Light at the end of the Time Pool?

billytheskink here, occupying the SOSF time share for a couple weeks. I’ve just come back from a weekend of moving everything out of my parent’s house of 30 years in 100 degree heat, driving it 4 hours away, and moving it all again in 97 degree heat. I mention this because it was considerably more enjoyable than the last half of last week’s strips, now that I’ve got around to reading them.

So today’s strip confirms that the time pool works both ways, and that everyone’s internal organs and white Keds (and Holly’s elephant Q-Tip) apparently survived the trip intact.

Who do you need to convince, Cindy? This is literally everyone you interact with, plus some people that you don’t. Is convincing Barry Balderman and Principal Fairgood that you talked to your future self about the definition of “happy” really all that critical?

I do look forward to Act II Apple Annie Crazy’s attempts to convince the stagflation-weary populace that time travel is possible by showing them a stolen battery-operated device that he should have idea how to use and no way to charge.

If it is just so important, you know how the gang could really convince people that there is a “time pool” in Crazy’s locker? They could show it to other people… kinda like how Crazy convinced the rest of them in the first place. Nah…


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Light at the end of the Time Pool?

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oh no. It’s still f*cking going? Oh…no. So Past Harry swiped a cell phone, eh? How very clever. Perhaps a sports almanac or maybe a history book (they were, after all, in a school) would have been a more savvy choice but nope, it’s a cell phone because TECHNOLOGY, AMIRITE??? Too bad he didn’t grab a cell phone tower too, as that probably could have helped it actually, you know, function and all. And WHY are they all smirking like that? I didn’t think this could get any dumber but once again Batom proves me wrong.

  2. Nathan Obral

    So let me guess. The group will be staring at that iPhone for the next five days, and then a whole lot more nothingburgers happen. Or Tom completely forgets the impossibility of an iPhone to function without things called the Internet, cell phone towers and a charging cable, and actually has Teen Crazy try to alter history on his own end. What a f*cking idiot!

    Of all the days I’d rather see Mopey Pete Riggs and St. Derpwin the Fair Good blather on video chat about The Amazing Mister Sponge and Starbuck Jones…

  3. Young Funky looks as though Matt Groening’s evil twin had been engaged to sketch him.

  4. SpacemanSpiff85

    The dumbest thing of all about this is if anyone sees the selfie Cindy took, they’ll just say “So you’ve got an identical twin with better hair, big deal”.

  5. As stupid as just dropping the entire arc yesterday would have been, I get the feeling it would have been preferable to what we’ve got in store for us this week.

  6. Jim in Wisc.

    Boy! What a story! I’m speechless. Speechless. I have no speech.

  7. Gyre

    So yeah, it really does end with Les doing ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY NOTHING about Lisa. In fact everyone tap-danced around it enough that Lisa should already have a good guess about her fate based on just how older and younger Les acted.

  8. Nathan Obral

    Is there an e-book for “Lisa’s Story” on that iPhone? Oh wait, that would require critical thinking on Batiuk’s part.

  9. Oh Geez. You know, I could have forgiven this storyline if their memories had been wiped when they returned to their own time…that at least would have justified that they couldn’t change their future or prevent Lisa’s death. (Still doesn’t absolve them for not TRYING, of course…)

    Others have already pointed out the uselessness of Harry bringing a cell phone back, but it did remind me of a GOOD (well, moderately amusing, anyway) time-travel story from a ’60s Marvel comic by Stan Lee and Don Heck. In that story, a scientist whose peers consider him a laughingstock goes back to medieval times in hopes of impressing the king with his “miraculous” 20th-century technology and being taken seriously. Unfortunately, he forgot to take into account all the other things he’d need to make his devices work: His radio wouldn’t work without any broadcasts to pick up, and his camera was useless because he didn’t have any film-developing chemicals. However, the king was amused by the scientist’s attempts to demonstrate his “miracles,” and so the scientist became his court jester…a fitting fate for one who hated being laughed at.

    Of course, in Stan Lee’s story, the time-traveler’s short-sightedness was the point of the story…here, I get the feeling it’s simply a reflection of the author’s own carelessness.

  10. DOlz

    Well I spent a pleasant afternoon reading “The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct” by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson. The book is interesting, well written, and thought provoking. Well lets see what’s going on in FW. SOB! This misbegotten story is still going on. If I ever fall from a very tall building I hope I fall on a pile of FW strips. There’s so much padding in them I’d walk away without a scratch.

  11. ComicTrek

    See, this is the part where my thoughts are all “hmm, maybe this *could* turn out to be interesting”. But after these past couple of days (YEARS), I’ve learned my lesson! So, I’ll just wait and see what will (not) happen.

  12. We’re not only dealing with a VERY unfortunate implication about Les, we’re also dealing with something that has permeated the strip from its beginnings: former high school teacher Batiuk’s arch disdain for teenagers. He’s been acting superior to teenagers for forty-two years and counting so it makes sense that he’d be going “Kids and their gadgets and their ignorance, amirite?”

  13. Merry Pookster

    I had a Dick Tracy 2-way wrist radio when I was a kid and it worked about the same as a cell phone from the future,

  14. Been There Done That

    I actually think a smartphone would be a pretty good device to carry along if you wanted to prove to the people of 1975 that you’d been forty years into the future. It’s clearly beyond what people could make in ’75, but every technology in the thing existed back then, just in a slower, bigger and more expensive form: microprocessors, rechargeable batteries, LEDs/LCDs, tiny video screens (remember those “travel” TV sets with 2″ picture tubes?)… Even cell phones existed as prototypes (Motorola had a prototype hand-held in 1972, and by 1975 both Motorola and the Bell System were developing large “demonstration” cell systems; I know this because I worked on Motorola’s project). As did the germ of the Internet, as the DoD’s ARPAnet. Take an iPhone to Bell Labs (you wouldn’t bother with Steve Jobs; he was a nobody in ’75), and they’d recognize everything in it–and, using Moore’s Law (NOT named after Les; this is the observation that digital devices approximately double in performance/capacity every 18 months) they’d be able to make a pretty good estimate of how far ahead of 1975 state-of-the-art the thing was.

    As for powering the thing, every smartphone I’ve seen has fine print on the back giving power requirements (right next to the words “DESIGNED BY APPLE IN CALIFORNIA, ASSEMBLED IN CHINA,” which would also make perfect sense in ’75, as Nixon had just normalized relations a few years earlier). And because the technology is just 40 years of evolution from the “present,” it’s unlikely that the presence of a modern smartphone in 1975 would do much to disturb the flow of time.

    As incredible as it sounds, BaTom actually (sit down before reading further)… got… this… one… right. Next thing you know, the Cubs will win the World Series.

  15. bad wolf

    i do like that the black, featureless void is immediately recognized as a successful trip to the past just because the photo-album corners are present.

    *slow hand clap*

  16. Laziest. Time travel arc. Ever.

  17. Been There Done That

    One more thought: I took another look at that last panel, and it’s clear that when Crazy says “Yes, they will,” he’s talking about the double-Cindy selfie, not the phone itself. Given the way Cindy’s looking at the phone, I expect her to grab it and fling it back into the time pool in tomorrow’s strip, so nobody in ’75 sees her as the withered crone she becomes. Paradox averted…


    Wow. No, I mean wow. This plotline ended in the most uninteresting, lamest way possible!. I think even first year movie students could write plots better than this. Hell Fan Fic Writers could write better (though admittedly most of their writing would include Les Moore, Funky Winkerbean and Crazy Harry in a threeway…)

  19. billytheskink

    When this “time pool” business started, I remarked that it could potentially be interesting. I stand by that remark even now.
    Crazy hitchhiking to Bell Labs or Xerox or Motorola or the Pentagon with this smartphone would be interesting. A return to the present day to find how drastically the lives of Crazy, the rest of the gang, even the whole town of Westview have changed would be interesting. Even after thus far doing next to nothing with this wacky time travel story idea, TB has not killed its potential. I’m not betting on him realizing that, though.

  20. You know, all this talk of Crazy taking the phone to Bell Labs or the Pentagon and getting rich, or helping to improve the lives of his fellow Westviewians ignores one salient fact:

    Crazy is not Les

    Only Les is allowed to be a success. Everyone else must be a failure, so that Les can shine. If there’s one ironclad rule in this strip, this is it.

  21. sgtsaunders

    That “quarter-inch from reality” is up to about a quarter light-year from reality.

  22. sgtsaunders

    This weekend, I finished “Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee. That is writing. This is…well,… I once had a Romanian roommate who put his opinion very succinctly in English…”Iss shit, maaaan.”

  23. Nathan Obral

    @beckoningchasm: The odd thing is, Crazy seemed to consider himself a success when Old Crazy met with Teen Crazy. The only one, really… Old Les was MIA while Teen Les acted like the biggest wuss in the history of mankind, Teen Funky never got an answer from Old Funky about where that goddam Ed Crankshaft nose came from, the two Hollys and two Bulls had minimal interaction between each other, and Tom Batiuk showed once again why he is a total chauvinist while abusing the two Cindys.

    It’s been shown before in previous strips, but Crazy Harry just has such a low bar that he appears to be happy. Is it a veil born out of a crippling depression, a lack of motivation to achieve, or a permanent embracing of nostalgia from his high school years? We’ll never know, because Tom Batiuk can’t write himself out of a paper bag.

  24. DaveG28

    I still think there’s a chance…a slim chance…that we may be about to see the strip reset to Act 1.1. Why not take it back to when they are in high school and continue doing the strip in it’s present format instead of the original gag-a-day style? Entirely possible.

  25. @Nathan – Oh, I think Batiuk allows a certain measure of success to the non-Les characters, and Crazy’s probably a good example: worker in a comic book store is his lifelong dream.

    But no one’s going to send Crazy on a book tour, or out to Hollywood where he, singlehandedly, can derail a movie because it doesn’t genuflect in his direction enough. Crazy can be a success, but only in a very tiny pond.

    There are levels of success, but only Les gets the top one.