(Original Publication Date, 20 September 1990)
Panel 1: As John works on his train layout, Mike starts to panic and shrieks that he can't believe that Mom is expecting! How and why did this horrible thing that ruins important lives (such as his own and his own alone) take place? Why is it distressingly obvious that it's a week after "Not by us" and he just found out right the Hell now from Lawrence?
Panel 2: We get a strong hint as to why he's out of the loop when John's answer is a brusque and distracted "These things happen." A better man would have told his children earlier and not acted as if Mike is a distant cousin or if Elly had a mild stomach ailment.
That being said, it doesn't matter how John explains it. This is because we see the return of the jabbering dupe who's convinced that his mom deliberately became a folk-singer in the late sixties with the singular intent of getting him teased as he thought-bubbles about the horror of his mother in a maternity dress and how scruffy idiot boys who don't God-damned matter will supposedly react.
Panel 3: The gloomy muttonhead continues to obsess over the fact that he'll be embarrassed completely and irrevocably as the only people in the world who matter will laugh at him and he can't fight back. It matters not that most people would be happy for him and family, damaging cretins he should avoid and ignore might mock him because Elly's in a maternity dress so this is a tragedy.
This, as we know, is why he treats Martha in the disgraceful manner he does: the possibility of being razzed by four apes who don't matter worth shit matters more than the praise of a whole school that would think he's a cool dude for having a girlfriend.....because he wants to feel bad all the time and won't admit it.
He also ain't going to admit that Gordie and the boys ain'ta gonna care one way or another because he's not good at understanding what he should be worried about. If they don't react as expected, we're gonna get him hollering about how they should mock him.
Panel 4: Mike does something in response that shouldn't astonish John at all when he yells "How could you do this to me?"
Summary: Paranoid dread about his own mistreatment can only be in the full bloom it is here when it's accompanied by a leafy-green background of indifference to how other people might be affected. That's what tomorrow's strip is for.