Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

I'm in the 35th year of my cartooning internship!

07/19/2013 6:18 PM

07/22/2013 3:10 PM

Today was Meet The Bee Interns day, and, man, did I feel old.

Not that I'm old, of course. I'm 52, and, with medical technology what it is today, I feel very confident that I will survive long enough to see Social Security disappear and replaced with the Mortgage-Backed Security System (I am doing a lot of mortgage-backed security humor this week). This is why I have encouraged all my children, who are 19, 22, and 25 respectively, to save up for my retirement by stockpiling canned food and ammo.

The Bee interns are all around 20 years old, give or take, and, hence old enough to be my children. All of them have impressive academic and journalistic backgrounds; way more impressive than mine. This is why their souls must be crushed early so that baby boomer journalists can hold on to their jobs deep into Chelsea Clinton's second term in the White House.

When I was introduced, our managing editor, Scott Lebar, mentioned the great Washington Post cartoonist Herblock, who I knew slightly (I was also mentioned in his autobiography in an anecdote about my own youthful inexperience). The assembled interns had never heard of him. Not their fault. I suppose if, in 1980, someone was going on about the great cartoonists of 1944, I might have drawn a blank, too. Of course, Herblock was also one of the great cartoonists of 1944. That's how long he worked.

Herb died in his job at 89, which, according to my own calculations, puts me leaving The Bee in 2050 or so, which is fine by me. I need to talk to HR about it, but I'm certain they'll be accommodating. 

Being reminded that one is no longer of intern age is a bit jarring, but it was also great to be able to impart lots of wisdom, like there were over 200 cartoonists at newspapers when I started, and now it's me and six other people. As your age, your official Sense of Humor Framework changes. For example, my really amusing Watergate imitations used to kill at the Rotary, and now I might as well be doing Teapot Dome satire.

Time flies when you're having entropy.

Our interns are all enthusiastic about the future, and meeting them made feel like thinking extra hard today about working out this weekend, making sure my hair is the right shade of orange, and honing all my jokes about Jay-Z. 

He's a singer, right? Like Barry Manilow?

I'm starting to understand what Herblock felt like: a DC-3 in a 787 world. 

For all of you born in 1992, Google DC-3.

For the rest of you, help me with these propellers. We can still fly!


About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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