The idea for this comic sprang into my head almost fully formed. I worked at a resort hotel where the children’s entertainment program featured a pirate cruise and a princess tea party, both of which were held at the same time. I watched the pirate pontoon boat sailing off, leaving the bejeweled princesses back on shore and I thought, “What kind of pirates are you?”
The first time I accidentally hit the insert key on my computer, it messed me up for something like an hour. I thought I was going to need a new computer, or at least to reinstall the OS to fix it.
My third car was the first one I ever owned that wouldn’t start unless you pressed in the clutch. For days I was convinced that there was something wrong with the car, because sometimes it just wouldn’t start. The clutch situation was eventually explained to me by a mechanic. He was not particularly nice about it.
Apparently, during the filming of Dune, the men who wore the stillsuits put them on as often as they could and kept them on for as long as possible. It turns out the stillsuits were really flattering, and made the men wearing them feel great about themselves. They’d stand around in the middle of the desert wearing what amounted to a black wetsuit, and they didn’t want to take them off because they looked so studly.
There’s a word I haven’t used in a long time. “Studly.” I think there may be nothing less studly than using the word studly.
Our home used to be mostly carpet with a little tile. It was not a surprise that the cats usually threw up on the carpet.
Now our home is about 50/50 tile and carpet. The cats still mostly throw up on the carpet.
I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something about carpet that makes cats sick.
I’m not exaggerating about the Kingdome. It was a brutalist wart on the face of Seattle. (And please note, I am using the term brutalist properly.) The men’s rooms were exactly as described in this comic, and the only thing that kept 50% of the people who came in from guessing wrong as to which trough they should start with was the fact that there was always a long line of dead-eyed men cycling through, demonstrating which trough was being used for what that day.
At that point in history, the Seattle teams that played in the Kingdome didn’t give their fans a lot of reason for joy or hope.
I don’t know what the ladies’ rooms were like.
Actually, I’m not sure there were any.
In a weird way, I used to view making the comic—and still see writing my novels—as a video game, or at least an excuse to “play” with my computer. It’s less action packed than video games, but this way I have something I can point to that I made when I’m done.
When I was a kid, I had a toy typewriter and a toy safe. I used to put the safe on top of the typewriter and pretend it was a computer.
. . .
Is that normal? A toy typewriter and a toy safe? Were my parents trying to prepare me for life as a Notary Public or something? Come to think of it, I had rubber stamps too.
I would never advocate the plan I lay out in panel four, but it does have a certain logic to it. Over time, we would eliminate our least competent young people, and our angriest and most delusional elderly. You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound good.
Ric is not what you’d call smooth, in that he has a talent for saying the exact wrong thing. One example I’ve given before is the time we were in a room with his daughter and I saw a big spider near him. I tapped Ric on the shoulder, and pointed to the spider, hoping he could “deal with it” before she saw it.
Instead of “dealing with” the spider, Ric said, in a loud, clear voice, “Don’t let her see it. She’s terrified of spiders.”
I also, am not smooth, in that I am literally covered with hair. I firmly believe that physically I am a step or two closer to our simian ancestors than most people.
My lack of smoothness and Ric’s collided several years ago, when I was working at Walt Disney World. He brought his daughter to Florida to hang out and enjoy the parks. She wanted to go to one of the Disney water parks. I went along.
At one point, it became clear that I would have to take off my shirt in front of people, including Ric and his daughter. I turned my back on them, as I always do, because stunned silence is easier to deal with than a look of shock and revulsion. I took off my shirt, the customary stunned silence ensued, but this time the silence was broken by Ric saying, “Yes. I know.”
I love the Nintendo Switch.
One rule about the Switch is that you should avoid ever touching another person’s Switch. It’s not that it’s rude, or some sort of violation. It’s just that someone’s Switch is the one item other than their phone you know they’ve used in the bathroom.
“The Details are Unimportant” is probably the running joke from the comics I get quoted back to me the most. That strikes me as odd, because it didn’t actually appear in that many comics. I think gripping the RJ-17 form firmly turned up more often.
Yet another example of my compulsion to take the things that seem to be working and avoid doing them.
Blurring the background both adds an illusion of depth to an image and allows you to highlight the specific characters you want the viewer to pay attention to. It’s a great trick. I tried not to overuse it.
It strikes me as odd now that, when making the comic, if I found something that worked really well, I would deliberately avoid doing it too often.
I used to play the Assassin’s Creed games, but I had to stop eventually. My assassin always seemed to be suicidal. He’d be running from eight angry guards and decide to leap up on a fence post and perch there like a bird, waiting for the guards to come bludgeon him. Other times, he’d have a perfectly clear path, one I was steering him toward, then for no reason he’d lurch to the left and fling himself off of a roof.
I’m currently playing Hitman 2. I love most of the Hitman games. I get a great deal of enjoyment from slowly and methodically working through a level. Also, over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the protagonist, Agent 47, as a character. The fact that he’s bald has nothing to do with it.
It occurred to me the other day that thanks to Hitman’s disguise mechanic (you can put on the clothes of any man you knock out or kill) 47 is, essentially, a dress-up doll for dudes. I have seen non-player-characters walking around levels wearing something interesting and thought, Ooh. I wanna see 47 in that! It turns out all you have to do to make fashion palatable to men is to have them physically assault someone to get it.
Disney owns both Winnie the Pooh and Fozzie Bear. They could, theoretically, do a sitcom based on this idea. Have a situation where they have to move in together. Either Tigger or Gonzo could serve as a wacky neighbor. It’d make a great web series, or something for the streaming service they’re working on.
On an unrelated note, looking at this comic now, through the corrective lens of time, I am not exactly proud of what a prominent role the phrase “Hershey Squirts” plays in the dialog. I use it five times in two separate panels.
To make up for the PR damage I’ve done to the Hershey’s brand, here’s a link to a surprisingly elaborate dark ride about how delicious Hershey’s chocolate is made.
I stand by my statement in panel three. If there were any fruit in Dr Pepper, even prune juice, they’d shout it from the rooftops.
Also, if it acted as a laxative, which is a common piece of anti-Dr Pepper propaganda, they’d repackage it as a medicine and charge a lot more for it. Especially if it was a gentle laxative. There’s a huge market for that sort of thing. Watch any daytime TV and you’ll see that I’m right.
This strip was written after having my tonsillectomy.
I could only eat the very softest of foods. Part of the reason they always push ice cream is that it’s a food that literally becomes a beverage if you hold it in your mouth long enough.
The doctor also recommended applesauce. I’ve always hated applesauce. I’m from Yakima, home of the Red Delicious apple (which, as I’ve said before, is the crappy fruit that’s name is a lie). As such, I tend to hold apples in low regard to begin with, and I know for a fact that it’s not the best apples that get “sauced.”
There is an excellent episode of the PBS series Frontline about retirement planning that has a lot of good information about mutual and index funds. (Or at least I thought so. I am no expert.)
It’s also available on Amazon Prime Video. Just search for Frontline, season 31, episode 12
As for managed mutual funds, I always wonder, if they really can dependably beat the stock market, why do they need commissions on my money? Wouldn’t they just make money by beating the stock market?
Scented lip balm. It’s a thing.
I think I would feel more comfortable buying feminine hygiene products than I would buying scented lip balm.
“Pardon me, madam. I wish to purchase this strawberry scented lip balm, but I assure you, it’s not because my lips smell bad as they are. I won’t put you on the spot by suggesting that you smell my lips for yourself, but I promise, they smell fine. And I’d know, as they are located right under my nose, with only my moustache to block the aroma. Indeed, my lips exude a perfectly normal lip odor. But that doesn’t mean they can’t smell better. After all, nobody buys lip-scented air freshener, or a deodorant labeled Mountain-lip. Ah, I see security’s here. I congratulate you on your promptness!”
“You’re a moron. A moooron!” is something Ric says a lot.
Just to be clear, he doesn’t say it to me.
Well, okay, he says it to me, but not about me. He tells me stories about people he deals with, and it always ends with him silently shouting at them inside his own head, “You’re a moron. A moooron!”
There’s no concise term for silently shouting at someone inside your own head. I tried to come up with something. The two best ideas I generated were “shining” (“shouting,” but with the word “out” replaced with “in”) and “in-scream” (which rhymes with “inseam”).
Clearly, more thought is required.
Chickens are awful. When people talk about raising chickens for fun, to me, it’s like saying that they get dental work for recreational purposes, or are particularly proud of how well their most recent case of diarrhea worked out.
I am quite proud of this drawing of the farm guy holding a chicken though, despite the fact that no human would ever hold a chicken that way.
Again, sadly, this comic is based on a real person. I had a coworker who constantly talked about how everything was better at the place they’d worked before and couldn’t figure out why none of the management team seemed to like him.