Okay, I'm outa here. I'm retiring. But first:
To all those who were loyal readers and boosters of my doodles over 40 years: Thanks. I'll miss you, too.
To all those who were offended because they didn't "get it": Gee, that's too bad. But I learned years ago that if you didn't get the gag, you won't get the explanation either.
To all those who called to have me explain a cartoon so they would know whether or not they should be offended by it: You've got to learn to make decisions on your own.
To all those who complained that my work was not balanced and objective: Editorial cartoons aren't supposed to be objective. Objectivity is not my department. Balance is down the hall. Impartiality is another word for no reason to draw a cartoon.
To all those who called or wrote with sure-fire Pulitzer-winning cartoon ideas to help me make it through another day, because I clearly needed help: I always felt obliged to produce the idea as well as the drawing itself, since my name is on it and if I'm illustrating somebody else's idea I'm just "taking dictation." But thanks for the desire to be helpful.
To all those who did get the gag and still disagreed fervently: Maybe I was wrong. Maybe you were right.
I thank the St. Petersburg Times for giving me a job so cushy that retirement seems like a chore. I thank the gang of colleagues in this building, top floor on down, who were more stimulating to the creative juices than any issue in the news. I thank the many publications that wanted to reprint my stuff, helping me believe my drawings were not just therapy for me, but actually influential - although, in my heart, I know better. (I don't think my cartoon was the first thing President Bush looked at in the morning.)
Let me present this rough, too brief retrospective of past efforts - lest we forget. I'm outa here.