A confession…

Someone once said, “There are no new ideas.”

I wish that was a justification for what I’m about to tell you, but it’s not.

There’s a series that’s been rerunning on Gocomics.com about Bo getting a job at a petting zoo. In today’s strip Bo finds out he has to join a union: “The Brotherhood of Petting Animals, Trolley Conductors and Pastry Chefs, Local 843.” I liked the idea of dissimilar careers being in the same union.

Then I was watching a DVD collection of The Simpsons from 1994 and in the episode “Last Exit to Springfield” we find out Homer’s union is “The International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs, and Nuclear Technicians.”

True, their writers may not have been the first to come up with the “dissimilar career union” gag. It may just be one of those funny ideas that different people come up with independently*, but for me to inadvertently rip-off the idea of including “pastry chefs”…gosh, it’s just so embarrassing. (I believe that when I was watching this episode with my wife and saw the union part, I actually jumped up, said, “Oh no. Oh no.” over and over again, and ran into my studio to dig through strips to see if I had screwed up as bad as I feared. Of course, I had.)

Now, I am a huge Simpsons fan. I believe that its first ten years are some of the finest television ever produced. And it just goes to show how your influences can bubble to the surface in ways you hadn’t figured on (beyond having entire conversations with your friends the consist of nothing but lines from The Simpsons).

And, before all you Simpsonerds jump on it, yes, I know there was a duck named Stuart who worked at the Nuclear Power Plant in another episode. I just thought it would be funny to have the shop steward at a petting zoo be a small duck. C’mon, his name is Mr. Quackers – gimme some credit here.

* This happens a lot more often than you might think. Having been in the trenches – writing 365 hopefully funny ideas a year – I’ve seen it first hand.

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