You got it. Same date as today eighteen years ago. The New Yorker was then located uptown on 42nd Street. I was driving in from Westchester when the planes hit but never made it because all entrances to Manhattan were sealed off. I went home and watched the towers fall and felt sick and remembered that my mom, Mollie was really, really sick. She lived in Queens at that time and was sick unto death which would soon come, but she was still at home and quite out of it on pain killers. She didn’t have long to go and I didn’t have anywhere to go so I went to see her. She was watching the endless replay on TV of the planes hitting, the towers falling, the planes hitting the towers falling when I got to see her. I said, “Mom this is terrible”. She said “Yes, terrible, but thank God no one got hurt.”
I laughed and never told her. She didn’t need any more pain.
Now, maybe I shouldn’t have laughed but I don’t regret it. Laughter after all is a kind of breathing and breath is life. At The New Yorker we had the wind knocked out of us so we decide there would be no cartoons in the next issue, except this drawing by George Booth which even though it has the form of a cartoon is really a lamentation.
But the week after we did start running cartoons. This was the first one by Leo Cullum:
It made the simple point that where there’s life there’s laughter. Then, now, always, come what may.
Yours in Good Humor,