(Strip Number 1484, Original Publication Date, 20 September 1989)
Panel 1: We can tell time has passed, since Michael, Gordon and Lawrence are now wearing long sleeve shirts and jackets, when they were wearing short sleeve shirts and no jackets just yesterday. Seeing Gordon wearing a redneck hat and mirror shades while he is standing outside has caused Michael to laugh so hard he has to hold his stomach. I think this is what Lynn did to let the reader know something funny was happening before she went to the sticky-out tongue laughing. It’s either that or Michael is laughing because Gordon says he is using them for H.A. (pun on the laughing word “Ha”?) Sometimes I think I need H.A. protection when we get a really bad pun for the punchline.
Panel 2: Gordon explains that Allyson Creemore is now categorized as a life-threatening object who emits harmful rays. It turns out that we humans do actually emit harmful radiation, but a redneck hat or mirror shades will not prevent it from getting to you.
The main emitter of these is potassium-40. Potassium-40 is a naturally occurring isotope of potassium. It gets taken up by plants (some of which have a higher affinity for it than others), and when we eat the plants we incorporate it into our bodies.
Sleeping next to a person for a year gives you about 1 millirem of radiation. Assuming eight hours of sleep a night, that means a human body gives about three millirem a year of radiation.
Panel 3: Instead of “Look! There’s a bear”, Michael goes for, “Look! There she is!” I guess she must actually be there or the next panel would have Gordon saying, “That’s not Allyson Creemore. That’s a bear. AAAAGH!!” Interestingly enough, Lawrence, who had no ears in Panel 1, suddenly sprouts them in Panel 3 and we have motion lines by his head to go along with that bizarre ear-sprouting. Weird.
Panel 4: Gordon chews the coil off his scribbler which Lawrence thinks is hilarious, or rather I should say Lawrence is letting the reader know that it is hilarious. I don’t know why Gordon even bothers carrying bound paper at this school, since everyone else seems to like to carry those giant sheaves of loose paper. I guess this yet another one of those situations where Lynn Johnston is trying to show that Gordon is an outcast as he is the only one who has a scribbler. As for the scribbler:
What it means: Notebook
Where they say it: New Brunswick, and elsewhere in the Maritimes (Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (PEI))
So how did Lynn Johnston pick up this slang term? I don’t think she has lived in any of those places. Is she willing to adopt Canadian slang terms from any part of Canada as a part of her patriotic and nationalistic tendencies? Does she have no standards?
Summary: It’s funny when someone bites through paper. The classic case: