I’ve told this story before, but, I kind of enjoy it in a strange sort of way, and if you’ve not heard it, you might enjoy it.
In late August or Early September 2001, I was rushed to National Park Hospital for angioplasty after a major heart attack.
For those who are not familiar with angioplasty, (in my case) rather than putting me under with full sedation, they put me in what is known as “twilight” where, allegedly the patient doesn’t know exactly what is happening, nor remember much afterwards, but really doesn’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure.
I can remember floating around in the room and seeing what many describe as “a tunnel”. Uh oh. Was I going to be one of the many who’ve now been on national media claiming to have seen the afterlife and come back to tell the story? Not quite. First I returned to my body. Important work to do.
I found myself in a large picnic area. On one of the wooden tables was a plate of food talking, debating philosophy. Most of the food was foods we know to contain complex carbohydrates.
I asked one of the cardiac nurses for a pen. She said that would not be allowed during surgery. I asked her if I told her a cartoon concept might she remember it. She said no, but if I did after surgery in my regular room, she would gladly give me a pen and paper. Good enough, I thought.
I am fairly sure she figured I would forget the whole event, given the amount of anesthesia running through my brain at the time.
I remembered. First question back in my room. Not “Is it over?” or “Will I live?”. It was “Where’s that pen and paper you promised”. I actually had the strength to write a portion of the cartoon concept down.
When I was released from the hospital a week later, I knew just the LTCartoons.com illustrator who would be assigned this project. And Johann Wessels had it completed in less than 3 days.
A lot of young people ask me about getting into cartooning. I try to encourage those who are creative or have artistic and/or writing abilities, but many don’t. To all of them, I explain, but you don’t have to have a heart attack to do this type work. Only be crazy enough to where you could easily give one to someone else. I do both.
Rick London is an author, gift designer, songwriter and cartoonist. He has created 50+ gifts and tees featuring this complex carbohydrates cartoon. He is best known for his #1 offbeat cartoons, Londons Times (or LTCartoons.com).