Q. Why has Harry Dinkle never been circumcised?
A. Because there's just no end to that prick!
Those of us here in the real world can freely express our joy over the fact that the Dinkles appear to be exiting the convention at last…
Yeah, I was wrong, we're still at the convention. For once, Batiuk leaves exposition aside, trusting the reader to know that we are at Harry's book signing (we don't see a lobby card that says "'I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE PARADE' AUTHOR HARRY DINKLE TODAY 1 PM").
The first young person we've seen in two weeks meekly approaches the wise Dinkle (and hey, Harry gets no long line of adoring fans?). She expresses to Harry her desire to teach, and in the next breath reveals her crushing self-doubt. Harry parries by telling her to "err on the side of confidence", which Sally Student clearly lacks. Finally, with a wag of his pen, Harry advises her that while she probably will fail, to make sure that she fails for the right reasons.
Stupid question, Harriet. It's never about having "a good time with your friends." In the Funkiverse, every happy occasion only serves to remind us of our mortality and human frailty. It's that "undercurrent of melancholy" that permeates every aspect of life in Westview, the place where people hide their happiness lest they tempt cruel fate. Those of us here in the real world can freely express our joy over the fact that the Dinkles appear to be exiting the convention at last, but not before Harry squeezes out one last tortured musical metaphor.
I liken today's joke (if it exists at all) to a tiny object that someone wants to safely ship over a great distance via parcel post. The sender acquires a large and sturdy box, and places the object in it, and for protection, surrounds the tiny object with styrofoam peanuts, excelsior, and wadded-up pages from the Plain Dealer. Then the sender seals the box shut with reinforced tape, and brings it to the post office to send it on its way. The parcel is delivered, and the recipient cuts open the tape, pries open the box, and has to rummage through the worthless filler material in search of the contents. Finally his fingers grasp what must be the tiny object. He pulls it from its packaging, holds it up and inspects it, and wonders aloud, "This is it?"
Really, a lot of these strips can be compared to that mystery box. The joke contained therein ("liquid sound"?) is so small, weak and obscure that it's almost impossible to identify. Who rates hotels on a musical scale, and why is "B flat" apparently mediocre? Many marching band instruments are pitched in B♭.
And finally, when is Funky going to take off that fake beard?
To me, "shop talk" consists of discussing shared experiences and common aspects of one's profession with others in that same profession. This, this is just a bunch of old men, not just pissing and moaning but trying to outdo one another's tale of woe. Similar to, though not one iota as funny as, Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch:
First Yorkshireman: In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.
Second Yorkshireman: A cup o' cold tea.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Without milk or sugar.
Third Yorkshireman: Or tea.
First Yorkshireman: In a cracked cup, an' all.
Fourth Yorkshireman: Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper…
On Thursday TB made a joke at the expense of trombonists; today it's the flautists' turn. I suppose that only those who play flute, and not brass or percussion players or the rest of the woodwinds, are prone to "diva" -like behavior, and to such an extent that an entire session is devoted to their special "care and handling"? For the second day in a row I must Google for context, and, unlike "liquid sound", the term "flute diva" does yield some results that might relate to school bands, and even some merch.
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