The Bailout or the Boot?

Link to today’s strip.

Logan, woman to fictional girl, I think this better be your last potentially romantic date with your good pal Malcolm.

I mean, I guess he’s tall. And next to cowlick Connor and certified Michelin Manlet Bernie, he’s okay looking. Yeah, he’s got a receding hairline, but what fresh-faced Westview teen doesn’t have one? I mean just look the crowd at that graduation party you went to!

That’s a lotta kids in baseball caps for a pool party…

But girl. I’m seeing some SERIOUS red flags. You better put him right back in the friendzone.

I know from my work at the gas station, that a lot of the young high schoolers these days have debit cards. All well and good. But a credit card?

I remember the day my mom handed me a credit card with my own name on it. She said it was linked to her account. She said she would be able to see everything I bought. She said it was only for emergencies. Like if I was stranded in a blizzard and needed a hotel. (Many of my mom’s worst case scenarios involve blizzards. It’s also why she refuses to get rid of the compressed bale of old blankets wedged in her linen closet.) She gave me one of those serious mom stares. I felt like I was walking around with the nuclear football tucked into my nylon wallet.

But Malcolm tells us that this is HIS credit card. I guess that means Malcolm is 18, and has an independent source of income. Which would seem like points his in favor. But then he says he must have maxed it out and didn’t realize it? And so Logan has to pay for the latest rehashed Marvel product?

I don’t have a smart phone. My phone has a calculator, and always knows what time it is, so it’s already smarter than me. I had a smart phone for about six month, before I ruined it jumping into a pond to fish out a newborn calf. Now I’m playing a game of chicken with a 10 year old diet-blackberry Samsung to see which quits first, the phone or the entire 3G Network. (Looks like the phone will win.)

But I have seen the wizardry available with the internet in the palm of your hand. I’ve seen people at the checkout have a card decline, pull out their phone and pay it off, or transfer money from one account to another, in minutes. I’ve seen people glancing at their phones and checking their balance before telling me exactly how much in sticky quarters they’re going to give me to pay for their pack of Camels so they can run the rest on their cards.

Meaning, any tech literate young zoomer is going to be able to pay down the balance on their credit card with their phone on the spot.

Meaning, Malcolm not only has maxed out his credit card, he lacks the funds in his bank account to pay it down. And he didn’t think to check on this before his very special date with Logan? A date where he only brought his credit card? He’s already in debt, but was going to tack interest charges onto a date?

And I know most starting out credit cards have pretty low credit lines, but still $1000, $500?

Then he looks Logan in the eye, face both tired and pained, and tells her that this is nothing…barely peanuts…to the crippling debt he’s planning to inflict on himself. Malcolm already has a solid figure in his mind, so much so that he already counts that debt as HIS before he’s sat through a single lecture. Tens of thousands of dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands, more money than most people make in a decade, are already hanging over his head, future promise bucks handed from lender to unnamed college in his name. For what?

Why is he going to a college expensive enough to drain the light from his eyes? What are his plans? Does he have a career path that requires a degree? Because he isn’t being bankrolled by scripture sales from the Cult of Dead St. Lisa. He doesn’t have an Endless Summer to spend puttering around a university changing his major from one useless certificate to another.

College can be a rewarding place to learn, to find yourself, to make new friends, to fall in love, and have exciting experiences. So can summer camp. You do not go 40 grand in debt for summer camp. You go 40 grand in debt because you have a clear goal that necessitates that sacrifice.

Come on, Logan! Surely with your ABC News boosted business blog, you should be able to talk him out of the biggest and most expensive mistake an aimless young graduate can make:

A four year, $200,000, liberal arts degree.

28 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

28 responses to “The Bailout or the Boot?

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “It’s SO EXCITING how we just graduated, isn’t it?”

    “Life is a soul-murdering pit of misery, woe, despair and disappointment. Nothing left to do now but count down the days until I die broke and alone.”

    “So where do you see yourself in five years?”

    “Teacher, WHS. Duh.”

  2. Sourbelly

    Well, he’s TRYING to save money by buying a dirt-cheap knock-off Cleveland Guardians T-shirt made in Laos or something. It lasted for a panel or two in yesterday’s strip, but today the color has drained away by panel 2. And who knows where he got those fake eyebrows. They’re traveling all over his face.

    CBH, thanks for somehow giving us interesting content during these barren, desolate strips. Like, I have a smartphone, but I barely know how to use it. Because I just can’t get myself to care.

  3. billytheskink

    Who is buying things for college around the time of their high school graduation? I can tell you who isn’t… young men.

    I can’t believe TB missed an opportunity to complain about movie ticket prices.

    • Y. Knott

      He’s saving that evergreen topic for a full week of Crankshaft strips. Oh, the joy and merriment that will be!

      • J.J. O'Malley

        The merriment in “Cranskshaft” will come when Ed absent-mindedly enters the old Valentine, thinking he’s going to catch an afternoon showing of “The Phantom Empire,” only to find himself getting a lap dance from a pair of strippers named Peaches Flambe and Bertha Venation.

        As for today’s “FW,” the idea of a graduating high school senior using his own credit card instead of a bank debit card (or a bank app on his smartphone) for a movie date means adding “how teens pay for things” to that encyclopedic list of things Batiuk knows nothing about.

        • The Duck of Death

          Yes, “whoopsie,” poor old Crankshaft had no idea there would be strippers inside the Valentine Gentlemen’s Club, Live Girls!, 21+ only.

          I can’t wait till he buys a lap dance and pays for it with his rancid, athlete’s foot-caked penny sock.

          I have a feeling Bertha Venation is gonna be swinging that sock over her head and delivering it right back to Crankshaft’s stingy mug.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Bertha Venation frequently works with Bro Ken Blossoms, and always In Tolerance!

            It’s no Struggle coming up with D.W. Griffith jokes after Magill’s three-volume encyclopedia of silent movies.

            Put down the gun, Zanzibar, and get Miss Desmond ready for her close-up.

          • Gerard Plourde

            The names of the performer sparked a memory. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s the burlesque house in Philadelphia was the Trocadero AKA “The Troc”. The theater would advertise its performers on the entertainment page of the Philadelphia Daily News, the city’s tabloid newspaper. One year the headliner during the week of December 7th was named Pearl Harbor and the tag line in the ad said “She’ll sink your ship.”

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          the idea of a graduating high school senior using his own credit card instead of a bank debit card (or a bank app on his smartphone)

          Or, y’know, cash. I understand that’s still a thing. Who the hell goes on a movie date without enough money to even pay for a movie?

          • The Duck of Death

            Waited till graduation day to awkwardly ask you out…. 🚩
            Asked you out because you “looked really nice”… 🚩🚩
            Doesn’t have enough money to pay for his own movie ticket… 🚩🚩🚩
            Doesn’t keep track of how much money he has… 🚩🚩🚩🚩
            Fallen, mopey face… 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩
            Already drearily resigned to a shitty, hopeless future of unpayable debt… 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

            Girl, that’s more red flags than a May Day parade in Red Square, and you haven’t even gotten a third of the way into your first date.

            DTMFA!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            You’re absolutely right, but this is Funky Winkerbean. “Oh, I’m just so awkward and shy and hopeless, I need a mommy figure in my life to pay for my comic book movies” is Tom Batiuk’s idea of a pick-up line. He thinks women should find this behavior attractive. And in Westview, they do. Because the whole point of Westview is for Batiuk to announce how he thinks the world should work, not tell stories that reflect how it actually does work. The characterization of women in this world is so wrong it’s insulting.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Seriously. Batty never heard of a teenage boy asking his parents for money?

            My Son: Mom, can I please have $20 to take my date to a movie?
            Me: Is $20 enough?
            My Son: Hmm, I need gas money too. Can you please make it $30?

    • Epicus Doomus

      He’s preparing to leave for Generica University, where he’ll major in “undecided” and join Delta Y Bother, where they’ll throw parties that are OK, I guess. Oh, to be young and able to start the race to my eventual demise again, eh?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Notice where he’s not going to college: Kent State. Because TB’s precious Kent State can’t be the villain of a student loan story, no no noooooo.

  4. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  5. The Duck of Death

    The hangdog face of blank, numb resignation… the attitude of permanent bitter victimhood that puts a dreary spin on even the happiest situations…

    Malcolm Eccchs is just Funky in a different character skin.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh, those student loans! They…. exist.

  7. Dood

    Batiuk loves the smell of awards in the morning.

  8. The Duck of Death

    Great analysis of the hair, CBH. For those of you who don’t deal much with teenagers, you should know that the currently fashionable hair for teenage boys (sometimes called TikTok hair) is a very poofy, combed-forward, quasi-mushroom shape. In otherwords, the exact diametric opposite of anything Ayers has ever drawn. I’ll try to attach a picture below, but if it doesn’t work, just search for TikTok hair.

  9. The Duck of Death

    As far as whether that’s an albino hedgehog in the background, I’m surprised at you, CBH, for not recognizing Pogo Possum. Clearly a tip o’the Funky Felt Tip to the great Walt Kelly.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    On top of everything CBH said, Malcolm is being really condescending here. His date sold a business blog to ABC News before she entered high school! Does he think she needs an explanation of how loans work? Or that she wouldn’t have her own education plans? We’ve never seen Malcolm do anything but smirk dumbly at things. He didn’t even have a name until yesterday. And now his education is oh-so-important, while her only role is to pay for his comic book movies. The surrogate mommying has already started.

  11. batgirl

    Guessing that TB saw a news story about the Student Debt Crisis a year or so ago. Even odds whether it’s fodder for a) hard-hitting award-bait serious story about young people and usurious loan practices; b) half-hearted smirk-bait gags over a couple of days.

  12. The Duck of Death

    Not just awards bait about how oppressive student loans are — awards bait about how oppressive they are to POC specifically. Wow, Batty, dust off that space you were saving for that Pulitzer!

    A couple days ago I was praising Batty for his general avoidance of politics. But student loans are a hot topic at this very moment. We kid about awards bait, but I hope he’s not gonna go there. What can he say other than, as BJr6K said so eloquently, “Oh, those student loans! They…. exist.”

    On the other hand, remember the Adeela deportation arc? He was all set to make some kind of Grand Statement About Immigration, or so we feared. But it turns out his statement was: If a person is gonna be stalked and kidnapped by sinister agents and whisked onto a plane immediately with no hearing, the sinister agents should make sure it’s the right person getting kidnapped.

    But if the wrong person gets abducted, Bill Clinton will interrupt his armchair reading and help out. Oh, and the agents aren’t so sinister after all! They enjoy a slice of Montoni’s just like the rest of us.

    So much for the Grand Statement About Immigration.

    Guessing that even if this is intended as award bait, it’ll fizzle the same way.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk serves two masters. He wants to be at the forefront of all these hot-button social issues so he can fish for awards. But I think he knows on some level that his innocuousness is key to his survival.

      And Batiuk has a third problem, which is his complete aversion to conflict. Which is a good skill if you want to write deathless legacy crap forever, but not if you want to win awards or recognition. Or if you just want to tell an entertaining story, since conflict is what drives narrative.

      So we get all these empty, tedious, antagonist-free stories about how Guns Are Bad, Cancer Is Bad, Immigration Control is Bad, and apparently now Student Loans Are Bad. Batiuk doesn’t dare take a stand on anything. Because if he did, he’d quickly find himself out of a lot of newspapers. And then where would he tell his comic book publishing stories?

  13. hitorque

    Yeah, that’s right asshole… Bitch about your future student loans (probably between 3-5% interest) when you already got a maxed out credit card (charging a usurious 19-24% interest) even before setting foot on campus… Exactly what fucking “stuff” did you max out your card for this early? What could you possibly need to buy this soon after graduation besides maybe some new socks and underwear?

    You know what, I’m going take it easy on these idiots this week — It’s not Les, it’s not Funkensteiger, it’s not Harold, it’s not Dinkle and it’s not related in any way to St. Lisa or comic books or vintage Hollywood or time travel so I need to recognize my blessings when I see them…