It Was The Treatment Talkin’ (Not Me)

Today’s Strip.

Well, Lisa, I suspect you got a lot of blank stares because what you said is so utterly stupid that the staff was simply caught off guard, and was trying to be polite.  You know, instead of saying, “Is that a joke?  Are you making a joke?  Or is the chemo kicking in?  Because what you said was pretty damned stupid.  Oh, wait, you’ve got cancer.  Sorry, what I meant to say was that you’re really funny and profound.”

If I was in the hospital with someone suffering from cancer, and they said the same thing, I’d smile politely because that’s what you do when someone is suffering and you’re trying to be comforting.  I would not, however, repeat the observation around the water-cooler the next day, because it’s clearly the rambling of someone in pain.  Not the sort of thing to remember and smirk quietly to myself over.

There was a minor Woody Allen movie a few years ago called Crimes and Misdemeanors.  In it, Allen is making a documentary about a comedy show host (Alan Alda).  Alda plays the guy as a crass boor, and in one bit of documentary footage he talks about a writer he doesn’t want to work with anymore.  “I don’t care if he’s got cancer, he doesn’t ‘write funny’!”

Now, we’re all supposed to think, Oh, that’s just terrible, what a terrible man.  The thing is though, he’s right.  We’ve all known folks who’ve suffered with cancer, and I have every sympathy imaginable, believe you me.  They deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.  Having cancer, however, doesn’t by itself make you a genius, or a saint, or a stellar wit.   It can focus you, and those around you, into truly looking at each other and appreciating each other, and it might prod you toward improving your mind or your skills or otherwise pushing yourself into new things.  But having cancer doesn’t automatically make your jokes funny, and it doesn’t give the guy who writes about you any talent.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

19 responses to “It Was The Treatment Talkin’ (Not Me)

  1. Epicus Doomus

    That’s good old Dead Lisa for ya, always spouting more bland platitudes and “courageous” jokes and never even approaching the outer limits of “amusing”. It was Live Lisa too, come to think of it. Just a remarkably dumb joke made even worse by Les’ typical “awww she was so witty and brave” reaction to her inane blathering. “Bucket of uranium”…duh.

    And this is some journal, isn’t it? A few months ago it was all about Frankie and her pregnancy, now all of a sudden it’s spanning her entire life…I have to assume she wrote really small or something. Even the way he does her handwriting is obnoxious beyond belief, oozing that coy Lisa cuteness TB thinks everyone loves. And of course it couldn’t be a Lisa memory without a cancer reference, right? I mean didn’t she ever write a journal entry that wasn’t about her endless litany of tragic woes? What am I saying, “litany of tragic woes” was her sole defining character trait.

    Just a really sickening display all around. This is one of those strips you’re actually embarrassed to be reading.

  2. Flappy

    surprised Cayla isn”t sitting next to Les with loving smirk , you slipping bathack

  3. Gyre

    Flappy, Cayla doesn’t matter. This story is about Les being affected by reading Lisa’s diary and so long as the audience is emotionally invested in – oh god I can’t keep it up.

    And yes, many writers seem to make one incredibly dumb mistake. They think that if someone has something tragic about them, it excuses their failings in unrelated areas.

  4. Jeffcoat Wayne

    If Lisa has a series of diary entries covering her cancer years, why didn’t Les just have that published as “Lisa’s Story” instead of writing his own version? Yeah, I know the diaries were only recently discovered, but surely Les is kicking himself for wasting all that time when he could have taken the easy way out. But definitely use this passage in the screenplay, Les, because sometimes home-viewing audiences want to take a bathroom break without having to put wear-and-tear on their Pause buttons.

  5. You know what would have been better than 3 panels of a man reading a book? An illustration of the anecdote in the journal. A perfectly appropriate opportunity for a flashback comes along, and Batominc lets it sail right on by.

  6. Chyron HR

    To break up the tedium of the radium treatments, I asked Les if I could start bringing a book with me to read. He said, “No, it’ll look better in the movie if you just sit and stare at the wall while a sad song plays.”

  7. MKay

    Take a picture, Cayla. This is the only time you’ll see Mopey Dick smile. He sure won’t waste it on a live wife.

  8. merrypookster

    Okay… she’s dying in the hospital….writitng into a diary that Les never new about. A diary that spanned 20 + years. So when she kicked off…how’d this book disappear?
    Les and Tom are douches.

  9. bad wolf

    Thank god Flappy’s back. I was beginning to think this week’s dire strips were getting to you! Anyway i think it’s a good idea–like a Sunday strip where each pull-back into another panel shows someone smirking fondly at the person reading/smirking/whatever in the previous panel, until ultimately you see us, the reader, the ones with no smirks, and above us, Batiuk, with the biggest smirk of all.


    Alternate 3rd panel punchlines for confused techs.

    1. “No, we have to save the uranium to produce the 1.21 jigawatts for the flux capacitor!.

    2. ” No, my brother needs it for his drity bomb. Hey, his name is Kha and he lives in Westview, too. Maybe you know him??!!!

    3. “What? That joke doesn’t make sense!. Geez you’re just as annoying as that douchebag in the glasses that keeps pacing around in the waiting room!.

  11. gleeb

    The thing that gets me is that this story, as sappy and annoying as it is (what about Lisa’s incompetent oncologist? Did she ever have to face the medical board?), is that it has already been told. Following a wallow in the despair of writer’s block, I think it’s Batiuk’s way of say the Lord of the Late has been short sheeting his metaphorical bed.

  12. So this entire week was just a build-up to a set of bad chemotherapy jokes (I’m assuming that tomorrow will bring something similar). As an FW reader, every week, more and more I feel like I’m being taken for a sucker.

  13. Rusty

    If we can get to Les reading Lisa’s diary, which is quoting bad puns she read in the I Ching book of proverbs, it will be Batiuk perfection.

    Lisa’s incompetent oncologist has comic strip immunity, as she allowed Lisa to metastasize and ultimately die, which was the career kick-in-the-pants Batiukis still reaping.

  14. Smirks 'R Us

    I would argue that Less’ face in p3 today is the most punchable yet. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence we can’t see where his other hand is, if you know what I mean.

  15. Some people use humor to deal with difficult times. Lisa was clearly not such a person.

  16. Professor Fate

    Oh this will make for gripping cinema. Maybe if you added Ninjas. Otherwise no.

  17. Spode

    When I was undergoing radiation therapy, I broke up the tedium by conversing with the other patients. Because, you know, there were other people who were going through the exact same thing.

  18. batgirl

    When my mother was going through radiation therapy, she would say things like ‘Turn me over, I’m done on this side’, to cheer up the techs. The ‘bucket of uranium’ thing just sounds like someone trying too hard to be clever and thinking they succeeded.