Wow, using the phrase “moving treadmill” three times in three consecutive panels seems like bad writing to me. If you have to signal the setup for a joke so obviously, it’s probably not a very good one, and you probably don’t have too much faith in the intelligence of your readers. Like, if he’d referred to it as just “the treadmill” once or twice his readers would have been too confused and not understood that Funky hurt himself.
I always wonder about the genesis of these storylines. I assume this is something that happened to Batiuk in real life. I do wonder if he replaced “Flash action figure he placed on the treadmill to pretend it was a Cosmic Treadmill” with “Discman”.
Oh, and telling a story at AA about how you had to interrupt your exercise because you needed “a drink” so bad that you ended up injuring yourself and (presumably) a prized possession seems problematic.
35 responses to “Her Father, Moving Treadmill, Who Was Moving Treadmilled”
Today is the thirtieth of April, the same day on which Adolph Hitler killed himself in a state of utter despair, with his world falling apart while he was surrounded by obnoxious people who were fed up with his incoherent tirades. And while he was living underground in a miserable concrete bunker which had all the charm of this bleak gathering room. Batiuk has chosen to celebrate a grim anniversary, but having Funky die from a floating Discman will bring a certain levity to the occasion.
Okay, SoSF readers who are good with computers. Someone out there HAS to assemble a video of footage from “Downfall” that will feature an irate Schicklgruber ranting down in his bunker about how this week’s FW storyline makes no sense and when are we going to find out how the St. Spire ladies did with their Choir Candy sale.
“Sir, there are no plans to continue the California wildfire arc this year.”
(Hands begin shaking, removes glasses)
(Woman whispers to crying girl)
“Don’t worry. Maybe we will have a Darin and Pete arc soon.”
Go nuts, everybody:
“Don’t worry. All will be in order when Steiner returns to his editing duties.”
“Sir . . .” (nervous swallowing) “Sir, you haven’t had an editor since 1992.”
Batiuk takes off his glasses. “I wish to speak with my most loyal subordinates. All of you who failed to buy even one Dead Lisa book, bugger off.”
(mass exodus. door closes)
“No editor? How did this happen? Do you mean that for three decades I’ve exposed the world to my sheer, unadulterated brilliance? Are you telling me that millions of people have been overawed into silence by my work because nobody was there to dial it down to twelve?”
“Sir, no, that’s not the case at all! Your remaining fan base consists of snarkers and retired marching-band leaders!”
“And whose fault is that? It’s the fault of whoever should have been editing my work for those lesser minds! What next? Are you going to tell me that people missed the vital story points in the Hollywood Fire and ICE arcs?”
“There were vital points in them?”
Funky, during a stressful period of strangeness and uncertainty, successfully maintains his sobriety. So Funky (gasp) WINS? Er, not so fast there pal. You see, he’s still the same lovable ancient sad-sack he ever was, so even a victory is really another humiliating defeat. Because he’s very very old, of course. Sigh.
First, that is a terrible way to describe the falling Discman. If he said that “time seemed to stand still”, we would all understand what he meant. But “just seemed to be floating”? It’s as if Funky discovered a strange gravitational anomaly in his own house.
Second, I love Baseball Cap Guy’s expression in panel 3. He’s not trying to be mean or snide. He’s just innocently amazed that anyone, anywhere could be more stupid than he himself is.
And I love BC Guy’s arm in that panel. With the mod bracelet and slender fingers, I at first thought pseudo-Summer was stroking his chin with her hand for some reason.
Also, why does it seem like every other the AA group seems to switch between being gathered around a table and being seated in chairs directly in front of Funky.
“why does it seem like every other the AA group seems to switch between being gathered around a table and being seated in chairs directly in front of Funky?”
Because even a moment used to check continuity is a moment that could and should be spent rereading Silver Age Flash comics.
Baseball Cap Guy: “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. And I drink Sterno on the weekends.”
If you say “moving treadmill” three times while looking into a mirror at midnight, Funky Winkerbean will appear and bore you to death with his endless, whiny monologuing.
And if you do it while you’re ON a treadmill you’ll tear a hole in the continuum of the Funkyverse and find yourself in an alternate reality where everything is kind of “meh”, nothing ever happens and you’re never really truly happy, ever.
“Where everything is kind of “meh”, nothing ever happens and you’re never really truly happy, ever.”
It’s like the Westview version of the Lake Wobegon tagline.
Is Funky telling this story because he fell off the wagon last week and doesn’t want to be the only one? What a terrible human being.
1. Are we at least going to learn what he was listening to?? Nobody ever tells a story in this much detail without saying which CD he had in, and what track he was listening to…
2. Usually when people tell stories like this, they do it with a smile because they can laugh at themselves… But not Funkenstein…
3. By the way, when did Funkensteiger become so Homer Simpson-ish in his antics?
4. You know, if Funkenstein was one of those hardcore audiophiles who couldn’t stand compressed digital music or if his Discman was some one-of-a-kind promotional item or was autographed by some celebrity, at least this would make a little more sense…
5. You’d think the baseball cap kid who likes interrupting would have given Dr. Funk a hundred different suggestions already on how to safely listen to music while exercising, along with reminding him treadmills have warnings and disclaimers plastered all over in big red lettering all because of irresponsible assholes who jump off moving treadmills with their earbuds attached…
6. Sorry, but there’s no way in hell that Funky’s bloated artery clogged 65 year old ass could have processed what was happening in a split second, much less reacted with reflexes fast enough to even take any action. In real life the Discman would already be on the floor before Funkmeister even turned around.
If he was a hardcore audiophile who couldn’t stand compressed digital music, he’d be listening to analog music on a cassette tape on a Walkman or he’d be listening to uncompressed digital music on a Pono (which there’s probably lots more Discman’s in circulation than there are Ponos).
Anyway, my prediction holds – one more day of Discman and then we’ll be back to comics/Lisa/dinkle next week like the pandemic never happened.
And Lisa would be the perfect followup to this COVID/AA/priceless Discman/moving treadmill arc. In fact, I wish Batiuk had put it next to Les’ most recent book signing in March. Just for clear perspective on how much more important a fictional character’s death in 2007 is than an active, rampaging virus affecting literally the entire world. Especially the kind of people who live in Westview (elderly, working class, teachers). Look how seriously we’re supposed to take Les here:
COVID, alcoholism, and recovery are secondary, unimportant topics, only to used to set up monologuing and incoherent jokes. Lisa having to quarantine for a clinical trial 15 years ago, even though we never saw this happen in the strip, is serious business.
God, I had bleached that week from my memory…
The Discman was floating yesterday. It’s floating again today. Funky has injured himself by doing the Time Warp! Again!
I get the reference!
“The Discman just seemed to be floating toward the moving treadmill…”
“So I stepped sideways onto the treadmill that was moving to try to catch it.”
“I would’ve known not to do that at the time.” Teens in backwards baseball caps, or anyone, for that matter, would ever utter this string of words??
Too bored with this story so nothing to say about it. Meanwhile over on Mary Worth we are getting a girl in daisy dukes with a bare midriff!
And they are talking about their photos on Instagram. (No not saying insta). Moy is totally with it, no discman references there!
Agh, I take that back. There are Marcus Welby references today.
I’ve got it. Batiuk wants to make “falling off a moving treadmill” replace “falling off the wagon” as a euphemism. He’s convinced himself that it’s brilliant.
No, just NO.
But I suspect you are correct.
Does this incident result in Funky breaking his nose? That would explain his profile in panel 3.
Well Backwards Cap Guy is my favorite character now.
Once again, this is an AA MEETING. I realize that the setting doesn’t matter, Batiuk just needs to get a group of people for Funky or whoever to bloviate at for a week or two, but holy cats, this is disrespectful. It’s disrespectful in universe to let Funky ramble on about his stupid Discman (if I were spectating this, I’d be genuinely worried whether this old man had some dementia), and it’s disrespectful to real life 12-steppers in that it shows absolutely no awareness or understanding of how these meetings actually work.
Hang in there, Backwards Cap Guy. And Headscarf Lady, and the rest of you who are stunned into silence.
Yeah, it would have made a lot more sense to have Funky telling this story to Crazy at the pizza counter, or Crazy and DSH at the Komix Korner. This is completely out of place at an AA meeting.
Or Les during one of their dumb jogging hangouts!
And yet as bad as it is, it’s still not as bad as Harry Dinkle using a church choir as a monument to his own greatness a few weeks back…
In addition to everything else that’s atrocious about this story: if this is the second-to-last Walkman in the world, why the hell is Funky using it? Batiuk’s plots aren’t even logical by his own stupid rules. For a guy who writes so many stories about collectibles, he sure doesn’t know anything about how it works.
Not-Summer is just staring directly at us now, silently begging for help that nobody is able to give.