The other night our cartoonist gang was discussing Passive Aggressive Notes, and I brought up my all-time favorite office memo. It dates back to the days when fellow Couscousian Jason Thompson and I both worked at the same manga publishing company. One December, as a holiday gift, a Scandinavian licensor sent the office a huge tub of what appeared to be Swedish gummi fish, except that they were black and the flavor was, as far as anyone could identify, ammonia.
This was not an atypical situation in the office break room. We got a lot of gift baskets from foreign licensors, and anyone who made a habit of eating unlabeled food soon learned not to make naive American assumptions about what the flavor would be. Early in my days there, I took a huge greedy bite out of a gourmet cookie from Japan, only to discover that what appeared to be a thick coating of white icing was, in fact, salt. Everyone tried the ammonia fish, learned a harsh but necessary lesson, and moved on to other holiday snacks. All but one person, that is.
Jason Thompson. Connoisseur of terrifying food.
Jason loved the fish. He scarfed them down at every opportunity and sang their praises far and wide. But not even Jason could make more than a slight dent in the enormous tub of wrongheaded European candy. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff started using the uneaten fish to spell out rude words on the break room tables.
This is all by way of explaining why it was that one morning I came into the office to find this note posted in the break room:
Obviously I immediately stole it.
…Anyway, when I told this story the other night, and dug the note out of my files, everyone was so inspired that they decided to draw their own fish notes. Here’s Liz Conley’s:
And here’s one by the wonderful Mark Simmons, instructor at the Academy of Art University:
Thank you, Jason, for this and many other moments of inspiration. I love your fat fish-eating Mock Man and always will.