(Original Publication Date, 26 February 1991)
Panel 1: Shortly after Mike is yelled at for listening into a private conversation, he approaches John about the possibility of getting his own phone. This is stupid of him because John is a notorious tightwad when it comes to spending money on other people's needs.
Panel 2: Mike forgets this when John agrees that having his own phone upstairs would save a lot of hassles.
A responsible father would then say "But as long as you have a mother with a paranoid dread of you running up a long distance bill that's the GNP of Guatemala and also talking to THAT GIRL, that ain't happening."
Panel 3: Since John ain't one of them, we see Mike getting strung along. When the giddy idiot asks if John is willing to install a separate phone line upstairs, Arsebucket Troll Dad says "Absolutely."
Panel 4: We then see where Mike gets being an insensitive asshole from when John holds up a length of string and tells a fuming son that he attaches it to each of the tin cans he's holding.
Summary: What we see here is Lynn blanking out on what a dad joke is supposed to be. For all of her love of her father, she's kind of terrible at understanding what makes fathers tick. John should be making a vaguely lame joke about how Mike is going to be paying for this phone line thereby making it the first strip in which John gets all smug and jerkish when he expects kids to pay for their own stuff.