And she has to make a crack about John's grocery-shopping habits. And I feel bad for Phil: he's basically Glenn Holland now. When he was first introduced in the strip, he was playing trumpet in a (jazz?) band, in clubs. Gradually, he drifted into teaching, and now that's his career. Steady work, yeah, but will the world ever hear his opus? And it's kind of a shame that April never got any instruction from him. Phil did try to teach Mike, but Mike was a smartass, so Phil gave up. Rather angrily, too. In the days when one could get angry at a Patterson. Anyway, I'm not convinced that talent can really be inherited the way eye color is inherited. Phil had zero influence on April, so how can she have gotten it from him?
Also, I'm remembering that years ago, when Jim was teaching April the harmonica, he was regretful that when his kids became teenagers, they no longer appreciated his music. (There was a very flattering sketch of circa-1963 Elly with a flip, which didn't quite jive with Elly's laments that she was a dog as a teenager.) But Phil aspired to be a musician, so you'd think that would have appeased Jim. Except, not, because whoever wrote that sequence had basically forgotten Phil's previous incarnation.
And she also has to make her gratuitous comment about April and her friends being savages. And quite honestly, I'm glad to hear that the house is "chaotic". For a long time, I felt bad for April, having to live in that sterile house that was no longer a hooooooooooome. And we're told that Mike actually visits the homestead, and of course Elly's metaphor has to do with food.
And see? Connie's glad her mom went fast! Why can't they cut Jim loose? Hasn't he suffered enough? And Elly, your journey is NOT OVER. Still, I bet John's glad to be acknowledged for a change.
John: Jeez, he starts right out pontificating about fall weather? And the second para is about The Little House With The Big Yard. Which is now owned by a retired railroader? Okay, I'm getting the feeling that John has never talked to the guy. I was going to say that the house does not exist, but he's shown it to Elly. Still, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that all he's been doing is staring at it, while creating a world in his head, where he's surrounded by trains and guys dressed in engineer uniforms, and his little people come alive and talk to him, and meanwhile, the owner looks out and sighs, "Doc Patterson's out there again...but the cops told me they can't do anything unless he becomes violent."
Third para: more trains. Fourth para: aging. And we FINALLY get a mention of Jim! Which makes me wonder: Is Elly as delusional about John being helpful as John is delusional about the LHWTBY? And Mike about being a caring parent? Or is it simply a matter of, as someone said last month, the people who write these letters not checking in with each other? And we finally get some concrete info about Jim's condition. Can't hardly talk. Shoot, so he can't even tell his family to get bent.
And then we veer off into dentist talk. Have we settled on Everett now? And he's engaged: guess the glamour shot of Liz didn't impress him. And HEE! John says ironing is "wonderfully mindless": his exact words twenty years ago, which got him a measuring cup hurled at his head! I wonder, though, how much bloody ironing the Pattersons really have to do. He makes it sound like each and every item they own requires ironing. I only have a few blouses that have to be ironed, and a few of Cookie Monster's shirts. Not a weekly upheaval.
And yes, you should have a talk with Liz. What a freakin' brat. And the house again. And a plug for Anthony. Gee, you don't think that someday soon, Anthony will be calling John "Mr. Dad"?
Liz: Okay, I do not believe that her students are literally putting apples on her desk. If they are, they're probably tainted in some way, with the kids hiding around the corner, snickering and waiting for Miss Fatterson to take a bite and end up with blue ink all over herself. Either that, or Liz is another delusional Patterson.
I would say I'm impressed by her quoting Yeats, except that it's a bit of an overstatement. Liz's center cannot hold because she has never HAD a center. She's still emotionally an adolescent. And of course, it's outside forces that are causing all this upheaval. NOT her own crack-brained decisions. And I wish she WOULD get lost in the grass or eaten by a passing dog.
So let's go down the list. You're living at home again because you CHOSE to. (Sorry about all the caps; I have to rush this.) If your mother is STILL menopausal, she should have seen a doctor years ago. Frankly, I think she's just old; menopause is no longer an excuse. April is NOT pubescent. She's 15, not 12, and a well-adjusted teenager. You just can't deal with the fact that she's in your spot. And you dropped that subpoena reference in there to shut us up as usual. And you are soooooo perceptive to realize that Granthony might possibly maybe perhaps have a tiny bit of feelings for you sort of. Your "current love", which makes him sound like Reddy Kilowatt, is several hours away because again, you CHOSE to move away from him. And your cat...should not be your cat. You're not stable enough to have a pet. You don't give her the attention she needs; you think she exists for you. And how, may I ask, does the hospitalization of a guy you never see, affect YOU?
And then you list all the positives. Only, they seem to be mostly the negatives, reworded! And "don't have to cook for yourself"? Check your dad's letter. And I repeat, WHAT STRESS? And a bubble bath? You want a bubble bath? Who are you, Mary Richards? And you are on drugs if you think you learned anything in Mtig. Go take your bath; I hope April throws a toaster in.
April: First of all, I am SICK of this graphic. April is not ten, or whatever age she is in this. She's way past blowing bubbles with her gum and making faces. They can't lack for time to change this, and the other graphics, seeing as how they have time to animate Elly licking her chops and Iris shaking Jim. It always aggravates me, but especially in this case, when April is clearly concerned, in a mature fashion, about Jim (and a lot more so than Mike, according to you guys!)
Anyway. See, that's how people normally react. Preoccupied, not hysterical, but with their outlook changed because someone they care about is in distress. And not using that person's predicament as an excuse to whine about their own lives, either. And what is it with the Pattersons and homemade soup from leftovers? Like the ironing, this is an outdated device.
Again, it's incredible that the person everyone else thinks is too young an' dumb to understand, is the only one who's looking at this realistically. And yes, the worst part IS waiting. For us, too. (Oops, did that sound self-centered? ;)
And we retcon Liz's presence at the hospital. And as far as her and April's regard for each other, I predict that April will find a grudging respect for Liz, who after all, has always been older than her, while Liz will continue to dismiss Apes -- why should that change?
And why doesn't Eva like Becky? Eva sounds like a bit of a cat herself. And Gerald "doesn't care"? What does that even mean? Does he choose all of April's friends for her? And aw, the two people of color have found each other. And why does she even mention that it's a bad idea for bandmates to hook up? She and Gerald have been a couple since day one of 4-Eva.
And Becky's going to perform at school? If she's such a superstar, how is she not in violation of her contract? Still, at least she's not prone to Becky-bashing for the sake of it. And the H is back! ???
Michaelagh: Aw, christ. On the one hand, I'm glad he hasn't finished it already, because that would be unrealistic. On the other, more Patterson whining. And one more built-in excuse to ignore his family. What I do is, I TELL Cookie Monster what I'm working on. Sometimes he makes suggestions, which have been very helpful. Sometimes he's tired of hearing about it. Sometimes he gives me more insight on the guy perspective. But he never feels closed out.
Buh? Can a woman give birth in a kneeling position? I really don't know, so I'm asking. Does she HAVE to give birth ALONE? Is this more evidence of how her husband is an unfeeling bastard, and there are no neighbors within a thousand miles? And is she from the kind of background where she would know how to do this? And did we really have to hear that about the cord and the placenta? I'm...stunned.
More talk about his work. And the apartment. Hey, Mike, I heard about a relative of yours having some medical trouble. Jighm or somebody. And I wonder where you got that about the husband who didn't want or wish for his child.
And sure enough, we get Jim's bio. Which does not compute. When Mike was a kid, he only wanted to hear the gory war stories, and in recent years, I hardly think he sat with Jim by the hour to absorb all this. Well, maybe he got it from Elly. But since when does he listen to her either?
And you and John retrofitted the apartment? Yeah, right. First of all, I would think you'd hire a pro to put in railings and so forth. Second of all, how does he have time to do all this when he's in a shack on the prairie? And I love this para: Women are definitely stronger than we are. Men may have physical strength and men may show courage, but the strength that women reveal in their ability to endure, to support others and to give of themselves makes me feel weak and insignificant. It's like he racked his brain, trying to come up with something positive to say about women, and concluded that the best thing is how well they take care of their men.
And I'm still wondering how Sheilagh is going to "win, or die for" this freedom. A concept, please remember, that was largely unheard of in the era he's writing about. As I've said before, people in the 1940s had a much higher misery threshold than today. And I love how it's okay for the kids to be with Mira when Mike needs them out of sight and hearing. Isn't the attic enough, for potato's sake?
Doormat: Well, they do remember that she has medical know-how when they need someone to do exposition. And of course SHE is the one who called Iris. Mike can't even be arsed to ask his own mom if she needs anything.
Oh, I didn't read far enough. Okay, so Mike handed off some of his freelance stuff. But I thought he couldn't do that??? I thought his career would implode if he didn't accept each and every assignment that landed on him? More like, he changed his story from "I have deadlines [so I have to hide in the attic]" to "I have to run errands for my mom [so I'm going over to Weed's]."
But why in the hell is he doing Liz's work for her? John's right: she is a spoiled brat. And 30 turkeys? That sounds like the kind of things the kids are supposed to do themselves. And what grades is she teaching, anyway? And does she teach art? Art was always a separate subject in my school, and as I said, in-class projects (in grades 1-3) were the kids' responsibility from start to finish. They really are making this up as they go along.
And since when is everything ever under control for you guys? And does Mike really say "Trance-Sit" on a regular basis? That is a bit of a mouthful. But it is Mike saying it. ;) And there's something not right about Lovey (I mean anyone, not just her) having to clean the apartment for the Patterson Juniors. They need to get their stuff together and stop adopting moms.
Iris: For a second, I read "crocheting" as meaning grumpy, not knitting. Anyway, finally, FINALLY, someone gives us the real lowdown on what kind of treatment he's been getting! And of course it's the one who should least have to dwell on it. Though, to be fair, she can hardly be thinking of anything else. Here's to you, Mrs. Patterson.
The Pets: Gee, Shiimsa has a hard time getting Liz's attention! How unusual at the House of Patterson! And why do the (the human Pattersons) take so many baths?