If I had to pick any one cartoon that is our “trademark image” it would have to be “Salad Bar Exam”. Even though the cartoon is about 12 years old, it remains our most popular. We even put it for sale on all types of odd products, and some not so odd like tees and mugs and such.
The story behind the cartoon, truly is nothing that dramatic about “the story behind the cartoon”; at least the story does not seem that dramatic to me.
I actually wrote the concept around 1974. I was in college (my first time around) and had switched to about 3 different majors; one of them being political science, which seemed to be a great pre-law major at the state university I attended.
As a vegan now, I look back at some of the “things” I ingested and wonder how I ever survived that time. Some of my staples included peanut butter, sardines, ramen noodles, Gatorade, more ramen noodles and white bread. No wonder I was sick all the time with the flue one week, strep throat the next week, etc.
It was about that time salad bars became popular at restaurants and Shoney’s, an establishment near USM had a huge salad bar. My friends and I would go in and just order the salad which was super healthy, but then load it with blue cheese dressing, making it as fatal as any ramen noodle could be even if it didn’t try (to be fatal).
By the same token I was losing interested in the law, and getting pulled over and warned by it (the law) more than I was learning the logistics of the Constitution. Besides, my shoulder length hair got in the way of my eyes when I was trying to study, and to me, that was “a good thing”.
My friends started losing interest in school, and the law generally about the same time I did. Maybe 80% of them ended up in liberal arts like me. I was liberal and an artist so why not?
I can remember many a night debating staying in college and maybe pursuing the law, or maybe becoming a chef, a salad chef at that. The two sort of melded together and this is the image that evolved. It didn’t mean a lot at the time. I rough-sketched it with the caption “Salad Bar Exam” and it sat in a shoebox with several other strange concepts and rough sketches for nearly 35 years. At the time, I felt one day I would dispose of the entire box of silliness. I felt that many times since too. Funny how some of the most mundane things can become a major part of ones life.
Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and designer. He is probably best known for his Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts “Londons Times Cartoons” or “LTCartoons.com”. London is an avid hiker, a vegan and lives with his wife Lee Hiller-London in the Ouachata Mountains of Arkansas where they hike often and commune with nature, only to go home and eat soy n’ stuff. London adds, “Hey, its better than ramen noodles, eh?” London offers a variety of products bearing his award-winning cartoon “Salad Bar Exam” on funny tshirts, aprons, mouse pads, and much more.