This past weekend, my wife was feted at our neighborhood's annual Winterfest holiday arts and crafts celebration. On posters placed strategically at intersections and heavy-traffic areas, her name was listed first on a list of attractions that included handmade jewelery and knitted ornaments. She was described as "local artist/cartoonist." We had some fun discussing this categorization. Isn't "cartoonist" a subset of the larger group "artist?" The celebrecogniton was the bottom line, and she made the most of her moment in the December sun.
It also got me to thinking about how I might be perceived. Most recently, I suspect, I would be known as "husband of local artist/cartoonist." It's a label I am comfortable with for certain times of my life. It's a nice spear-carrier position. Other times I feel better being "computer teacher," "Mister Caven," or simply "teacher" for Kindergartners who are still trying to remember the names of all the kids in their classroom, let alone the guy they see once a week for fifty minutes. At school I have a number of very specific titles, including "Academic Liaison," "Site Technologist," and "EEIP Teacher." That last one suggests that I teach a room full of EEIP's, but it's an easier job to fund.
At home I'm mostly "Dad," though every so often I recognize my first name and respond. When something gets misplaced, I become "Finder of Lost Objects." Then there's always my house title of "Guitar Hero: Medium." When I'm hanging around the house alone with my dog, I become "The One With Opposable Thumbs" who can open and close the front door.
The fact that I have all of these epithets is some measure of how far I've come as an individual. It also made me remember being in sixth grade and being asked to lead a group of classmates in a cartooning class. I got the gig because one of my friends recommended me to my teacher because I was a "good drawer." After all these years, that's the one that sticks in my mind. My wife may be "local artist/cartoonist/author," but I'm still a good drawer.