January 13th, 2012

Snarky Candiru2

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Today's strip asks the question "Can an insensitive dick and a humorless old moo stay married and not have crap happen?" The answer is "No."

(Strip Number 4277, Original Publication Date, 15 January 1983)

Panel 1: We find John and Elly in bed; as he tries to get some sleep after a hard day's work, he has to listen to Elly talk about how there's something about a New Year that makes you want a change.

Panel 2: She then asks him "Wouldn't you like to wake up one morning, John...and find that your world was suddenly different....more exciting?"

Panel 3: His reply? "Sure. Are you planning on moving out?" She, to put it mildly, is pissed.

Panel 4: We next see him after Elly smacks in on the head with a pillow and storms out of the room; he thought-bubbles that a true comedian must be prepared to suffer for his art.

Summary: It's not just comedians that must suffer; heedless idiots like John who never get it through their thick heads that their wives can't laugh at their own follies suffer also. His coping device for dealing with a woman who expects him to know what she's thinkng but doesn't care to know what's on his mind is somewhat.......defective.

I'm not even sure what to say...


This guy is sick. And it frightens me to think that there are people who take him seriously.

Sorry I didn't get back earlier; I was working all day.

Relevant quote: In these personal soap operas, the person in question is a victim of social forces, circumstances or personal limitations that are beyond his or her control (supposedly) and are preventing him from living a fully satisfying life.

And when April sighed "Nothing's going to be the same" and "My room's smaller, an' I have to share the can with my folks" about the Housening, she was having an emotional fit. And there was no reason for her to still be holding some resentment six months later, when she refused Elly's Cheapie Weenie Casserole. Except she really didn't have any control over her circumstances. But I guess she was supposed to "claim happiness" by just making up her mind to be happy.

This guy's agenda is pretty clear: he wants every kid and teenager to have the upbringing he had. What I wonder is, though, does he really think he's helping the current generation(s), or is he sticking it to them?

From what I've pieced together, it went approximately like this. He either never knew his dad or the guy left very early. At any rate, we're probably looking at some abandonment issues. (Oops, psychobabble.) Then until age, I think, eleven, he was the only child of a single mom. Which must have some influence on his belief that "Your life should not revolve around your child..." Okay, fair enough-- "...but your child's life should revolve around you." Wai, wha? So the kid is supposed to have more of an emotional investment in the parent, who should always put hirself first, then their partner if any, then their job...So the kid will always be giving more than he gets. And this is supposed to build character.

And it's always "center of attention" and "revolve around". Because there's no middle ground between that and being completely ignored and disregarded. There should be plenty of room for healthy, non-spoiled, non-attention hogging interaction with parents and other family members. I guess we're supposed to read between the lines and imagine this happening between sessions in the Box of Punishment.

Anyway, when he was eleven, stepdad comes in. Apparently abused mom, didn't abuse our guy, unless you think having to watch his mom getting beaten would be traumatic. Probably a lot of denial, which would fit in with this column: if you don't think about it, it's not happening. And this may explain why he is so insistent that children should be "relegated to the proverbial backseat" when a parent remarries, adding such helpful hints as "Do not allow her to interrupt or invite herself into your conversations." He may have gotten a real Mr. Freeze reception from his stepdad in just that way.

He also says that when he got in trouble as a kid/teen, he was not allowed to give explanations or excuses, because "There are no excuses." And now he says "All children are bad; they misbehave because they are bad." He's also said that at some point in high school, he lived with his dad, who gave him his own apartment and no boundaries. And this is how he knows children need, want, crave boundaries, because why else would he have begged his mother and stepfather to let him come home to their rules and restrictions. Uh, I can think of a pretty good reason why: it was that or juvie, perhaps real jail.

And I think that was the basis for his idiotic "long rope" policy, as shown in the apocrypha about the seventeen-year-old guy whose parents gave him a car, and basically sat back and waited for him to eff up so they could take the car away and teach him a lesson. I think the real crime was that he was disengaging from them, choosing friends they didn't approve of, and ceasing to seek out their company. (Again, I think he may resent any teenager whose parents want to be on good terms with them.) Finally, dad found a roach in the ashtray, and he and mom set up almost a boiler-room scheme. Tell the kid you're going to be very generous: you won't call the cops on him (for the remnants of one joint), and you won't have his car impounded and him sent to jail. Oh, but you might have to send him to rehab...What's that? You're begging us to only sell the car? Why, I think we can manage that, since we're such cool people. And he gets a job and earns a car and it's the best lesson he ever could have learned.

So I think our guy was in a similar situation: a night in jail broke his spirit, and he begged to come back to the place he'd hated. Okay, so in the end he got a degree and a job; yay. I'm not convinced that that's something you want to set up on purpose. Yes, if you're one of the all-knowing parents in these made-up anecdotes, you always know the perfect moment to yank on the rope before permanent damage is done. So the parents knew the kid was toking up, but how did they know how long to bide their time? What if he'd gotten arrested while they were waiting to pounce? As rebellions go, smoking weed is about the most innocuous suburban-white-boy action I can think of. But not every teen is going to get into these neat and predictable situations that the parents can effortlessly control. Suppose his new habit was drinking, and driving afterwards, because if someone else drove, they'll know I've been drinking (teen guy logic, or just teen logic)? What if that car was Makeout City for him, and a girl gets pregnant, or files sexual assault charges? And what would be so wrong with telling the kid to earn a car in the first place? It IS important to learn the value of hard work. It's not so important to learn the value of being jerked around.