April 13th, 2018


Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Patterson kids do chores. What can possibly go right? Did you guess “nothing”?

(Strip Number 6173, Original Publication Date, 16 April 1989)

Panel 1: Michael appears to be doing battle with or using a vacuum cleaner.  It’s not clear which one he is doing.  The only thing certain is the vacuum is getting the worst of it.

Panel 2: Lizzie has a bucket of water over a sink because it will turn out in panel 7 she is taking that bucket to the toilet to clean the toilet because apparently the Patterson toilets don’t already have water in them.

Panel 3: These are rug beaters.  They do not make the sounds, “BZRNG.  BANG!  WHZZNNGG, GRAK, GRAK,GRAK BZANG”

What Elly really means is that the attachment has a beater bar on it.

Beater bars are commonly misunderstood. Many people mistakenly understand the beater bar to be the rotating brush roll fixed at the bottom of the vacuum cleaner head. This is incorrect, although the misinterpretation is understandable since it is rare to find “traditional” beater bars on modern day vacuum cleaners.

A beater bar is actually a smoothly contoured metal agitator bar that is fixed to the rotating brush rolls in addition to the bristle brushes. Hoover invented this agitator bar in the 1920s to assist with lifting dirt from deep within carpet fibers through a vibrating action created when the beater bar rotates.  The beater bar beats the carpet to vibrate it and loosen the dirt whilst the vacuum’s suction draws the air and dirt up and the brushes sweep and groom. Hence Hoover’s long time marketing slogan “It beats, as it sweeps, as it cleans“. Hoover regularly used this invention in their sales pitch noting that other cleaners used only suction and brushes whilst only their Hoovers were able to provide an additional vibrating action.

Either Lynn’s language is old or it has been a really long time since she operated a vacuum cleaner.

Panel 4: Elly announces to Michael that the cord of the vacuum is going to break unless he moves the cord to another plug.  I don’t think I have ever had a vacuum cord break due to hitting the end of the cord length.  What usually happens for me is the plug pulls out of the socket and the vacuum loses power.  So this is two panels in a row where I doubt Lynn has done any vacuuming recently.

Panel 5: Blue cleanser means our colourist has decided that we are probably dealing with Ajax, the blue dot cleanser, even though the bottle says, “Klean Shine”.  It now appears that Elly is doing her usual business with the kids and chores, where she doesn’t show them how to do it.  She shows them how they are doing it wrong.  I am sure Elly gets a certain degree of emotional satisfaction in knowing that she is smarter and more experienced than her children, but maybe things would have gone better if she took the time to teach them how to do this stuff. 

Panel 6: Now we have hit a “camera in my house” moment for me.  I have had clean laundry wrecked by someone putting something dirty in with it.  When that happened I did not unhinge my jaw and scream and likewise, my elbows did not suddenly extend below my waist line.

Panel 7: Now we have hit a “This never happened to me because it is disgusting” moment for me.  Even as a kid I knew what went into toilets and I had no desire to play with my toys in a toilet.

Panels 8 and 9: John walks in and delivers the lines that say:

  1. I really don’t know my wife at all

  2. I must be stone cold deaf if I didn’t hear Elly yelling and screaming over the last 5 panels.

  3. I have not learned to stay away from Elly when she is bug-eyed with a coffee cup in her hands.

  4. He does not appreciate how tiring it is to yell at the kids for doing things wrong without breaking down and giving them actual instruction.

Summary: Those who can do, do.  Those who can’t do, teach.  Those who can’t teach, yell at those who can do.