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You notice nobody ever says “laugh” or “sneeze”

Peanuts, 10/28/04

The Boondocks, 10/28/04

When I was a kid, I learned a lot from the comics. For instance, I had a bunch of Peanuts anthologies that I read obsessively, and they taught me about how to be melancholy. Take sighing: from strips like the one above, I learned the precise emotional and conversational situations in which a sigh would be appropriate. Unfortunately, I had no idea what a sigh actually was, which meant that, when the mood struck, I would actually say the word “sigh.” This went on for years with no one older and wiser correcting me, presumably because it’s pretty hilarious to see a little kid going around saying “sigh.” Come to think of it, that probably accounts for a lot of Peanuts’ appeal. I add the Boondocks strip here as evidence that this trend is still going strong.

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