(Strip Number 1417, Original Publication Date, 11 February 1989)
Panel 1: Michael apparently believes you have to be a contortionist to tie your shoes. Maybe this is because he is tying his shoe with his eyes closed. Maybe this is because Michael is reminiscing about the simpler life when he hung around with the guys and did his own thing (like being a peeping tom with Lawrence’s sister or looking through the hole in the girls’ shower at camp or putting women’s underwear on the dog). Oh Michael, you are so much better off with Martha than in the days when you were a pervert in the making. Has he forgotten how he went from age 5 to 10 inappropriately chasing after Deanna Sobinski? The thing that has not improved with Martha is shoe-tying. Michael is terrible at tying shoes. Here is a picture of how it should be done:
Panel 2: Still with his eyes closed (otherwise Michael would be aware of Martha sneaking up on him because apparently his ears don’t work), Michael zips his jacket and thinks how his relationship with Martha is something that he needs to “fight it every inch of the way.” Michael is thinking of Martha kind of like an ex-smoker thinks of cigarettes. Michael is thinking of Martha kind of like a WWII soldier trying to advance on the Nazis. Michael is thinking of Martha like Rep. Maxine Waters thinks about Donald Trump. It’s so romantic.
Panel 3: Michael turns and is startled to see Martha. You can tell he is startled because the fingers of his left hand splay out in a gesture of surprise. For some reason only the left side of Michael is startled as his right hand holds steadfastly onto his giant sheaf of paper.
Panel 4: The happy (and much taller) couple walks out holding hands and carrying sheaves as Michael thinks the punchline, “…when I understand it, I’ll fight it.” With Michael Patterson, that is pretty much the same thing as saying, “I’ll never fight it.”
Summary: The moral of the story is that all you need to make up with your man is to look him in the face and stare at him until he gives in. That’s it for Martha who will return in April for Michael’s birthday party, easily the best birthday party in the entire 29 year run of the comic strip.