Endure Thy Father

Here is Funky’s idea of showing his father a good time on Fathers’ Day: schlepping him to the food court at Mammoth Mall. What do you expect from the cheap bastard who celebrated his wedding anniversary at Montoni’s? Hell, Montoni’s would’ve been a nicer place for lunch than the crowded, noisy food court. Their “nice chat” consists of poor Pa’s persistent proffering of his too-big sandwich, and Funky’s polite refusals. Batiuk might have used today to have Funky at least attempt a conversation with his father, and given the reader some kind of insight into this relationship, rather than using the old man as a prop to make us feel sorry for Funky.

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  1. John

    Papa Winkerbean: “Um, why did you order me a massive sandwich? You know I don’t have much of an appetite these days.”

    Funky: *superior smirk* “Oh, so you can’t eat all of it? Oh, dear. Not my problem, Pop! You should be glad I bothered to pick you up at all. And anyway, you’re so damn senile that you won’t even remember this conversation in a minute or two!”

    *two minutes pass*

    Papa Winkerbean: “This sandwich is too big…you should eat half of it.”

    Funky: “Uh-huh. You seem to be distressed, Pop. Now, I could have avoided this. I could have ordered one sandwich and split it between us, I could have informed the people that you have special needs and requested a smaller portion. I could have ordered something smaller and easier for you to eat than a big greaseburger! But I didn’t. Because don’t care, Pop. You’re so damn senile that you won’t even remember this conversation in a minute or two!”

    *two minutes pass*

    Papa Winkerbean: “This sandwich is too big…you should eat half of it.”

    Funky: *superior smirk* “Man, Les was right! This “give your elderly relative something they can’t possibly eat” scam works like a charm! You’ll be distracted about this for the entire visit! No need to interact with you, you worthless old fart! You’re so damn senile you won’t even remember this conversation in a minute or two!”

    *two minutes pass*

    Papa Winkerbean: “This sandwich is too big. You should eat half of it.”

    Funky: “Drinking my SODA, geezer! You’re so damn senile, you won’t even remember this conversation in a minute or two!”

    *two hours later*

    Glasses Lady: “How did it go?”

    Funky: “Fine. He’s so damn senile, he won’t even remember he had this conversation in a minute or two!”

    Glasses Lady: “…*….WHAT?!?”

    Papa Winkerbean: “Please, never let him visit me again.”

    Funky: “Hey! You damn faker!”

  2. Instead of taking Daddy Winkerbean to a quality restaurant at the most or Montoni’s at the least, Funky takes him to a stinking mall and buys him a hamburger. There is no excuse! This is pathetic.

  3. sourbelly

    Hoo-boy, is there anything funnier than old people (or others with certain types of brain damage) who lose the ability to create new memories, and keep saying the same stuff over and over again? Ha! They’ve lost the ability to experience life in any sort of meaningful way! It’s like they’re trapped in a kind of self-repeating, incoherent Hell! Bwahahahahah!!!

    I guess this is TB’s loving homage to that classic comedy, “Memento”. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

  4. Is this Memento? Because if it ends (begins?) with Funky’s dad shooting him in the head, then I’m all for it.

  5. sourbelly

    Seriously, though, this is at least as reprehensible as Lynn Johnston’s depiction of Grandpa after his last stroke, especially when Michael Patterson asks, “Is he crazy?” when Grandpa manages to utter something that Michael doesn’t understand.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    I like the symbolism here. Pa Bean represents the author, endlessly repeating the same thing over and over, while Funky represents the reader, patiently tolerating the strip’s dementia and making a sarcastic remark at the end. Clever.

    Well, if you’ve ever cared for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s, you have something of your very own to hang on the refrigerator door, I suppose. Happy Father’s Day!

  7. billytheskink

    This is probably the best possible outcome of drawing a strip about Jerry Sandusky having lunch with Jerry Sandusky, but I’m puzzled as to why anyone would want to draw such a strip.

  8. Jeffcoat Wayne

    This Sunday strip is too wordy… Batiuk should cut half, er, all of it.

  9. John

    But, seriously, Tom, after Summer spends an entire week devoted to nothing but ridiculing her father combined with Funky’s cruel indifference to an elderly man’s easily-resolved distress, I’m starting to think you’ve got serious Daddy issues.

  10. BeckoningChasm

    This is a really mean-spirited comic, especially for Father’s Day. Does Batiuk think this is funny? If the answer is yes, my follow-up is, Really?

    Anyway, I did my own version.

  11. S.P. Charles

    I have to take an opposing position here, even if it means liking something Batiuk wrote. My uncle is pretty much where Papa Wink is: in some ways he’s as sharp as he ever was, but he repeats things. A lot. But at least, like Papa Wink, what he repeats makes sense.

    There’s nothing mean-spirited about this, and no reason to “feel sorry for Funky”: he’s there with his father. That makes it a good day for both of them.

  12. John

    “There’s nothing mean-spirited about this”

    Yeah, because it would have been impossible to order Pa Winkerbean something smaller or easier to eat, or just split a sandwich, or pack part of the sandwich in a bag for later, or to do -anything- to resolve his mild distress.

    And it’s not like as recently as Christmas we had Pa speaking normally and even quipping.

  13. S.P. Charles

    But against, John, “speaking normally and quipping” and continually repeating yourself are not mutually exclusive.

    And there’s no distress here: Pa wink is making an entirely reasonable and comment. He simply doesn’t remember he’s already made it.

  14. BeckoningChasm

    With respect, Charles, I fear you and I will have to agree to disagree.

    My mother is quite similar to your uncle. Very, very sharp and intelligent, but unable to remember things that were said mere minutes before. Our family has learned how to deal with it–mostly just agreeing, saying, “Yeah,” because it will just come up again in a few minutes–but it’s not easy and it’s not something that we feel comfortable making quips about. Perhaps in our own way we are worse than Funky, because we’re trying to make her feel valued, and not trying to get the damn visit over with. Funky’s dealing with it in his Funky way. More power to him.

    What I find mean-spirited about this comic is the offhand way in which Funky treats his father. Fobbing off Father’s Day in the Mall food court, ordering the Double Secret Les Memorial Burger seems so…perfunctory. (Maybe “Funky” is the nickname version of “Perfunctory”?)

    The whole scenario says, “Let’s get this over with.” I have never thought that tending to Mom. Maybe it’s more realistic in Akron, but it doesn’t make a positive impression for Funky, and it certainly doesn’t for Tom Batiuk. I can only imagine the titanic party that Summer would have to conjure up to make Les Moore feel that he’s graced God’s earth with his smirking fatherly presence. I feel pity for Funky’s dad. I feel nothing but loathing for Les Moore, and I hate feeling that way. Damn you Les Moore. You meato-victim.

    I’ve probably (swirls cape over masked face) said too much, but I wanted to say it anyway. Note: I say this just to illustrate why I DO find this particular strip mean-spirited. I’m not fishing for pity or trying to make anyone feel guilty and if you’re doing those things, stop that now. Stop it! Now! Hair will grow on your palms.

    And hey, all of you male snarkers who have kids? Happy Father’s Day. Don’t worry, they meant to say it.

  15. Sgt. Saunders

    Interesting that in TomBot’s Westview, where there’s fathers aplenty, we get treated to Funky rolling out his elderly father every Father’s Day for some dementia-based hilarity.He could have an ensemble strip where each panel depicts one of the Westview Fathers getting honor from his respective family. But no, it’s Funky and the mastermind that is at least partially responsible for Funky’s name chowing down at the goddam food court. Plus, where is Mrs. Funky and The CW? Does Funky Sr. even know that his hateful issue is married? Well, this is probably a thought piece told from Funky’s point of view. Pappy Winkerbean is probably saying all kinds of shit about everything from world affairs to his nurse’s titties and all Funky is hearing is the goddam sandwich bit. What would have been a better punchline would be a final panel with Pappy and a one-word thought balloon – “Oy!”

  16. Jason

    I like the mall cop prominently pictured in the first frame, as if we needed an additional clue as to where we were. I guess “Mammoth Ma” and “Food Court” are a little too obscure a reference for the average winkerbean consumer.

  17. Charles

    Oddly, Mr. Funky’s dad doesn’t appear to eat anything in this delightful little tale. His distress over the size of his sandwich kept him from eating, as he continued to offer the entire thing to Funky throughout the comic. I wonder if the poor bastard ended up eating anything on this outing.

  18. dollyllama

    I enjoyed the strip with Summer’s tribute to Les on Father’s Day–her thanking him for raising her, for doing the difficult job of parenting by himself. The card from Keisha about loving her future stepfather was a nice touch too–perhaps a little corny, but that’s ok. On Father’s Day you expect such things. And then the final panel, with Cayla and Les on the porch swing at the end of the day, the sun sinking low in the sky, where Les says “It’s days like this that make being a father the best job in the world.” How nice. (Then I opened the paper. Oh. It’s about a big sandwich. Ok.)

  19. Merry Pookster

    At least Funky has a (albeit shallow) Fatherly relation.
    Less’ Parents moved out of state while he was hanging on a gym rope
    CW is going through the cash drawer at Montonis
    Crazy Harry spent his daughters college fund on comic books
    Rana and Little Wally have dis’d their real Father Wally for DSH
    It’s a confusing day for Keisha
    Sum-mor continues to ridicule her Father.
    Buddy the dog is dreaming of being more like his Dad….”Farley”
    TB is wishing his Dad would stop pestering him to move out of the attic.

    @ BeckoningChasm: My daughter (22) made pancakes this morning….and my son (25) will be over to grill beer-brats on the Weber then have a bourbon and cigar with me on the deck. You see they are not from TB’s ahia.

  20. @ Beckoning Chasm: Exactly. Funky’s attitude towards his father in this strip comes off as polite indifference at best. As John pointed out, if the hamburger is too big it could be cut in half and saved for later or something, and that would take care of it. The subject of huge sandwiches would probably still be a prominent subject in the conversation (I too have older relatives–and some not-so-older ones–given to repeating themselves) but Dad’s concerns would have been addressed. Funky’s affection and generosity of spirit don’t extend beyond the very minimal effort it takes to nod and say, in effect, “That’s nice.” And the worst part is we’re supposed to see this as a high expression of filial love; Batiuk wants us to applaud saintly Boomer Funky for being so good as to take time out of his busy schedule and endure the company of the man who raised him for a half-hour before returning him to the old folk’s home where he’ll be forgotten about until the next time it’s convenient. Happy Father’s Day.

  21. Sgt. Saunders

    TheDiva makes a strong point. Funkster could address his Dad’s concerns. Could be that Pappy’s repetition is not so much being old and forgetful, i.e., senile, but rather a product of Funky’s inate assholiness. Pappy will keep repeating his request until that miserable sonofabitch responds and cuts the sandwich in half or eats the fucker or in some manner rationally addresses the issue, which is not an unusual request. Face it. Funky looks like he’s skilled at packing away that extra sandwich portion. Yes, this strip will appeal only to the FW faithful – the brainwashed, like Moby or whatever that gay fella’s name was that took us all to task for hating on TB.

  22. BeckoningChasm

    What I find most irritating in this strip is that Funky makes absolutely no attempt to initiate any conversation–it’s damned clear he wishes he was anywhere else. No “Say, how about those sports teams,” or “The weather, huh? Am I right?” It’s the dad who has to say everything, only to be rebuffed each time.

    I suppose it’s just as torturous for the father, except he has the lucky ability to forget all of this in a few minutes.

    What a sad, sad little comic. There is NO WAY precious Les’ Fathers Day is going to presented like this.

  23. In the first panel could Funky be more bored.

  24. BeckoningChasm

    @Merry Pookster: that sounds awesome! I certainly didn’t intend to imply that Akronites are anything like people in Funky Winkerbean. No humans on the planet act like the ones in Funky Winkerbean.

  25. Beanie Wanker

    Yecch. BatYuck aims for “touching and heartwarming,” but hits “pathetic and sad.” Does Flunky even try to engage his father in any way? He just let’s Pop Wanker babble, and simply blows him off. And as everyone has already pointed out, an outing at the mall food court? Really? Is this Fathers Day to you, Tomboy?

  26. Epicus Doomus

    Eh, I didn’t see anything especially “offensive” about it or anything. Just your typical downbeat FW holiday strip, as usual. Or as Tom says, “always leave ’em questioning their own mortality”.