Charles Schulz hoped to leave you with something
The Charlie Brown creator gave every panel a sense of humanity.
Let's face it, we're all dust. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how hard we try. The best we can do is try to make things a little nicer for the other people around us while we're here.
For iconic cartoonist Charles Schulz, that aching feeling of impermanence guided every drawing.
Schulz was, of course, responsible for the Peanuts cartoons, and all their characters. Charlie Brown, his not-so-secretly semi-autobiographical creation, is a loser. He's constantly hard done by the cruel world around him. While Charlie Brown is a drawing, the harsh, unfair world around him is the one we live in. He is an infinitesimally small blip in the universe, just like us.
That never stops Charlie Brown from lining back up to kick that football again. It's never worked out for him before, with the football being swiped out of the way at the last second every time. But Charlie Brown tries again. The guy once spent eight consecutive comic strips holding onto the string of a kite stuck in a tree.
So, if we view his most famous creation as an emblem of the human condition, then what does that make Charles Schulz? The cartoonist spoke to the Corpus Christi Times in 1969 about his worldview and his idea of his legacy.
"They call me everything: Philosopher, theologian, psychiatrist. But I'm not, or I wouldn't be doing what I do.
"I draw. Things come to me and I draw them, that's all. All I ever wanted to do was draw characters and have them say and do things I feel are real. No hidden motives or meanings. Whatever people get out of them, that's what's in them."
This seems deceptively simple for a multi-media property that generated a whopping $32 million a year at the time of Schulz's passing in 2000.
But before he left us, Schulz spoke about what he hoped to leave us, and the answer was in line with his cartoon avatar's outlook.
"I like to leave people with a little something every day if I can. How long does it take to read the strip—three seconds? People race through it, but I think that in that time I like to leave them with something, just a little something."