Joke Free Day

I don’t quite get today’s strip. There really doesn’t seem to be anything more to it beyond “haha, wouldn’t it be funny if drug stores had free ice cream days?”, which is slightly amusing but not super funny. Based on his facial expressions, this does seem to be the happiest Funky has ever been in his life. I’m guessing either he just flat out stole the medicine, or the reason why Holly is taking barrels of Advil is because Funky swiped her painkillers.

44 Comments

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44 responses to “Joke Free Day

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This one isn’t even running on fumes anymore. The tank is bone dry and the story is slowly rolling backwards down the hill. Maybe Holly can put the ice cream on her injured leg until Funky is capable of focusing and obtaining her pain medication…whenever that might be.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    “The further bad news what that I had to stop at Montoni’s on the way home because two old codgers who’d been hogging a booth all day were trying to pay their bill with a sock full of pennies, and by the time I got it straightened out all the ice cream melted. Can I make you a milk shake?”

    The humor in the strip this week has been the equivalent of that freezer-burned, frost-encrusted scoopful of the least popular flavor in a carton of Vanilla/Chocolate/Strawberry that someone left in the back of the refrigerator, behind the box of frozen brussels sprouts.

    Since when is Free Ice Cream Day a pharmacy thing? Maybe back when there were local independent drug stores or in affiliated chains like Sun-Ray, but nowadays, when four or five mega chains (you all know which ones) have a nationwide stranglehold, I doubt it. Also, I always thought the thing that happened every 2,000 years was Jesus incarnating himself and coming down to Earth. Is Free Ice Cream Day a sign of the End Times?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Wow, you called today’s CrankshaftCrankshaft.

      • Mr. A

        Are we supposed to recognize that waitress as some ten-years-younger FW character, or is she just Random Westviewian #5263?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I thought it was supposed to be Rachel. The hair color is wrong (blonde instead of red), but otherwise it looks like her. Maybe she died it at some point, because women amirite?

          • billytheskink

            Agree. If it is anyone in particular its Rachel with mis-colored hair. If it was Mindy she would recognize her grandfather (with most characters, I wouldn’t be surprised if TB forgot this detail, but mentioning Crankshaft is Mindy’s defining trait) and when he remembers she exists at all, TB openly and publicly despises Sadie Summers, who never had hair this long post-high school anyways.

            The other Montoni’s waitresses in days of yore were Lefty and Lisa… and we know it isn’t either of them.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Oddly, Rachel is always shown with red hair during the daily strips. OTOH, I’ve seen a couple of Sunday strips where Rachel is blonde.

            Doesn’t Chuck Ayers color the strip on Sundays, and somebody at the syndicate colors the strip the other days? I believe I read that somewhere.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Anybody who has waited tables won’t find that strip funny at all. Not that they ever find the strip funny.

        Here’s hoping the Montoni’s staff makes Crankshaft wait until they count out the contents of his penny sock. Better still, count it out directly in front of him. If he’s short, hand him an apron and make him wash dishes.
        Waitress: Why, Mr. Crankshaft, that apron perfectly matches your jacket and hat.

        What is a penny sock? Is it all pennies, or can there be other coins in there as well? I performed a web search on “penny sock” and received results for penny stocks and penny sock patterns.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Paying with pennies is something people do when they’re intentionally being jerks. There are tons of stories of people paying traffic fines, court settlements, and the like with pennies, because they think it annoys the recipient. Which it doesn’t much, because mechanical coin-sorting machines exist. They’ll just take it to the bank and deposit it like they would any cash. Or refuse it, because agencies and businesses are not compelled to accept cash. I’ve even heard that some local laws that forbid the practice.

          It amazes me that Tom Batiuk thinks Ed’s penny sock is cute. It’s not. Paying with pennies is usually done for hostile reasons, and even that practice is old and lame. It’s also disgusting. Because, you know, that thing was on Ed’s foot at one point! You really think it’s cute to bring your stinky-ass sock full of old metal and hand it to someone whose job is handling other people’s food? Eww.

          • The Duck of Death

            It’s worth noting that social-justice crusader extraordinaire, Skip Rawlings, thinks it’s hilarious to pay for two meals with a dirty, sweat-crusted (better hope it’s just sweat) sock containing probably $2.67 worth of pennies, along with the admonition, “keep the sock.” As noted above, paying with pennies is the passive-aggressive asshat move of all time. Skip is all for the Workers of the World, until he actually encounters an actual downtrodden worker, in which case he can’t conceal his shit-eating grin at the mistreatment she’s being forced to tolerate at his hands, because he’s the Almighty Customer. And yes, the mistreatment is at Skip’s hands. If any dining companion of mine tried to pay the bill with pennies, I’d push the pennies away, play it off to the server as if it were a gag, pay the bill myself, and never speak to that person again. Because the way you treat servers and those “”beneath”” you <–(needed two sets of quotes) is 100% a window into your true self and your level of arrogance and entitlement. Skip is revealed to be a hypocrite, an entitled and sadistic asshole. Crankshaft is too, but we already knew that.

            I can't help but add: Look at the repulsed expression on Rachel(?)'s face, as this gross, ancient old man radically underpays his bill with a couple hundred pennies held in his used undergarment, which he thrusts into this pretty young girl’s unwilling hand. DISGUSTING. Meanwhile, his equally gross, ancient friend looks on, leering. Tom, WTF is wrong with you?

            Oh, and PS: You just know these two camped out for 2 hours during lunch rush, ordering one slice of pizza each and water “with plenty of sugar and lemons on the side.”

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            You just know these two camped out for 2 hours during lunch rush, ordering one slice of pizza each and water “with plenty of sugar and lemons on the side.

            Yeah, it reminds me of Darrin and Jessica’s “virtual ice cream date” where Darrin sat in the fancy coffee shop during rush hour not drinking any coffee.

            To be fair though, Montoni’s doesn’t have a rush hour.

          • The Duck of Death

            Well, you may be right that they have no lunch rush. However, they seem to be the only pizza place in the Westview-Centerville Metroplex, judging by Flatcap McOnearm’s statement about going to “that pizza place in Westview.” You’d think they’d have a decent amount of lunch customers just for that reason alone. I mean, where do the strippers eat before their shift starts at The Valentine?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            where do the strippers eat before their shift starts at The Valentine?

            Toxic Taco. Because it’s also their other job.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Thanks, I’m aware certain abhorrent people pay off bills with pennies. I believe I read in one of those articles that the scrap value of the pennies was worth more than the dollar amount being paid off.

            I’m just not familiar with the concept of a “penny sock.” Can nickels, dimes, and quarters be put in a “penny” sock? Why use a cloth sock when you can use a piggy bank or a jar?

            Here’s hoping Ed just gave the waitress a 1943 copper penny. Almost all 1943 pennies were struck in steel due to a shortage of copper during World War II. A 1943 copper penny is extremely rare and is worth an average of $85,000 (I just looked it up).

            Waitress: Wow! Thanks for the $85,000 tip, mister!

        • My assumption is that “penny sock” is yet more terrible word play, this time on “penny stock.”

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Thanks for the compliment, Rusty, but somehow I have the feeling there are as-yet-undiscovered Stone Age tribes in the jungles of Borneo who saw today’s “C-Shaft” punchline popping up at some point this week. That still doesn’t explain the s***-eating grin on Skippy’s face, as though he finds it hilarious that a pizzeria waitress is expected to count out the thousand-plus pennies their bill must have totaled. Oh, and she can keep the sock. Ha ha ha, we’re making minimum-wage workers’ lives even more tedious.

      • hitorque

        Those two insufferable asshole cheapskates go to the most iconic pizza joint in northeast Ohio, order **ONE** glass of ice water and **ONE** glass of Pepsi/Dr. Pepper/Iced Tea, spend an hour taking up a booth and lamenting the fact that downtrodden working-class schmoes in the flyover states can’t catch a break in today’s America anymore, then they enjoyed their free refills until their bladders puffed up like the Michelin Man, and now Eddie Krankenschaaften has the unmitigated GALL to smugly hand this nasty-assed sock full of unsorted pennies and nickels to some poor waitress busting her hump for $6.65 an hour plus tips… Great self-awareness, Batiuk… Fucking self-righteous hypocrites…

  3. I think this is just supposed to be an overly elaborate story made up by Funky to excuse his lack of medicine. “Oh crap, they’re out of Tranquil Repose (r). I’ll buy her some ice cream to make up for it.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Just a cheap ripoff of free comic book day. Blech..

    • The Duck of Death

      OR…. Flunky, known addict in a family of addicts, snarfed half the Vicodin and pocketed the other half on his way home from the pharmacy. He needed to figure out a way to distract Holly. She won’t ask too many questions with her mouth full of “free” ice cream.

  4. William Thompson

    I dunno . . . I grew up in a southern California suburb that had a Thrifti-Drug, which was sort-of a large five-and-dime store that had a pharmacy in the back and and an ice-cream parlor near the entry. But that was fifty or sixty years ago and they only sold ice cream in cones. Maybe Batiuk is getting fuzzily nostalgic for something like that? He couldn’t have spent all his childhood mooning over “Radio Ranch,” could he?

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Yeah, I don’t suppose it’s entirely out of the realm re: a pharmacy selling ice cream, so that didn’t really irk me in any particular way. I read it as being more of a fat joke…big fatso Funky can’t control his food impulses…than anything else.

  6. Sourbelly

    Tina Belcher voice: “Free ice cream? In this economy?”

    Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. As Mr. Spiff said yesterday, there’s really nothing to say about this… stuff, at this point. I’m not begging for more Dinkle stuff, but I’m not NOT begging for it.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    Doesn’t TomBa know that since 1984 July has been celebrated as National Ice Cream Month and that the third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day with all of the associated freebies and discounts?

    And I wonder what could possibly have prompted the attempted joke about a celebration occurring once every 2000 years?

  8. billytheskink

    I have two takes on this CIDU.

    One is that Funky bought all of this ice cream and is being coy about it, not unlike how my father reflexively tells anyone who asks where he got something that he has given to them that it “came in the mail”.

    The other take is that I shouldn’t care enough to have an opinion about this.

  9. Hitorque

    Could have just merged yesterday and today…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nah, he has days to fill. The cartoonist code states never do in one strip what could be stretched out over several strips.

  10. The Duck of Death

    Tom gets bored with his own stories even faster than we do. He’ll do one or two strips that start to tell a story. Then it’s as if he realizes how dull the whole thing is, and just starts to insert random ideas. Not even jokes, just ideas.

    What’s remarkable is that he thinks the resulting work, which he himself was too bored to even bother following through on, should be met with rapturous acclaim by the public, critics, and awards committees.

  11. batgirl

    Sure, it’s in service to a lame half-joke, but Funky has done something unexpected and nice for his wife. And the half-joke is about him brushing it off with ‘it was free!’, as opposed to the ‘sugar daddy’ shtick.
    Do we ever see Les or Dinkle do some small nice thing for their wives? Those marriages seem to be all about the woman attending on the genius who deigns to share his life with her.
    We don’t see anything of Becky and John together since they got married. Wally and Rachel might as well be just co-workers. Harry and Donna were last seen together in the anniversary salad dressing arc (which was at least about going out for dinner together). We’ve seen Funky and Holly going for walks together, reading together and just hanging out. Part of it is probably that Funky gets most of the everyschlub dad-joke strips by default, but still, these occasional flashes of sweetness, like iridescent soap-bubbles in the dirty dishwater.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky and Holly seem to be the only couple in Westview who genuinely like each other. And you’re right, a lot of their interactions are sweet.

      But it’s impossible to reconcile them against Funky being an absolute jerk most of the time. He had no interest in Holly’s majorette performance; he’s not doing anything about Melinda’s sick manipulation of her, and he upset Holly while she was being wheeled into surgery. And that’s just from this arc. It’s like a cycle of abuse. It randomly switches between love and contempt, like abusers often do. Les Moore does the same thing. “Oh, Cayla, I love you so much I’m inviting you to Hollywood to help me protect Lisa!” That’s one hell of a mixed message.

      To say nothing of Funky Winkerbean‘s overarching theme of toxicniceguyism. If anything, this reinforces it. Oh, that Funky’s such a nice guy for bringing Holly that book from the store, and going to get her medications! But he’s absent when she needs any real support. And not even like Tim Taylor in Home Improvement, where he goes too far with a joke and then learns he needs to take his wife’s needs more seriously.

    • be ware of eve hill

      We did kind of see Rachel and Wally have a date night last year during the Adeela vs. the I.C.E. story arc. Rachel was supposed to meet Wally at Montoni’s for their date night, but he wasn’t there. Cory was purposely being a dick to Rachel, insinuating that Wally and Adeela were “off somewhere”. Of course, Batty has to have Rachel fear that Wally and Adeela are having an affair. Oh, those silly women of Funky Winkerbean. What a bunch of jealous harpies. Always jumping to the wrong conclusion. Turns out things were innocent and Wally was just teaching Adeela how to drive and was accompanying her for the driver’s test.

      Later on, Rachel and Wally were about to enter a movie theater (the Valentine, of course) when Wally received a phone call. It was Adeela who apparently had no one else to call. In a forced and contrived story line, Adeela volunteered for a pizza delivery because she wanted to “try out her driver’s license”. The delivery was a sting, and she’s been arrested by the I.C.E. 🙄

      I’m willing to bet Adeela isn’t on Rachel’s Christmas card list.

      • Mr. A

        That arc was a rare blend of nonsensical, straining for relevance, and completely bonkers. That’s why I chose it for my user pic.

        If you’ll forgive my rant…I still don’t buy Batiuk’s explanation of how ICE confused Adeela with Other Adeela. I understand that ICE’s software matched her driver’s license to some supermarket surveillance footage, the agents weren’t going to trust Adeela’s word over the computer’s, yadda yadda yadda….but Batiuk didn’t explain why the supermarket footage was relevant. ICE didn’t need it to figure out where Adeela lived, because that information would be on her license. And they couldn’t be using it as their sole evidence that “our” Adeela was Other Adeela, because—as far as we know—the computer had no reason to think that the woman at the supermarket was Other Adeela either. It only makes sense if there’s some third photo record that the computer was matching both those things against, or if there was some external witness testimony about who the woman at the supermarket was. If this is the case, it is never explained.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Sorry, I missed your reply yesterday.

          No need to forgive. Rant away. Mind if I join you?

          While the Adeela vs I.C.E. certainly was an interesting premise, it certainly fizzled out in a manner only Batty can provide. Bill Clinton traveled out to Podunk, Ohio as a favor to Funky because he ate at Montoni’s once? I.C.E releases Adeela because Clinton said so? Clinton takes a pizza or two as payment for getting Adeela out? Couldn’t Clinton have handled the situation from his home in New York, or wherever? Adeela is dropped off at Montoni’s, not her home. Sure, after going through an ordeal like she has, the first place she wants to be is her workplace. The I.C.E. agents return at the end of the story for more pizza and return the pizza bag? Could that story have ended any more anticlimactic? That story was too dull, simple-minded and naive. After I read the final Sunday strip of the story arc, my forehead was on my desk… it was there for quite a while.

          I.C.E. Agent Yeah, we’re here for more of that great pizza, like the one we stole while mistakenly arresting an innocent woman. But we were only following orders! No hard feelings, eh? And if you give us a special 100% discount, we may return your delivery car for just a minimal impound fee!”

          And as you wrote, Adeela was assumed guilty because she had the same first name as Other Adeela and all Muslim women look alike to a poorly written software program. Sure, Batty, that’s not offensive at all. Batty doesn’t let facts and logic stand in the way of his “storytelling”. A schoolchild could write better.

      • hitorque

        I still can’t get over the fact that Wally’s idea of a “big romantic date night” was watching some 1950s horror movie schlock at the Valentine… I’ve commented countless times before how laughably low the bar is set for Funkyverse men in their relationships with their significant others, and half the time the don’t even meet that standard.

        I also want to remind folks that Wally is supposed to be the fucking manager at Montoni’s yet he was spending a sizable amount of his shift abandoning his job to teach Adeela how to drive…

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Yesterday I wrote:
    Okay, that’s the “bad news”. What’s the “good news”? Will we find out tomorrow, or will Batty totally forget? My money is on the latter. 😂

    Wrong again. How can I be wrong about Batty EVERY single solitary time?!

    Here’s one. There will be a Funky Winkerbean comic strip tomorrow, and it will be lousy.

    If I’m wrong, there will either be no strip at all, or it may actually be good.

  13. Mr. A

    I want to know what Funky means by “Free Ice Cream Day”. An intentional promotion would never give three full tubs of ice cream to a single customer. Maybe the drugstore’s freezer broke, so they started giving the ice cream away because it was all going to melt anyway? And we’re supposed to understand that from context? Or maybe Batiuk didn’t tell Ayers how much ice cream to draw, and Ayers made the three-tubs decision.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like to think they gave the ice cream away because it was so bad nobody was buying any of it. Just like Funky did in his New York Montoni’s branch.

    • Melissa Jones

      “The freezer broke” is the best explanation I can think of, too.

      One thing I noticed: Why did Batiuk draw the middle ice cream carton so that Funky’s hand obscured the ice cream flavor? I assume that the middle carton was butter pecan because the picture of the ice cream was dark beige or light tan, but why did Batiuk only include the letters “tter”? Would it have been so difficult to include the whole phrase “butter pecan”? He could have include at least part of the letter “u,” which would have made it easier for readers to figure out the flavor. Better yet, he could have made the middle flavor strawberry. Then the picture on the carton would have shown a scoop of pink ice cream, and if he only had room for four letters, most people could figure out that “erry” represented the last four letters of “strawberry.”

  14. Maxine of Arc

    There’s no such thing as free ice cream day, right? Funky just bought Holly some ice cream since he failed to locate the tubs of ibuprofen that definitely do exist, and he’s joking about it? In which case that’s kind of sweet, except that it is so unclear I had to use those question marks just now.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s Tom Batiuk’s usual lack of clarity. An ice cream promotion/giveaway is plausible. But Funky coming with home three boxes of the stuff implies the store just wanted to get rid of it. Which raises the question of how noble a gesture this actually is. It reminds me of Kirstie Alley’s nightmare about being married to John Travolta in Look Who’s Talking:

    • Mr. A

      Huh. I didn’t consider that Funky might be joking. I guess the “every 2000 years” might be intended to indicate that? Because it’s so implausible that his previous statement must also be untrue, purely by association?

      Eh…maybe not. Funky’s facial expressions seem pretty sincere. I’d expect a sly, wink-wink expression if he was doing a bit.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The problem is the “2000 years.” That’s not a random placeholder for “a long time.” In western culture, it has a very specific meaning. Maybe that’s the intent, but… getting three free cartons of store-brand ice cream is as momentous as the Son of God being crucified to save your soul from eternal torment? Really? It doesn’t even work as an exaggeration, because there’s no reason for Funky to even be ironically excited about this.

        • The Duck of Death

          THANK YOU, BJr6K, for articulating what was nagging at me. “2000 years” is not, as you say, a random large amount. It has strong Christian overtones in our culture. What a strange number to pick.

          As I look at the art, it’s clear that those are half-gallons. No “free ice cream day” would give away 1-1/2 gallons of ice cream to each customer, as others have mentioned, so once again Batiuk’s meaning is totally unclear. Is he suggesting that literally every customer gets 192 ounces of ice cream for free? Or is he trying to handwave this ice cream buying spree away by making a sort of dad joke about it?