CSotD: Humor on the Offense

I sometimes feel that the kids in Baby Blues (AMS) have become a little too consistently bratty, but then I read Carolyn Hax’s advice column in the Washington Post and so realize that, indeed, there are bratty kids who grow up to be bratty adults.

Hax is a lot more indulgent about it than I am, and she’s not all that indulgent about it.

Anyway, this particular strip doesn’t doom Zoe to a lifetime of failure and disappointment. Some day she may grow up to become governor of Arizona. Or close enough for her.

I’m more tolerant of and amused by the kids in The Buckets (AMS), who, like most kids, go back and forth between being cute and naive and adorable to being bratty and impossible.

The key today is that, while Eddie doesn’t want to go to a nice restaurant, he at least recognizes the concept, suggesting that his parents have subjected him to china, silverware and cloth napkins in the past.

Then-wife and I only had to bail out of a nice restaurant once, with an extremely young child who began flipping out before the first course arrived. We were very apologetic and offered to pay our tab anyway, but they were pleased enough to have us leave that they wouldn’t take our money.

To which I would add that experienced restaurateurs know to put some breadsticks out immediately for any table with a baby. This place had done that, but, as Old Lodgeskins said, sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Kids certainly should be exposed to grown-up behavior, but sometimes things do, admittedly, get stretched.

I remember an upscale place in NYC that was near the hotel where I was attending an educational conference and to which the concierge was directing people.

A lot of attendees had brought their families so Other Spouse and kids could sightsee while we were in session, and so our table at this far-more-than-just-nice place included a 12-year-old who had been traveling all day, recognized nothing on the fancy menu and wasn’t having any.

The tuxedo-clad maitre d’ came over and sympathized with her, then asked what sorts of things she liked. Chicken? Well, how about this? and he proposed a very simple chicken dish that was nothing like anything they normally offered, plus some very basic veggies — green beans, IIRC — then went off to the kitchen with her special order.

Good man. Good place. Both a true example of “class.”

For cooking at the other end of the classiness scale, we turn to Man Overboard, but I have to admit I like them, too. If you’re gonna impose your personal values on the clientele, don’t insult their intelligence by wrapping it up in subjective morality.

And as long as I’m pontificating, this Mannequin on the Moon (AMS) brought out a pragmatic but unpopular opinion I have about (some) dog adoption groups, mostly the ones that promote quick decisions instead of thoughtful planning.

“They’re going to kill this dog if nobody adopts it by tomorrow” sounds more like a National Lampoon magazine cover than a serious attempt at matchmaking.

The good agencies are experts at evaluating both dog and person, and make an effort to arrange good matches. I wouldn’t want a mail order bride, and I wouldn’t adopt a dog off the Internet.

Nor would I make a decision based on it being “Adopt a Dog Week” any more than I would on Jared having a sale on wedding rings.

It’s great when it’s done right. Some of my dog’s best friends are adopted, but selection bias comes into that: Those are matches that worked. We don’t know the other matches, because they can’t come to the park and must be cautiously walked on leash.

A hasty mistake can mean a long sentence for both dog and human that even humorist James Thurber could only describe with sad affection. His classic memoir is worth reading in its entirety but comes down to this combination of canine/human dysfunctions:

Whether you adopt or buy, the central message is to do your research and take your time.

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure” applies to dogs as well as spouses.

On a considerably lighter note, Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) takes a poke at the sudden deluge not of rain but of meteorological catch-phrases and jargon. Where did all this stuff suddenly come from?

I understand regional specialties. When I lived on the Front Range of Colorado, we had an occasional “Albuquerque Low,” which is a low-pressure system that goes south of the Rockies but then gets backed up against the mountains. Unless you are an on-line expert, of course.

But leave the hot air to the high pressure systems, okay?

And on the topic of our expanding vocabulary, the Duplex (AMS) has broken yet another linguistic barrier in the comics, which put me in mind of Lola’s revolutionary reference to flatulence in 2000, remembered a year ago by my colleague, DD Degg.

And amplified yesterday by Lio (AMS).

I note that Dave Whamond offers an innocent explanation of this Reality Check (AMS). Well, semi-innocent, anyway.

Call it “implausible deniability.”

While Rhymes With Orange (KFS) plays it completely safe with a cartoon about playing it safe, which reminded me of when we used to groom our children with such things on a regular basis.

However, if we don’t joke about this stuff, the kids will write their own, and here’s a topic they never tire of:

Submitted for Your Analysis

(Red and Rover)

(Off the Mark)

(Speed Bump — Creators)

I think Sarah MacLachlan is going to release a song as a fundraiser for cartoonists. It’s about being sure to fill your dog’s water bowl often.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Humor on the Offense

  1. Our distinction between restaurants when the kids were young focused on the flooring. Is it tile or carpeting? Tile was more forgiving for kid accidents

  2. And I thought it was a big deal when I drew a toilet in my old comic strip. I didn’t know pee-pee jokes were okay now! At least the writers of the older strips know they’re not accidentally repeating old material.

      1. Reminds me of the Zits dustup around that time, when they had to send out two versions of Jeremy mowing the lawn, one in which he carved out “This Sucks” and another reading “This Stinks,” though at least he wasn’t peeing it.

        Also thinking of when Mike Peters was breaking ground with Grimmy drinking out of the toilet. One editor got a letter from a concerned reader who was afraid other dogs would see the cartoon and start doing the same thing.

  3. Yeh – the Beacon Journal’s comic section a couple Sundays ago only carried two strips featuring the word “fart” (not even an implication- just say it ). Or maybe three – I never read Fox Trot any more.

  4. Hi Mike. Tip o’ the pen for the Thurber quote! I love that story. I’ve used it in my classes teaching English as a second language.

  5. The brat that was running for governor of Arizona didn’t get elected but brats don’t give up easily. She continues to throw hissy fits.

  6. In Cape Town, South Africa they have the Cape Doctor in the summer months. Very strong SE winds that blow trucks over and ladies better not wear skirts. They don’t show you this in the advertising. Small boat sailing on the lakes is impossible. Try to go upwind you go backwards, eventually get washed up on shore and have to be rescued.

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