What we Lose When we Lose Independence Day

What we Lose When we Lose Independence Day

I am proudly forced to repeat myself from last week — the West End is my home.

I have called Webster Street my home for the last 15 years. I’m blessed that I was called to this island — my lady said I was invited, that it’s a kind of magic, destiny, an honor — and that it accepted me and that I’m lucky, and it’s true. I’ve made so many beautiful friends over the years — I’m looking at you, Il Postino and El Viejo Loco. Webster has everything I need within walking distance. There is no need to ever leave this street, let alone the island itself. 

One of the things that made me feel so welcome here were our Fourth of July festivities. Full disclosure — it’s also my birthday. So it made my acceptance feel even more special. From what I’m told, we had one of the biggest parades in the country. I should probably look that up for the paper, but I’m just going to accept that as a fact. When I was a little boy, I never liked having the Fourth for my birthday. I consider myself to be patriotic, but it was just too noisy — I just wanted pizza and a movie, not steak and fireworks. As I grew older, I began to appreciate it as a free party everywhere I went. Now I’m going to miss all that noise. All those faces and random reunions. Especially this year. Gone.

We are reaching a dangerous point. Isolation is getting to us all. We are all beginning to argue over the smallest of things because we need to hear ourselves speak — possibly because for many of you reading, your own voice is the only voice you’ve heard for months. 

But listening should also become more important as we move forward. 

What we lose when we lose Independence Day is community. Whatever your thoughts on the state of the country at the moment, the Fourth of July is sacred no matter what, as it brings us all together — for me, it starts with my street. We can all argue later. It’s my birthday. Let’s just party, please. Consider it a present from you to me. 

Let’s all come together as safely as possible. Seeing you all again is the greatest gift I can imagine this year. In lieu of books and records, please send kindness and forgiveness.

Please scan the paper to find info on the beautiful Ms. Devilaqua’s Spider-Man Safety March ad. There’s an irony in social distancing — independence has been inverted — we are still independent, but now essentially alone. 

Independence starts one street at a time. If you want to save this country, protect your street and give it the support it needs. For me it is Webster. 

Thanks to everybody who complimented on my debut feature last week and said “hi” to my friend Maggie over at Grocery Outlet. Elie, the owner, and all family-owned business owners in the neighborhood need all the help they can get right now. 

Again, go buy a comic from Patti over at Alameda Sports Cards & Comics. It may sound comical in terms of the pandemic, but comics are an industry that has been under-reported on in terms of the hit that it has taken. 

Maybe some of you can catch me drawing my dumb cartoons over at 1400 this Saturday, my birthday present to myself. I consider the corner seat at the bar and the window at Fireside my offices. Tell Yanni not to let too many people to buy me Plaque Tais or the book will never get finished. 

Special shout out to Betty at Pier 29. Welcome back to the Sun. I look forward to the French Dip and a stiff Manhattan again. 

We need each other more than ever. Happy birthday, America. Let’s figure out the other stuff when it’s over. 

— I love you all. 

Juan Cobo is a freelance cartoonist hiding from his scary Italian mother on the West End.