April 14th, 2006

Saturday, April 15

Tax day! I don't know if anyone here has ever read "Sylvia", but every year, I recall the strip in which The Woman Who Does Everything More Beautifully Than You describes how she, having done her taxes in February, of course, spends April 15th bringing espresso and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls to the poor beleagured post office workers. I once had a can of coffee in a flavor my husband doesn't like (and I don't drink coffee at all). I offered it to the staff at my post office the week of April 15 (not the day itself) and they declined. ETA: D'oh! They're NOT government workers, and never said they were. They just didn't want it! Made them feel on the spot, I guess. Or suspicious.

Anyway, that Sylvia strip was funny. Let's see how today's Foob shapes up.

Panel 1: So, what of it, John? Disappointed that you don't get to say "HA-ha! Elly ran out of things to do!"?

Panel 2: WTF? Is there a car right there in the building? Or is it a model, or a standup or something?

Panel 3: Oh lord, he mentioned Anthony. :::shudder::: And is that the model ship John built? Did Gordon build it? Unlikely, since he just said he doesn't have time for anything. Guess he bought it, simply because that's the kind of thing hotshots have in their offices.

Panel 4: Both the guys look really odd in this. John looks as if he's been in the wilds of Manitoba, losing 40% of his body weight, and Gordon just looks like a troll. And his tie is too short.

Panel 5: John looks rather annoyed that he was outpunned. Or was he? It's a bit ambigous: is it money that disappears faster, or time? IME, not having time actually causes money to disappear. You have to hire stuff done, or buy stuff already made, instead of thriftily doing or making it yourself. Anyway, we all know Gordo is an honorary Patterson, and here he is proving it.

Elly's Arc

To qnjones and others: Watch this space. I don't have time or energy at the moment, but when I do, tomorrow, I'm going to check the collections and see just how Elly has been retconned. Because I honestly think she wasn't always like this. I remember her being very committee-oriented in the mid-to-late '80s, and I KNOW she was jonesing to get back to work after April was born. I want to see if I can pin down the point where she started to turn, from Empowered Elly to No-Ambition Elly. I really believe it's LJ who changed, somewhere along the line, and started preaching A Woman's Place Is In The Home (Where She Still Doesn't Do Anything).

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to comment, have at it! You provided some excellent insight in yesterday's replies.

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Okay, here goes. Book 1, "I've Got the One-More-Washload Blues": Elly's mother tells her, "We've always been sorry you didn't finish university before getting married." We also find out that Elly majored in English. Later, she makes noises about getting a part-time job, so John takes her on as an assistant when Jean takes a week's vacation. And yes, there is a strong sense that she feels if she doesn't work, she's helping keep women in the Stone Age.

Book 2, "Is This 'One of Those Days', Daddy?": Elly gets offended when John buys a $2000 stereo system and justifies it by saying "It's my money". John gets offended when Elly's "night school course is over for the summer" and she goes out without him. (Funny thing is, that's the first time night school is mentioned.)

Elly gets further offended when Ted comes to dinner and compliments John on how good a wife Elly is. Says Elly: "Do you really think women were put on this earth to serve men? We are EQUALS! If I cook and clean it's because I choose to do so -- not because I am subservient!" Ted to John: "You didn't tell me she was 'one of those'."

And we get to see Elly in night school, taking a course in creative writing. "It feels so good to be doing something, thinking again! Accepting a challenge! At last I'm picking up the education I missed. Just wish I knew what I'm going to do with it!"

Book 3, "It Must Be Nice to Be Little": Elly is nervous about her English exam. John reassures her, telling her, "You've worked hard -- and I have tremendous faith in you!...Then again, if you flunk out, it's no big deal." And again, he sulks when she goes out with her classmates without him. Afterwards, Elly tells little Lizzie, "Mommy has her first year English! [thinking] It's nice to talk to someone who doesn't ask 'Now what?'."

Elly puts Lizzie in playcare so she can work for the weekly paper. John is aghast to find that it pays nothing (thus not offsetting the cost of playcare) and asks, "What are you gaining?" Elly: "My sanity." Later, Elly tells Annie, "[John] doesn't care how liberated I get. As long as I'm home by 6." She also points out that she's been working for free for years, and this new position will enable her to "try skills I haven't used in ages...like talking to grownups." (FTR, Elly's column is entitled "Library Corner".)

John discusses this with Jean, saying, "Elly's all excited about this 'job', as she calls it...But I guess she has to get out there and do her bit to prove herself, heh heh!" Jean: "Be careful what you say about working women, Doc...I'm one of them!" Meanwhile, Lizzie is less than ecstatic in playcare, and Elly feels guilty.

Book 4, "Just One More Hug": Elly asks the editor of the paper if she can get paid, at least enough to cover the cost of playcare and gas for her car. She settles for a free subscription and a parking sticker. (Editor to Elly: "Can one really assess the value of our gratitude?")

The family visits The Farm, where Elly becomes the first of the Patterson women be empowered by driving the combine. Uncle Danny justifies her ability to drive it safely on the grounds that "What's out there to hit?" Elly revels in a task where "You don't even have to think!" just before the hired hand tells her "You kin come outa there now, little lady -- this is MEN'S work!" Back home, John tells Elly, "It was nice to see you working for a change!" Elly is insulted, while John insists it was a joke.

Phil and Georgia move in together. Elly is outraged: "If I'd told the folks I was moving in with John before we were married, I'd have been disowned!" She blames this on Phil being male, while he (and John) claim it's because he's younger and times have changed.

Lizzie messes up the bathroom fooling around with Elly's makeup kit. "It was an accident!" -- "Why did I ever have KIDS?" -- "Daddy says it was an accident."

Elly joins an aerobics class with Connie. She also gets hired at the library, for a paying job, thus justifying the newspaper job as a stepping-stone. John is okay with this because Elly's salary will cover the mortgage, and refers to her last days before the job begins as "two days of freedom," while the kitchen is in chaos. And he gets petulant because he has to wait to get into the bathroom in the morning, and make his own lunch. Jean is unsympathetic.

Elly is excited about the job: "It's like a whole brand new door opening up!" John: "I guess I'm jealous. I used to like working...once." Later, she waxes enthusiastic to Connie about how helpful John is being. "I'm telling you, he's wonderful!" -- "You should be telling him!"

Okay, that's enough for now. I'll continue in another post.