November 27th, 2017


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Martha has an exercise in self-evaluation that heads in the right direction but doesn’t seem to draw the right conclusion.

(Strip Number 5051, Original Publication Date, 30 November 1988)

Panel 1: Janet persists in asking Martha to be standing by the trophy case to wait for Michael and lies when Martha asks her if Michael will be there, even though she knows that Michael has already said he would not be there.  By tomorrow we will see that Michael is in hiding and enjoying every minute of Martha’s public humiliation, but it does not explain why Janet is setting Martha up for this embarrassment.  As for the trophy case, I see a basketball trophy and a hockey trophy and one other trophy that looks like someone raising an oar above their head (lacrosse?).

Panel 2: Martha suggests that Michael might show up if Janet and Megan are not there.  It’s sort of like they are setting a Michael trap and the hunters are too obvious.  “Go downwind so Michael can’t pick up your scent.”  Janet reminds Martha of her promise to them, the promise she has yet to break, but will break in a few days.  This is the first indication we get that Martha understands that in order to attract Michael, she is going to have to ditch her friends and value her promises to him more than her promises to them.

Panel 3: Now for two panels of thought balloons.  Nothing brings the funny like thought balloons.   Martha feels stupid and is essentially asking why she is going through so much trouble for Michael when there a million guys in the school.  That is actually a very good question and the answer is “This is Milborough, a town where the standards for manliness are so low that Michael Patterson actually is the best guy in school.   Does Martha want Michael or a Milborough mutant?”  Actually Brian Enjo would be a better choice, but thanks to the “Constable Paul Wright and Elizabeth Patterson” story, we know that Lynn Johnston doesn’t do that interracial stuff.

Panel 4: Here is the punchline.  “Why do the simplest questions have the most difficult answers?”  Or as I like to call it, “Lynn Johnston is trying to go all philosophical on us.”  Well, the easiest answer to that one is, “They don’t.”

That said, there are few simple questions that have difficult answers, for example:

1.  Would you rather know when you will die or how you will die?
2.  Would you rather never being able to lie, or never be able to tell the truth?
3.  Would you rather understand any language, or be able to play any instrument?

Summary: Poor Martha.  She seems to understand that any guy would be better than Michael Patterson, but she is trapped as the author moves towards suggesting women should put mistas before sistas or testes before besties or losers before friends get the idea.