” cover at http://www.wagele.com and reading about introverts there or all 16 types in the Happy Introvert book.
Or did you think of the big fish as personal kind of bully–someone in your office or family who protects you but demands obedience in return? Possibly you feel trapped and abused by more than one such bully in your life. Someone who is tuned in to feelings more than thinking might tend to react this way. Circumstances is also a consideration.
Beyond the broad content, what do the expressions on the faces of the shark and the big fish say to you?
And what about the pacing of the words? That’s a big part of the cartoon, too. The sort of musical part. They start out rather comforting and relaxed: “Come in and I’ll protect you.” The middle part: “but….. you have to do what I say” is a command but we don’t know what the command is. And lastly, the PUNCH line is percussive and threatening – boom, boom, boom! “OR I’LL EAT YOU MYSELF!” You might hear it as a mild warning or an announcement of definite doom, depending on whether you see the glass half full or half empty.
How you react to my cartoon says a lot about your personality. The more mindful of your feeling reactions to cartoons and to every experience you have, the more you’ll get to know your true self. That often means subtly examining how much you like something. For example, how do you feel differently about the three kinds of characters – the little fishes, the big round fish with the startled expression, and the shark with the goofy expression?
I’d like to hear if this was interesting to think about. If you come up with a neat caption for my cartoon, I’d like you to tell me that, too.
11-18-09 There are some interesting new comments on this article on Facebook. One person thinks the fish could be an Enneagram Achiever or Asserter, which I agree with, and sees the cartoon in a sociological way.