It’s a GOOHFy World

You’ve caused a notable effect on cultural consciousness.” — that’s what one of True‘s readers said, one of hundreds and hundreds of you who wrote to say that Mike Peters’ popular Mother Goose & Grimm comic strip featured a “Get Out of Hell Free” card.

True: the GOOHF cards are getting enough circulation now that the concept is getting pretty mainstream. They’re even figuring in TV shows now and then. I dropped Mike Peters a note asking if he’d like some cards, but never heard back from him.

2009 Update

In November 2007, the TV show Reaper featured a Get Out of Hell Free card. Every time that episode re-runs, I get a few dozen emails from readers who spotted it.

The GOOHF card is also an ongoing plot device in the “Secret Six” comic, starting in 2009:

The GOOHF card in Secret Six

And As a Heads Up to DC Comics: the only “genuine” Get Out of Hell Free card is the one that shows a registered trademark and copyright — mine!

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5 Comments on “It’s a GOOHFy World

  1. Sunday afternoon I was at an early Halloween party, and the conversation was rambling around the room when one person mentioned how funny he found the idea of a GOOHF card. And someone else said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be fun to have something like that?”

    Hah! I immediately jumped up, said I should have some with me! What?!?!?!? They really exist?!?!?!? Well, after a few minutes of me saying things like I can’t believe I have two lipsticks and no GOOHF cards I found my stash of them. And I was able to present each and every person at that party with their own card! For this, I was called an amazing woman and also very scary! But I was delighted to initiate the uninitiated.

  2. I’ve always loved your GOOHF cards, but it was visiting your website that gave me a pleasant moment of insight. I’ve always said that I ‘hated’ evangelists, fundamentalists, etc., but reading some of your comments made me realize that I don’t — and I’ve been guilty of stereotyping them.

    What I hate is stupidity, and those who try to force their personal beliefs on others. Not all radical religionists do that — just the obnoxious ones. I should have realized this earlier, because the perpetual fuss over religious displays in public places has made me very aware that atheists can be just as stupid and obnoxious as any fundamentalist. Anyway, thanks for the great writing and thinking.

    I’m glad the site caused you to think about your prejudices, Brian. -rc

  3. After reading some incidents with the GOOHF cards, I thought I might share mine with you. On a recent morning driving to Boulder, I didn’t keep my lead foot in check and a sheriff’s deputy pulled me over for going slightly over the speed limit (73 in a 55). He gave me a verbal warning when he saw that orange card stuck on my dash, and even cracked a smile. However, when he ran me through his computer, it came back with a warrant for my arrest. Thankfully, I didn’t fit the description (I’m older and have a lot less hair). It turns out that there is another with my name, or using it, breaking all kinds of major traffic laws. I’ll bet the impostor doesn’t have a GOOHF card but will need it soon.

    Next time, John, don’t wait — hand the cop a card! 🙂 -rc

  4. A few weeks back, while I was on my shift at Starbucks, one of my customers ordered a drink made with non-fat milk. I asked if she wanted whipped cream on it, and she said, “Sure – I’m going to hell anyway.”
    When I handed her her drink, I also gave her a GOOHF card, and told her “…a little bit of whipped cream won’t matter – you’ve got a free pass.”

    She read the card – twice – and then started laughing uncontrollably.

    Now, whenever she comes in, if she asks for whipped cream (about once every third or fourth visit), she says that she isn’t worried about going to hell anymore – we took care of that for her.

    Fun! -rc

  5. As a response to Brian (unknown location) and stereotyping, here’s an atheist’s view of religious PC:

    There was quite a controversy recently (2005, I think – time blurs these days) about the cross in the official seal of the city of Los Angeles. Apparently this somehow violated the separation of church and state.

    As an atheist I say “B_llsh*t!” LA was founded as a mission, California was settled by missionaries, and the Christian religion plays a large role in the HISTORY of California, as well as of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula (the full name of Los Angeles – roughly translates to the city of our lady queen of the angels, plus some fluff about a river).

    The establishment clause says congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of a religion. It certainly does not say the role of religion in U.S. history shall be ignored.

    Brian doesn’t say whether he’s religious or not, but I’m with him – I’m opposed to those who want to force their beliefs (even if they agree with me) on others.

    There’s only one problem: the official seal of the City of Los Angeles doesn’t have a cross in it. (See illustration on Wikipedia.) It was actually the county seal that was redesigned: “the symbols of a cross and oil towers were removed, prior to a controversial threat made by the ACLU on May 25th, 2004, claiming that cross was a violation of separation of church and state. Pomona and the oil towers were voluntarily removed without references by the ACLU. It now portrays an image of a Native American woman, representing the early inhabitants of the Los Angeles Basin. The stars and an image of the Hollywood Bowl (originally in the middle right column, also where the cross was originally placed) replaced the oil towers. The cross was removed, which was replaced with an image of the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, representing the historic role of the missions in the settlement of the Los Angeles region.” (emphasis added) -rc


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