Pickle Lane

Hey SOSFers, thanks for doing my job for me on today’s strip! Very much appreciated.

Now I’ll give Dinkle this, he’s historically been quite honest in his assessment of himself in regards to retirement being hard for him. Harriet, on the other hand, is really the one who should “pick a lane“. She was the one who arranged for him to unretire in the first place.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

27 responses to “Pickle Lane

  1. William Thompson

    But–but–wasn’t Holly talking to Harry on the phone just yesterday? Did she suddenly remembered she should have shown up at his door unannounced and started the conversation in person? Did Batiuk decide that a Westview telephone has a magical power to suck people through the phone lines? Or is the artist a Martian who is so unfamiliar with humans that he can’t create distinctive female characters? Is Westview the retirement district for Stepford?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    After fifty-plus years of non-stop band directing 24/7/365, Harriet is finally putting her foot down, dammit. At least until she’s completely disarmed by a wry remark, a frisky smirk and maybe some pizza. Then she’ll go right back to not giving a shit again.

    “Pick a lane”…I think he already has there, Harriet. And given what we know about the relationship, I think Becky is “subbing” for Harry, in a manner of speaking.

    • hitorque

      Harriet must not know her ongoing role as an enabler, since when her dear hubby first announced his involvement with the church choir and later the Rose Bowl Parade, she couldn’t tear off her clothes and hop in the bed for a marathon session of celebration sex fast enough…

  3. Gerard Plourde

    The one-time alumni homecoming band is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Harriet (who, as we’ve seen, wasn’t keen on having him retire in the first place)?

    And I don’t think “pick a lane” is the appropriate comment. As many jobs as he has, they are are directly related to teaching and rehearsing music. There are (I think) some differences between directing a band and a choir but it doesn’t seem like a big stretch.

  4. I’m frequently left with the question, “Who was this written for?”

    It certainly wasn’t the reader, as an non-irony readers are long since gone. It can’t be for Batiuk himself, as there’s no sign of any craft in the work, so I don’t see how he can take any satisfaction in it.

    Is it just for the Rose Bowl committee folks, so they can fill in Dinkle’s biography? I can’t think of anyone.

    Because, we all know that despite doing all these things, there’s never going to be a moment when Dinkle performs less than flawlessly. He could take on 50 daily activities and Batiuk would have him do them perfectly each time, and he wouldn’t even get winded.

  5. none

    To quote the 9/22/21 blog entry again:

    “This year, or slightly next year on New Year’s Day, the Tournament of Roses Parade is going to feature a very special float […] with a marching band theme devoted to band directors and their influence on the lives of their students.”

    We’ve had multiple strips like today’s where were given a detailed list about what we typically don’t see Dinkle doing.

    We’ve had a week of strips seeing him tutor children and it is an uninspired joyless exercise for everyone involved.

    We’ve had countless strips seeing him doing fundraising crap.

    Has there been one strip – one single strip – where a student was able to demonstrate if not even plainly state what kind of positive influence Harry Dinkle has had in their life as a result of his band directing activity? One strip? Even in Act I times? I genuinely want to know, because when the inevitable shilling for the Rose Bowl bullshit comes, I want to know the answer to this question before I ask it of those people.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s weird that the Rose Bowl cross-promotion didn’t start today. Batiuk is already pimping it on his blog, but today’s actual strip has occasion to list all of Dinkle’s activities, and he omits it?

      Tom Batiuk really puts a lot of effort into not putting in any effort.

    • batgirl

      I’ve probably commented on this before, but evidence of any Westview teacher having a positive influence on a student is next to invisible.
      Dinkle taught Becky, who was on her way to a scholarship(?) before the Funkyverse crushed her dreams.
      Bull dragooned Jared Posey into football, where he performed well until sabotaged by the jealous sportos, and he thanked Bull (for caring, I guess?) before vanishing from the strip. The goal-kicking prom queen may also count?
      Bull coached Summer through rehab so she could retain her scholarship to KSU.
      Les hasn’t inspired anyone because his ego won’t allow anyone else to take the spotlight. The occasionally-Black girl on the newsteam seems to have succeeded without Les’s input, or by carefully avoiding it.
      Over in Centerville, Crankshaft half-arsed redemption arcs have the Rough Riders, and the kid(s) who became track stars by running after his bus.
      The best candidate may be the unnamed Westview teacher who criticized Les’s work back when, and theoretically inspired him to continue writing just to spite them.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    Your husband has been picking multiple lanes for years, Harriet: lanes that lead him back to Westview High, to piano lessons at home, to Bedside Manor, to a church in another town, and to Pasadena, CA on New Year’s Day. The one lane he doesn’t choose is the one that would lead him alongside you. How much clearer does Dinkelberg have to make it?

    Maybe he finds her uncommonly long pinky fingers off-putting. I know I do.

  7. Sourbelly

    There’s nothing to like about this shitstrip, except for the fact that it’s impeccably punctual in terms of seasonal changes. September 22nd? Time for the leaves to change orange and start a-fallin’!

    As for the monologue, I can’t care. But I do notice that Harriet has no fingernail on her right pinky finger. I’m focusing on fingernails this week. That might be the key to this whole…never mind.

  8. Lord Flatulence

    She should have said “pick a staff Harry.”

  9. billytheskink

    If anyone doesn’t have a clue as to what retirement is supposed to be, it’s Tom Batiuk.

    Harriet forgot about the community band… or did Dinkle actually quit something?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If anyone doesn’t have a clue as to what retirement is supposed to be, it’s Tom Batiuk.

      Tom Batiuk doesn’t have a clue what a lot of things are supposed to be.

    • Hitorque

      It’s funny because Wally is being cruel to his faithful service dog for the millionth time… And I’m still pissed off at him taking a poor canine to THE FRONT ROW OF AN ARENA HEAVY METALFEST(!) SERIOUSLY MOTHERFUCK THAT ASSHOLE

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That is disgusting. Flinging your spit around is not funny or cute in any context. It’s not a common pitfall of being a band member; it’s something you learn how to do on your first day, or you immediately become very unpopular with your bandmates. I played trombone, so I remember this myself. And subjecting your emotional support animal to this abuse is abhorrent.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    It’s 2021, and Dinkle is still teaching at Westview High School, abusing his band members, selling stupid crap door to door, and setting Holly on fire. He doesn’t have a clue what Act III is about. Pick a lame, Harry!

  11. Mr. A

    Wow, Dinkle looks really different in those 2008 strips. This one in particular—I nearly mistook him for Funky.

    • Gerard Plourde

      That’s Wally. Dinkle is the director who appears with his back to us in Panel 2 (admittedly very tiny).

      • Gerard Plourde

        Sorry, I just saw the strip you linked to. I thought you were referring to the strip billlytheskink posted above.

        The illustration you posted definitely has that “mailed it in” quality.

  12. Dood

    Somehow, Dinkle has stayed out of the deaf lane.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    The Funkyblog is promoting the crappy compilation books again:

    In terms of taking the work to a new place, Lisa was the tip of the spear. Starting with her pregnancy, Lisa was the character who would shepherd my most ambitious efforts to the comics page. Opening new doors seemed to be her specialty.

    • The Duck of Death

      Who writes like that? I’m not talking about the pompously high self-regard — bloviation is nothing new. I’m talking about the AI-like syntax. If you paid me a million dollars, I could never write a single sentence that could pass for a Tom Batiuk sentence. He’s the only human being who downright flunks the Turing test.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Exactly! It sounds like it was written by an AI that doesn’t understand humor, or English, and just mashes together bits and pieces from different phrases it knows. It sounds like “Blue Jeans and Bloody Tears” or “You Can’t Take My Door.” Or a phrase you would invent to characterize someone as a bad writer:

        “Lisa’s pregnancy was the first tip of the spear that opened the new doors to shepherd Tom Batiuk’s most ambitious efforts.” I couldn’t come up with something that absurd if I wanted to mock him.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          It does make you appreciate the unpretentious profundity of Calvin Coolidge’s observation that “when more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results,” that’s for sure (and standing in line).

  14. Gerard Plourde

    Yesterday I wrote “I think it’s safe to say that TomBa would have found Walt Disney’s saying, ‘Keep moving forward’ incomprehensible.”

    Today he illustrates his blog post with a still from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment from “Fantasia”.

    I guess that’ll teach me.

  15. Scott J Lovrine

    Anyone here read today’s Crankshaft? What is it with Batiuk and one-armed characters (complete with rolled up and pinned sleeve?)