Usually, when I have to go to the mall, there's so much noise and commotion that I sort of retreat into my head. I grew up in Iowa, so unless a crowd is mooing or clucking, I'm a little uncomfortable. But one day while waiting for my coffee, I couldn't help overhearing, "Tom?! Tom, is that you?! You old rascal, I thought you were dead!" Both parties laughed heartily at what I assumed was some sort of shared inside joke, but it was so odd that I couldn't help turning it over and over in my brain until this cartoon appeared. Maybe I need to listen more closely more often.