Two Tales Of Opus: Comic Tales Of Love In Bloom

OpusI was going through some old photos, Modern Philosophers, and I came across this classic.

I would guess that I’m seventeen in the photo, which was taken at my childhood home in Brooklyn.

I thought I’d share some stories about my wing man (see what I did there?) in the photo, Opus, the star of the Bloom County comic strip.

Please tell me you remember Bloom County, Modern Philosophers.  It is one of my all-time favorite strips, joining Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Get Fuzzy on my Comic Strip Mount Rushmore.

I thought it was significant that Opus was given to me by the first woman I ever loved, and is currently in the possession of the last woman I loved.

How did Opus come to play such an important role in my love life?  I’m not really sure, but I do intend to ramble on about it in this post.

I fell in love for the first time when I was 16.  I was a counselor at a sleep away camp in upstate New York, shipped off by an Evil Step Mother who decided that I needed to find a job for the summer.

penguinsWhat I found, instead, was that I was destined to be unlucky in love.  Maureen was awesome and I fell for her instantly.  She had a liking for me, too, and we became very close.  Unfortunately, she was 20.

Don’t worry, Modern Philosophers.  Nothing inappropriate ever happened aside from some hand holding.  Of course, if we had both been 16, then it would’ve been the perfect first love story.

Maybe my life would be totally different now, but instead, it was the first example of my tendency to fall head over heels in love with the wrong woman.

We stayed in touch once Maureen went back to college and I went back to high school.  This was before email, texting, and tweeting, so we communicated via snail mail.  I always looked forward to Maureen’s letters, and I’m pretty sure that writing long letters to her was, in my mind at least, my first serious writing job.

I wanted nothing more than to convince her to hold on until I turned 18 and it would be okay for us to be a couple.  I’m sure Maureen found it quite adorable that a dorky teenager was in love with her, and she was a sweetheart to never flat out crush my dream.

For my seventeenth birthday, she sent me Opus.  She knew I was a huge fan of Bloom County, and I suppose being able to sleep next to Opus was my consolation prize.

Opus survived the moves to NYU, to California, and to Maine.  As a flightless waterfowl, it’s not like he could really get very far on his own, so he was pretty much stuck with me.

He ended up on my desk at my current job.  I’m not quite sure why I first brought him to work, but he was probably bored sitting home alone at The House on the Hill and pestered me to take him to the office.

penguin loveSomehow, he wound up on the desk of The Girl Who Moved Away.  She had a habit of taking things that she wanted, and I’m certain that her kidnapping of Opus was one of those early signs of flirting.

Our very first date was on my birthday, and at some point during the evening, we got to talking about how she had made Opus her own.  I already knew on that first date that I was falling for her, so I didn’t mind that she was getting comfortable with taking my stuff.

As the date was ending, we exchanged cell numbers as I was off the next day and we wanted to stay in touch since she would be bored without me around the office.  At least that was the excuse we used to share our numbers.

One of the first text messages, if not the very first one, I ever received from The Girl Who Stole My Penguin arrived the next morning.  It stated that she had convinced her Mom to knit a beanie for Opus to keep his head warm while he was on her desk.

Once I received that text, I knew that this relationship was moving beyond our just being friends and coworkers.   Once again, Opus was right in the thick of things.

When it came time for The Girl Who Also Stole My Heart to leave for school, it was a no brainer that Opus would make the journey as well to keep an eye on her for me.

penguin love 2Both women came into my life at the wrong time, but I loved them with all my heart.  Clearly, I still love the dimple cheeked brown eyed girl who ran off with my heart and my penguin, but there’s nothing I can do about that right now.

I just hope she is taking good care of Opus.  That penguin, like the women I will forever associate with it, holds a very special place in my heart.

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Love, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Two Tales Of Opus: Comic Tales Of Love In Bloom

  1. You know, things that are meant to be have a way of coming full circle….

  2. momof1and10 says:

    I loved Bloom County and my brother had an Opus, also.

  3. Barneysday says:

    Bloom County remains my favorite comic ever, and I still have an Opus (we also named our dog after him) and Bill the Cat. Classics

  4. Joseph Nebus says:

    I’m just always stunned to see there were Opus dolls and stuff like that. I saw jokes about Bloom County merchandise but never any actual merchandise other than book collections. (Great at those are, those aren’t really toys.)

    My love reports having had the Opus telephone, though, and isn’t that a strange thing to have had?

  5. Great story. Bloom County is still my all time favorite comic series. It held a lot of meaning for me and my first husband when we were dating/ first married. He went to USNA and his Company 31’s mascot was Bill.

  6. I remember Opus, but that Springstein tee shirt is even more familiar. 🙂

  7. I never had a Springstein shirt…I was probably the only one that didn’t. ha!

  8. D. Parker says:

    I liked Opus and I loved The Far Side.
    As for love, it remains a mystery.
    Hope this day is treating you kindly, Austin. 🙂

  9. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Wow, I haven’t thought about Bloom County in forever. I may have to dig up the old collections to get a laugh this evening.

    I had an Opus and a Garfield that I took from my mother’s office after she passed away, but I only know the whereabouts of Garfield at the moment (on my desk).

  10. markbialczak says:

    It’s quite rude of The Girl Who to keep Opus hostage Austin, knowing full well how it stands for your heart. In fact, the symbolism here is killing me.

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