(Original Publication Date, 13 February 1991)
Panel 1: Michael is sitting in the back with Gordon and Lawrence, while Martha sits in the front with John. This makes sense. You can’t trust Martha around Lawrence or Michael and you can’t trust Gordon around any girl. Michael asks John to drop him off a few blocks away from the gym because, as we all know, kids would prefer to freeze than to be seen being driven by their parents, even though none of these kids are old enough to drive and none of their friends are old enough to drive.
Panel 2: Michael complains about this and he gets a “Right on!” by Gordon. Suck up! Martha just watches her breath go visible thanks to the cold and maybe she is thinking this would not be happening if her boyfriend had the least consideration for her personal comfort. As for Lawrence, this is the very first time that we have seen him together in the same panel with Martha ever since Michael’s birthday party almost 2 years ago. It is progress that he is able to spend time watching his ex-girlfriend Martha dating Michael and not react, and by progress, I mean that Lynn Johnston has probably progressed to the point where she has forgotten all about it.
Panel 3: Michael continues his lament and he gets a “Yes!” and a “Yeah!” We can’t really tell which of Michael’s friends said this. All we know for sure is that one of his friends can pronounce the word “Yes” properly and the other can’t. It is with great amusement I note that there are other cars at the gym dropping off students for the dance directly in front of the gym, while Michael and his crew appear to be the only ones walking in the cold.
Panel 4: After all this ranting, the final panel joke shows a person out “chip, chip”ing the ice of their windshield while at the same time standing by some jumper cables and a bottle of antifreeze. At least I think they are jumper cables because it looks like these are the kinds of cables that only connect positive to positive or negative to negative, but not both. Oh Lynn Johnston. Couldn’t you be bothered to look at actual jumper cables? See the picture. They have four (4) clips.
Summary: The joke is supposed to be about how car ownership is not as easy as you might expect, stupid teenagers. Unfortunately, the placement of the car in the story raises different questions. Why does this person have their car stranded on the school grounds? They can’t be dropping someone off. They can’t be picking someone up. If they worked at the school, then you would think that any problem they had getting their car out of there would have been resolved much earlier at the end of the school day. Also, if your problem is starting the car, then the windshield is the last thing you fix. As usual Lynn Johnston has to go overboard to make her point. The person can't just be scraping their windshield. They have to have the other items too, or her audience will not get the joke. This is what happens when the author thinks her audience is stupid.