(Strip Number 4070, Original Publication Date, 24 September 1981)
Panel 1: As Elly walks by with Barnacle Lizzie in her standard docked configuration, Mike thought-bubbles "I bet it's neat being a grown-up."
Panel 2: He then turns his attention to John reading a bill of some sort and tells himself that his parents can do what they want an'go where they want....they're FREE.
Panel 3: Since he cannot read minds and only has the haziest idea of how the world works, he doesn't see the words "Bills! BILLS!!" floating over John's head nor the words "Cook! Clean! Organize!!" over Elly's.
Panel 4: He then says "It must be nice" out loud.
Summary: I remember being a small child who didn't understand that my parents couldn't do or go where they wanted because they had responsibilities that weighed them down; this lasted until I said as much....the thing is that my older siblings beat my parents to the punch disabusing me of this misguided notion. In any event, what we're seeing here is by no means an example of Lynn saying "How sad it is that innocent little Dot-Eyed, Button Nosed Mike must lose his naivete as he too is weighed down by his responsibilities"; her notes will make it quite clear that she intends saying "How dare the ungrateful little bastard not appreciate how hard his parents struggle." This gets really hard to take when one remembers that Mike grows into a man who forgets that he was this small child who didn't see how hard his parents had it; since the man who sat on his ass long enough to make the Housening seem like a good idea still doesn't have any insight into the world or the thought-processes and concerns of those around him, he'd be alarmed and disgusted if Jon Benet said anything remotely like this in earshot. His reaction to this evil and heretical sentiment would be to remind her that she's in arrears in her payment to the Favor Bank.