August 27th, 2019


Thursday, 29 August 2019

(Originally published August 30, 1990)
And now for the dramatic ending to our three-week epic tale of boating.

Panel 1:

“We were starting to worry, Mike.”  It’s at this point I wish some character would say the time, so I could know just how late Michael got back before Elly and John were “starting” to worry.  I suspect it was around breakfast the next day, when they wondered why he wasn’t there for food.  While Elly was starting to worry, John is only interested in how the “boat ride” was.  The boat ride?  Is that what John calls it when you go out on a boat?

Panel 2:
Michael is a master of exposition.  Based on what he is saying, Elly and John could easily jump to the conclusion that Mart’s brother’s behavior was only held in check by the presence of gasoline; and that Martha’s parents were fighting because “Mart’s brother drove us crazy.”  Ergo, it all started with the gasoline.  They could also conclude that the fighting only stopped because of the arrival of the police boat.    They might also be confused by Michael’s choice of a nickname for Martha (“Mart”), and wonder if he is talking about some place to shop. 

Panel 3:
Mike makes a case that for Martha it is nature and not nurture.  She is superior to the genetic material that makes up her family.

Panel 4:
Michael also believes he is superior to the genetic material that makes up his family.  Oh, Michael.  You are so Patterson; and as you get older, you become more and more Patterson.  When it comes to screwed up and dorky, you will make the McRaes seem like angelic models of good behavior. 

Elly looks gobsmacked and John looks angry as Michael compares Martha’s family to their own.   How dare he indicate that there is any family that equals the Pattersons?  Doesn’t he know that he belongs to the finest family there is in this universe?  They are the standard against which all other families are measured and found to be wanting.  Except the Enjos, of course.

Michael has left home and come back home being driven by some other adults and Elly and John do not make even the slightest attempt to talk to the parents who brought their son back so late.  Given Michael’s terrible exposition skills, it might have been a good idea to find out from a clearer and more coherent source what happened.  Well, that is if they really cared what happened, which they clearly do not.  They are angrier that Michael suggested their family is screwed up and dorky, than they are angry at the McRaes for taking their son out on a “boat ride” for which they were significantly unprepared.   This is what we call Patterson parenting priorities.  “You do whatever you want to our children, but don’t insult our family!!”