August 6th, 2019


Thursday, 8 August 2019

(Originally published August 9, 1990)

After a long absence, Martha is back.  This the first time we have seen Martha since May when Elly caught Michael and Martha holding hands in the mall and said absolutely nothing to Michael about it in all the months since then.  That would not have been my reaction.  I would have at least asked what her name was.  And where he met her.  And how long they have been dating.  And where he was getting the money to take her out since I wasn’t giving him anything.  Michael is probably happy that I am not his parent.

Panel 1: Brown hair Martha shows up at the hot dog stand and concludes that David is mad.  Goodbye David.  Martha may know you, but we never will.

Looking at David’s slumping figure and the odd dandruff that seems to be coming from his mouth, I am not sure I would draw the conclusion of “mad” that Martha does.  Depressed?  Scoliosis?  A neurological problem that causes dandruff to come out of your mouth?  Michael says he made him pay for stuff he ate.  This still shows the wrong order.  Money first and then you get the food.  I think anyone who has eaten any fast food in the last 50 years would know that, but apparently that does not include Lynn Johnston. 

Panel 2: In the next three panels, Lynn Johnston’s art will go to old school Lynn, where we have two characters whose head and hands poke in from the sides of the panel with lots and lots of unnecessary dialogue in the middle.  On the upside, Martha’s hair returns to its usual red/blonde combination.  I don’t think we have ever seen Martha’s hair colored correctly.   Hint to the colorist:  She’s not blonde.

Panel 3: Michael talks about how there is no such thing as a free lunch.  The client pays for it or he pays for it.  Martha is loading up her hot dog with mustard while Michael hands her ketchup.  Will Martha take the ketchup?  Martha is clearly a mustard girl, but does she mix her ketchup with her mustard to otherwise pollute a perfectly good hot dog?  We will never know.

Panel 4: The way the joke is set up, you are supposed to think that Michael is breaking his own rules and should now refer to himself as “butt-brain;” however the dialogue does not support that.   It is not against the rules for him to give away stuff for free, if he is paying for the stuff himself.   That’s perfectly reasonable.  What is not so reasonable is the fact that Martha is handing him the money AFTER she has been given the food.  That is what Michael should have learned from dealing with David.  If he had done that in the first place, David might not have left mad.  Not that it matters because we will never see David again.


We have seen this joke in differing forms over the years, most often with Dr. John Patterson being asked dental questions from people who see him in restaurants or at dinner parties.   The problem is that sometimes people want you to do something for them for free if the circumstances are right.  If Michael was working at a Tim Horton’s, David would probably not think of asking for free food.