We like to cheer on the underdogs because their fortune is a kind of reassurance that there is, in fact, a way to beat the odds and succeed. The Pattersons encounter a few underdogs and it’s not always obvious who they are. Here are five of the most loved characters who we either didn’t expect to succeed, or whom we didn’t really think of as underdogs right away.
After the cut it’s number One:
#1. Gordon Mayes
One of the things about children in abusive homes that almost never gets talked about is the fact they often don’t have the same kinds of opportunities that other children have. For the most part, those children know that their home situation isn’t ideal; especially when contrasted with those of their friends.
My comment: Doing an internet search I discovered that there are many articles talking about kids who had “emotionally” abusive parents and were unaware of it. However, I found nothing on kids who had “physically” abusive parents where they were unaware of it. I don’t think this comment really applies to the story of Gordon Mayes. If anything this would apply best to the Patterson family and also to the family of Connie Poirier. However, I think the real question here is whether a child who is abused has less opportunities than a child who is not abused. Wouldn't that be more related to family wealth and education?
Gordon doesn’t talk much about how it is at home, but through various strips, we infer that his father hits him a lot and his parents are not on the best of terms. Luckily for Gordon, he’s got access to a supportive community. At 19, he moves away from home and into the flat on top of the local garage. With the help of his friends, he moves in and is able to score an old couch that Mike’s parents are throwing out. Gordon doesn’t much care about the state of the couch because he didn’t have one to begin with.
Gordon scores a couch for his flat atop the Daly’s Garage
Gordon’s story arc, shows us a young man determined to make a life for himself that he can be proud of and through hard work, trustworthiness, and determination, he ends up not only the new owner of Ray Daly’s Garage, but marries his high school sweetheart, Tracey, and opens up a cafe as well.
My comment: Where to start? This writer seems to be unaware that Gordon’s main money comes from car sales and the café is not much more than a couple of booths in a convenience store. The writer also seems to be unaware that Gordon’s success has a lot to do with the financial investment of Dr. John Patterson.
Is Gordon an underdog? He does have a story moment with an abusive parent and we can assume that perhaps there were other moments not shown in the comic strip. However, Gordon is gifted with a “perfect” girlfriend/wife made just for him by his creator. Gordon scores a job and a place to live before he graduates from high school and finds a financial investor in John Patterson to keep his place going which eventually makes him filthy rich. Gordon may be an underdog, but he gets gifts that most underdogs do not get.
The most important part of Gordon is that Lynn Johnston relates him to how she sees herself. Gordon was abused by his father like she was abused by her mother. Gordon worked hard and was rewarded for it, just as one of Lynn Johnston's core beliefs (that she expressed to Jan Wong in the Lunch With Jan Wong book) was that it is easy to be rich as long as you work hard and charge a fair price. Gordon Mayes seems to be aware that he was gifted based on his constant acknowledgment of John Patterson's financial investment. Lynn Johnston is not as aware as Gordon is.