Why is this man angry? Because he sees me drawing him.

I drew this angry dude on a card and mailed it to my friend Reg in the early 90s when I lived in Tempe and he lived in L.A. He just came across it in his stuff. Inside were more drawings (copies), and me saying I had taken up doodling people at the Coffee Plantation that used to be on Mill Avenue. Most of them didn’t notice or pretended not to, I said. A few, like this guy Frank, came over and looked at the drawings and chatted and approved.

But Angry Man here, when he saw me drawing him, “took off his glasses and thrust his face toward me and scowled at me. Then he got up and walked toward me.”

I have a vivid memory of how pointedly he placed his jam knife down, rose from the table, and stomped fast toward me, all the time staring at me, pinched and furrowed. Like he’d been looking for a fight and here it is.

I stayed really calm and pretended not to notice. I moved my hand over his face on the paper and started drawing the t-shirt in the window behind his chair.

This actually worked. From over my shoulder Angry Man saw only the drawing of the shirt and retreated quietly back to his corner.

“Yikes,” I wrote. “Doesn’t he look mean?”

What would I have done if Angry Man had demanded to look under my hand? If he yelled at me in front of all those people? Crumpled like an already-crumpled piece of paper, that’s what.

Here are some of the drawings: