In the last decade or so, popular culture seems to have caught up with what many of us have known for a long time: there’s something altogether not right about Garfield. Maybe it’s because the comic strip was created completely devoid of any substance whatsoever that looking too long at Garfield is like opening a door into the abyss. Take the webcomic garfield minus garfield for example. It’s just Garfield comic strips with the character of Garfield removed. It’s terrifying. Removing the fat orange cat takes it from a hokey newspaper comic to a level of fear and dread usually reserved for French existentialist novels real fast.
Speaking of France, Garfield, and searching for meaning in a chaotic and uncaring universe, the residents of France’s Iroise Coast know the fat orange menace all to well. For almost 40 years, Garfield telephones have been regularly appearing on the picturesque beaches, seemingly out of nowhere. In 2018 alone, there were over 200 Garfield parts found on the shore. Is there anything quite as disturbing as plastic Garfield phones continuously appearing? No matter how many the residents pick up and throw away, they just keep coming. That smug smile all cracked and weathered with it’s unblinking, unrelenting gaze. It’s like a cheap 20th century version of Poe’s The Raven, and I salute the people of France for not having been driven to madness.
But now, at long last, the mystery of the mysterious Garfield phones has been solved.
The novelty phones have been such a staple of the beaches on the Iroise coast, that the Ar Viltansou anti-litter group made them a symbol for their beach cleaning campaign. Once the pictures of the phones had been plastered all over the area, a local farmer named René Morvan came forward to say he saw one of the first Garfield phones wash ashore in the early ’80s. And he knew where they were coming from.
Vous vous souvenez des téléphones #Garfield ? Après le premier article de @CaBelingard pour #AlertePollution, les langues se sont déliées et un agriculteur a permis de retrouver le conteneur échoué https://t.co/ru7MDssTCY (avec le bon @ cette fois-ci 🙃) pic.twitter.com/q2wtgyXQKX
— Thomas Baïetto (@ThomasBaietto) March 26, 2019
It had been suspected that a shipping container, perhaps lost in a storm, or perhaps stowed away like pirate’s booty by a rabid Garfield fan, was to blame for plastic pollution. But there was no proof and no way to track down the hypothetical shipping container. And then René Morvan confessed the dark secret he’d been harboring all these years: he knew the source of the Garfields. He’d always known the source of the Garfields. They were, in fact, coming from a shipping container. The container had been wedged into a deep grotto, only accessible at low tide. Morvan says:
“We had to really know the area. We found a container that was stranded in a fault, it was open, a lot of things were gone, but there was a stock of phones. At the time, there were a lot of things that came to us from the sea.”
Whether Google Translate is making that quote sound more ominous than necessary is unknown.
Members of the beach cleaning team and a group of journalists went searching for the shipping container and eventually they spotted more and more intact Garfield phones, signaling that their long war against Garfield was finally coming to a close. Or was it?
The remains of the shipping container are now inaccessible, buried deep in a submerged cave. Near the area, large quantities of broken novelty plastic and electronics remain between in rocks and tangled beneath the water. Despite how funny it is, it’s an absolute ecological nightmare. And it seems that there’s not much more that environmental group can do except pick up the pieces of Garfield as they find them. They have solved the mystery, but Garfield yet remains.