(Original Publication Date, 28 August 1991)
Panel 1: As she pours his coffee, Elly has the pious closed eyes of being huffy and judgmental when she wants John to promise her that there'll be no fanfare, no party and no celebration.
Panel 2: She wants to accept her fortieth birthday with dignity and reserve. (Translation: she wants to lick her wounds like a sulking and self-pitying fucking nitwit because she IS a sulking and self-pitying fucking nitwit.)
Panel 3: That evening at her fortieth birthday party, we find her glowering in horror because all of her friends are there, she's wearing a novelty T-shirt that says "Over The Hill" because they wanna take the piss when faced with a maniac who's convinced that she's about to keel over dead of rampaging senility and Connie is making a sarcastic remark about cancelling the stripper.
Summary: The reason Lynn and Elly fail to realize that they're happy for her is that her raging self-hatred makes her want and need to believe that people are shaming her for being old instead of being glad she's still around. She wants to feel bad so they must want her to feel bad.