SPEAK Season 2 Episode 7: Funny Guy

Doug Garrow: untitled page from Doug’s sketchbook

Rachel: Hi, I’m Rachel Gray

Debbie: and I’m Debbie Ratcliffe. Welcome to SPEAK!

Rachel: SPEAK is artists with developmental disabilities, telling their own stories.

Today on the podcast, Fin, who is our assistant producer on this episode, and I will be interviewing Doug Garrow.

Doug has been at BEING for many, many years. He’s a pillar in the community with a unique energy and sense of humor.

His warmth really stood out to me when I first came to BEING. Let’s let Doug introduce himself.

Doug: This is Doug. This is Doug! I like the people who work in the sewers. I like the dog in the bathtub. I like policemen. I like the nurses and I’m 67’s fan.

Rachel: And why are you a 67’s fan?

Doug: Cause the 67’s play at TD Place downtown and on Bank street.

Rachel: And do you play hockey, Doug?

Doug: Nope, no way. I would never play hockey. I’m not a hockey fanatic, like other people are. I’m sorry, but I don’t, I don’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want to get penalties like that. Forget it.

Rachel: So could you tell us a little bit about your artwork?

Doug: I can show you right here.

Rachel: Fin and I sat with Doug around a table while he took us on a tour of his sketchbook. The first picture Doug showed us was a drawing of a fire engine, an enormous vehicle with many wheels and wavy lines.

Doug: I see a fireman like me when I was a little kid. My grandpa was a fire chief. My neighbor was a fire chief. So I think of a fireman everyday when I go out for walks, I think of them. I live right near to a firehouse and I hear them every night when I go to bed.

Rachel: Do you admire firefighters?

Doug: Yes, I do.

Rachel: What do you admire about them?

Doug: They go to burning homes. They go to accidents. They go to everything. I don’t.

Rachel: The next image was a pencil drawing of the Civic hospital.

Doug: It says “The Civic” where I stayed in when I had my surgery done.

Rachel: Yeah. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

Doug: Scary. I would recommend to anybody who goes in there not to be scared. Just get it done. It’s easier. That way, sort of. You’re not alone. Your friends are at the hospital. Don’t be scared of them. Just try to be normal. It’s good to be normal instead of being afraid of it.

Rachel: Have you been to the hospital many times?

Doug: Yes. For, for panics and hernias, like so many things hurt and you have to get it off right on you. Can’t like, and, and you just want to go and get it done with that’s all you want to do, achieve your goals better, sort of not cheapen them.

This is my niece playing with skipping rope.

Rachel: Can you talk about your niece?

Doug: I’m proud of her for doing her schoolwork. I love her schoolwork. This is my nephew when he plays with this hat on.

Rachel: So Doug is showing me a picture, I think, of his niece and nephew. Is that right?

Doug: Yes, I am.

Rachel: And they’re wearing plaid shirts and they’re both smiling. Yeah. And you keep them in your wallet.

Doug: Yes. I see them every day when I go home, too.

Rachel: Why do you like having them in your wallet?

Doug: Because it’s safer for me to have things in my wallet that matters to me, sort of.

Rachel: And what does your artwork mean to you?

doug: Love and respect. Respect other people’s artwork. Don’t like…

Fin: What do you like the most about making art?

Doug: Making people happy, making them proud. I was trying to think people laugh and I’m funniest guy in all the world.

Fin: Do you think you’re the funniest guy in the whole world?

Doug: Yeah. Sometimes when you, and you’re laughing with someone, it’s good to laugh with them.

Rachel: Sometimes on SPEAK we feel a little bit like investigators. We spend a lot of time listening and thinking, trying to find the right question or the right artwork to open up the story. After chatting with Doug and taking a tour of his sketchbook, we felt like there was a piece missing, a piece around who Doug is in the community here, the truly unique way he moves through the world and brings people together.

So we started interviewing artists at BEING about their relationship with Doug.

Julie: He’s a very special friend of mine. He has a way of blurting out funny jokes, and this is what I love about Doug and he’s very funny. I do like it’s art because art has, uh, I find his art art more like a jokester because sometimes his art is always funny because Doug has, has lots of things to say about his thinking.

So I, I find his paintings, um, it’s more like a, some sort of expressive color.

He’s an amazing human being and he’s such a special, good friend of ours.

Frances: Doug is very, he’s a very energetic and, and fun artist to be around. He loves, he loves his, he loves his nature walks. He also likes bouncing on his exercise ball it the Zoom calls. He, he just, he just likes to, he likes to joke around with people he’s, um, very energetic. Yeah. He’s always happy. He really, I think he really likes to, he really likes meeting people and, and really realizing everybody’s potential. He has a radiant smile right when he walks into the room

Debbie: Doug is, um, strong. Doug’s funny. He is amazing. I like his route work a lot. He’s a survivor. He had open heart surgery and he made it through. We’re passing colors and I’m, I’m thankful that he’s here with us.

Bing Cherry: I have known Doug and then I’d say 10, 11 years. And, um, he’s an amazing artist. He loves to draw stick figures, stick animals. And over the years, I’ve had the luxury to see him improve what used to be, just stick people over the years she’s learned to draw around an outline. I like Doug because he’s a down earth, normal kind of cool guy. He, he likes, he likes the center of attention. If something stresses him or makes him nervous, he’ll just back out, walk around a bit, and then come back to try to get through it again. And he’s such a nice person, gentle, gentle nature, and he appreciates anybody who takes the time to appreciate him.

Rachel: So, Doug, I always ask people when they’re on the podcast, if there’s anything that, um, they want people to know about them that they want to share.

Doug: I’m really funny. I’m really talented. I like being an artist and I like making people laugh.

Rachel: It’s really hard to capture someone’s sense of humor. You can’t force it. Humor can be shy and sometimes you just have to wait, get comfortable and hope you’re somehow around for it. But we did try some things to catch Doug’s sense of humor, including flipping through a book of knock-knock jokes.

Knock, knock.

Doug: Who’s there?

Rachel: Allie.

Doug: Allie, who?

Rachel: Allie, alligator.

Doug: *guffaws* Uh, Ooh, knock, knock.

Rachel: Who’s there?

Doug: I don’t know! Knock, knock.

Rachel: Who’s there?

Doug: Nobody, that’s who! That’s pretty good.

Rachel: It’s pretty good. Fin, can you make up a Knock Knock joke?

Fin: Hmm, I need to think… Knock, knock

Rachel and Doug: Who’s there?

Fin: Icy.

Rachel and Doug: Icy who?

Fin: I see you!

*general laughter erupts*

Rachel: It’s pretty good.

We also asked Doug to sing.

Doug: *operatically* Row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Rachel: Wow. That was really beautiful for four minutes.

Fin: That’s a great version.

Doug: *resumes singing* Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Throw Rachel overboard and listen to her scream!

Rachel: Would you rescue me?

Doug: Yes, I would.

Rachel: SPEAK is hosted by

Debbie: Debbie “The Dragon” Ratcliffe;

Rachel: Produced and co-hosted by Rachel Gray, episode music by Bucko.

Debbie: Our a consulting editor is Allie Graham

Rachel: Our mix editor is Jamie McDonald.

Special, thanks to Julie Fletcher, Francis Lobe, and Big Cherry for sharing their thoughts about Doug.

Rachel: Thanks for listening!

Doug Garrow is a funny guy. If you don’t believe him, ask his friends or look at his art. His jokes shine through and his sunny attitude is guaranteed to lift your mood.

The music for this episode was composed by Bucko.