Heard This One?

If You Cannot See Yourself As Others Do You Will Never Understand

Life is not funny; indeed, life repudiates all attempts to describe it.

People, on the other hand, with their vanities, hubris, delusions, and complete inability to accept existence as it is, are endlessly funny. The closer you get to the dark, corrupt heart of humanity the harder you laugh.

For me; truth, art, humor and pain have always been like four compass arrows at the North Pole; they seem to point away from one another but do just the opposite, and circumscribe all we have, and are, in the process.

I have never succeeded in teasing these elements apart. All three of my books look mercilessly at painful subjects: mental illness, evil, and addiction. Yet, all are outrageously funny – in the words of one reader – “wickedly funny”.

My cartoons, which pair found art & photography with created captions, are oddly entertaining, but rarely yuck yuck stuff. In them you often see the razor’s edge of satire, an author disappointed by humanity.

Taz Mopulisms – those Twitter-friendly snippets of faux profundity – are usually absurd, at least in part.

The harder I work to be honest, the funnier my output becomes. There is no changing that now. But understand; cheap laughs are not my quarry. I started down the road to madness over 40 years ago; since then Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) and chemical dependency have followed me like a curse.

Amazingly I have defeated them, but I am one of the lucky few.

I am a foot soldier in a war. I have lost so many dear friends and even family members to suicide of all descriptions – and I myself have peered over the ledge more times than I care to remember. I write for me, of course, because that is what I do. But I also write on behalf of the ones who didn’t make it, my lost brothers and sisters, for the benefit of those who need to see the other side.

Published by

Alistair McHarg

Alistair McHarg was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved immediately to Edinburgh, and three years later moved to Amsterdam. At 6 he settled in Philadelphia and for 16 years was confused by Quaker education; Germanton Friends School and Haverford College. A Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville nudged him even closer to unemployability. Convinced at an early age that fate had chosen writing as his calling, Alistair followed a characteristically slow and circuitous path. He has found work as deck hand on a Norwegian tramp freighter touring South America, Bureau of Land Management Emergency Fire Fighter in Alaska, guide at a Canadian wilderness survival camp, truck driver crisscrossing Colorado's continental divide, and inner city cabbie. Alistair has been arranging words on paper for a living since 1983.