(Strip Number 5055, Original Publication Date, 05 December 1988)
Etiquette Rule 1: When reading a private note in public, if someone asks you about the contents of said note, reply, “Nothing.” That gives the questioner the clear message that he is not supposed to read the note over your shoulder, or if he does he is to consider there to be nothing on the note paper. Remember never to share a private note with your friends, especially friends that can read over your shoulder.
Etiquette Rule 2: Physical exercise is always to be encouraged when someone correctly guesses (or had read) the private note you were reading in public. On those occasions it is good to tell the person to “take a hike.” Other popular choices are “take a walk” or “go and jump into a lake” or “go fly a kite” or “take a running jump” or “take a flying leap” or “go to hell.” All of those exercises stimulate the body with physical fitness and sometimes eternal damnation.
Etiquette Rule 3: Always ignore a person when he starts speaking 1960s slang like “she’s a bummer, man” unless he is in a production of the musical “Hair” or from Eugene, Oregon.
Etiquette Rule 4: Solemn moments should always be commemorated by taking off your hat. If you have a solemn moment coming up be sure to put your hat on so that you can commemorate it, even if you are inside and it doesn’t make much sense to have your hat on. Note: If you are especially good you can take off your hat and have it in your hand, but convince the colourist that your hat is still on your head, so they will add the hat colour to your head.
Summary: Mike has learned to value Martha above his friends the same as Martha was supposed to do for him. Mike is a model for us all, assuming we are people who don’t want friends.