Skipping Out

Link to today’s strip.

This week has been a real see-saw for me. Because while Funky himself has been insufferable, and Batiuk deciding to fast track his Act I cast to their late 60’s is just infuriating, Holly has been so darn relatable.

I can’t help it, guys. She just reminds me so much of my mom. There’s not been a single thing she’s said or suggested these past three days that would be out of character for Momma Harriet. From wishing she’d lost weight for a major event, to scoffing at too much nostalgia from high school, to wanting to avoid hours and hours of vaguely remembered former acquaintances pasting on smiles while silently gauging which of them had the most loveless marriage, messiest divorce, or the most messed up grandkids.

I don’t remember the context enough for specifics, but I KNOW my mom has suggested escaping to me while driving to some dreaded social event.

“What if we just kept on going?” She smiles, desperately, trying to psych herself up for a family reunion or wedding of a third cousin’s cousin. “Drive all the way down to your sister’s, and just…hid out?”

Is the choice of the word ‘disillusioned’ weird? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve seen the way my mom’s face falls when talking about a friend’s divorce, or the profligacy of a young adult she’d nurtured as a child. She’d rather not know that the marriage she’d been a bridesmaid for fell apart after infidelity, or the sweet little girl she taught in Sunday School had to get a restraining order on her meth-ed out baby daddy.

If I’m being nicer to Holly and this strip than it deserves, just know that it’s because all it would take is a brunette wash and a pair of glasses, and Holly morphs into my mom. And I love my mom. And if you knew her, you would love her too. And if you didn’t it would be a clear sign that you are a garbage human forever beyond hope of redemption.

I want to thank BJ6K and anneki for bringing the Washington Post article to our attention yesterday. It was the puffiest of puff pieces. It reminded me of those puff balls in the timber around here. You whack it and release a giant yellow cloud of nonsense.

Everyone had their favorite quotes, but mine had to be when he compared the first time skip to a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment. Because yeah, I’d believe that Batiuk has been struck blind on his creative journey. And now he’s sitting there at home, his eyes covered in scales, with no Ananias of an editor to come and peel his blindness away.

FYI: Cows got out again on Monday morning. They thought our neighbors’ corn looked tastier than the dry grass left in our drought stricken pasture. Fixed the fence AGAIN, gave them some big round bales of hay, and they STILL were all standing by the fence this morning, staring longingly at the green stalks on the other side of the woven wire.

Maybe if we could get some REAL RAIN, and not mother nature spitting in contempt on the dusty cracked ground…

Y’all have been amazing in the comments lately! Love all of you!

45 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “Skipping Out

  1. Epicus Doomus

    See, I might be able to relate to this if Holly and Funky were visiting the ol’ hometown for the first time in years, as her apprehension would make sense in that case. But, as we all know, Funky and Holly see EVERYONE in town all the time, as they own the only pizza joint in Westview. Thus, it’s all quite stupid and, as usual, devoid of any imagination at all.

    Unless she’s embarrassed by Funky’s robin egg blue Eastern Bloc car, which makes total sense, as I’d be ducking down if I was a passenger in that thing too.

    “So Holly, long time no see! So what kind of car does YOUR husband drive? Mine drives a 2019 ALTIMA!”

    “(Blushing with shame) Uh, it’s an 2008 Klegg, it’s made in Montenegro.”

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      To be fair, it will go 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene 😉

    • William Thompson

      Maybe we’re about to meet some previously-unmentioned characters who left town after high school, led complex lives and are only now returning to Westview. Despite being sixty-five they have piercings and tinted hair, talk about Botox and plastic surgery, and have led lives of noisy desperation. They will be far more miserable than the classmates who stayed in Westview, and the only surprise will be how Holly and Funky manage to feel more miserable than they do.

  2. RudimentaryLathe?

    I appreciate your personal, kinder take on this week’s arc, CBH. And I also live in a currently drought-cursed Midwestern region so major sympathies there.
    That being said, I don’t like this arc at all; because in the context of Funky and Holly’s life it makes no sense. They were both fairly happy people in high school, and nobody who grew up in Westview ever really left Westview. When they get to the reunion they’re not going to do anything but exchange wry banter with Less and formerly-Crazy-now-just-Irksome Harry, who they see all the time anyway. It’s so. Freaking. Pointless.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I want to know why Holly would risk being seen in public with Funky, after his performance at the retirement planning seminar.

  3. Panel 1: Screw this, Funky, let’s just go to a movie.
    Panel 2: Why?
    Panel 3: Because you and I both know all of these people are losers. Why make ourselves even more depressed than we already are?

    Do any of these dipshits need to see each other again? Also, does this strip have any kind of punchline?

  4. billytheskink

    Is the gag here that Holly, in wanting to skip the reunion to avoid being disillusioned by the reunion, is actually already disillusioned by the reunion?

    I’m not sure the price of popcorn these days will do much for her disillusionment either, to be honest.

  5. sorialpromise

    Cows and raccoons are the best judges of corn.

    CBH, you made me think about my own Mom. She passed away in 2019 at age 95.
    She lived in Keller Texas. I live outside of Kansas City. I flew down to see her, but at the time, I was concerned about packing a razor in my luggage. I asked my Mom, if she could get me a razor. She said yes.
    I arrived. Had a great time with Mom. She always made biscuits and gravy and a cherry pie for me. A day or so after I arrived, I asked her to set out the razor. She did, and later I went to use it. It had hairs in it, not mine. I took it out to ask her about it. She said that it was barely used, that it was fine. She only used it to shave under her arms.
    I told Mom, “You are not helping your argument.”

    This is now the time to honor CBH with a continuation of the Funky golf story:
    Funky day 3:
    Panel 1: Les is getting ready to drive the ball. Off to the far right at a distance are 3 young women.
    Panel 2: A closeup of Funky’s horrified face, as the ball is heading towards the women.
    Panel 3: Funky screams at Les, “You are going to hit the Triplet Twins!” (Continued tomorrow)

    • hitorque

      K.C.?

      Hey! I’m a Jayhawk alum!

      • sorialpromise

        :-P! I will respect you anyways! :-D!
        I am definitely KC Missouri.
        But the best BBQ dead bird in the country is found at Rosedale’s BBQ in KC Kansas! hitorque, I always enjoy your posts! God bless you!
        (My favorite college basketball team are the Jayhawks.
        Rock Chock! [I never know how to pronounce your name.]

      • be ware of eve hill

        I earned my MBA at UMKC.

        No. I did not use my masters to become a night manager at a pizza place like Wally Winkerbean.

    • be ware of eve hill

      You live outside of Kansas City?! No way! We lived in Pleasant Valley for about 27 years. Near the Ford assembly plant in Claycomo.

      I assumed you were a Texan because of your Texas Longhorn avatar.

      • sorialpromise

        No. I just like longhorns. I definitely root for Oklahoma in that college matchup. It is a great sports year if U of Texas, the Oakland Raiders [wherever they choose to play!], and the New York Yankees lose every game. It goes even further. I would not care if the Chiefs went 2-14 every year as long as they beat Oakland twice. (Sad day: my KC Chief Lenny Dawson passed away today.)
        My wife works at the Pleasant Valley Nursing Center. My granddad and uncle owned a garage on 69 Highway just up from the Ford plant. The police are good people, but you never speed through Pleasant Valley.
        Wow! 27 years!!! We have met and never knew it. Small world.

        • be ware of eve hill

          You’re creeping me out. There was a nursing home on Sobbie Road, less than half a mile away from where we lived. Small world, indeed. Pleasant Valley is a small place!

          Mal worked at the Ford plant for 24 years until he retired. We heard they had to shut down the line earlier this year due to the global chip shortage.

          I am saddened to hear Len Dawson passed away. I read he went into hospice care earlier this month. He was a bit before my time, but I knew of him. Mostly as a broadcaster. Both he and Hank Stram.

          I love my Chiefs. CHIEEEEEEFS! I grew up a Browns fan and loved Marty Schottenheimer. Imagine my excitement when he followed us to KC. It wasn’t too hard to change allegiance to the Chiefs.

          I’m not much into baseball. In the 1970s, the Cleveland Indians were pretty much a farm team for the hated New York Yankees. The Indians would develop players, but would trade them to the Yankees because they couldn’t afford to pay them. We went to several Royals games for work related functions, but I was never what you’d call a big fan. I liked to see them win, but wasn’t upset when they lost.

          Damn, you were probably a kind gentleman who held a door open for me as I was dragging around my recalcitrant child.

          Mind blown.🤯

  6. erdmann

    “WKRP in Cincinnati” did this story 40 years ago and did it better.

    • Mela

      Ah yes, the “dips” episode. For those unfamiliar with the plot: Mr. Carlson (Arthur) and his wife Carmen are on their way to attend their college reunion and stop at a diner that they went to on their first date They run into a couple of old classmates who are married to each other, and Arthur discovers that the only reason she asked him out was because she and her friend were pledging to a sorority and had to invite someone on the “dip” list to their dance. Arthur confronts her and she admits it, but also says that she didn’t go to that dance nor join the sorority because she was supposed to show up with a “dip” and she quickly discovered that he wasn’t one. They agree that they’ve had 20 wonderful years together, are both happy with how their lives have turned out, and then they blow off the reunion. It’s a really sweet episode.

      Carmen was only in a handful of WKRP shows, but when she appeared, she and Mr. Carlson were wonderful together. They were respectful to one another and it was obvious that they loved each other. In one fairly short scene, they acknowledge the awkwardness of the past and follow it up with the joy of being together for 20 years, and they didn’t even have to go to the reunion to do that! Somehow, I doubt the strip will be serving up that point of view.

      Forgive me if I got a little wordy. WKRP is probably my favorite show of all time. And it’s late so I’ll leave it to someone else to use “dip list”, Funky, and Les all in the same sentence.

      • erdmann

        Never feel the need to apologize for loving one of the best TV series ever.

      • Jeff M

        I heartily second the Arthur-Carmen relationship as one of the all time best. Really good writing and two terrific actors. True chemistry – despite the fact that Gordon Jump got his start as an actor in educational films for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whereas Allyn Ann McClerie was a Broadway baby who had danced for Agnes deMille, Jerome Robbins, and George Balanchine before she was 20.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    It’s like she’s reading the stage directions:

    HOLLY
    What if we were to skip our high school reunion and just go to a movie instead?

    FUNKY
    And why would you want to do that?

    HOLLY
    (to avoid being disillusioned)
    Oh, no reason.

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    This bit fails because nobody has to go to their reunion. I agree that I have felt like ditching social events (and surprisingly, the ones I dreaded most turned out to be a lot of fun), but I would have no problem skipping a reunion.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      They live in the same town as the high school, and several of their closest friends work there. Not showing up for their 50th reunion would probably lead to more annoying questions than just going and mingling for a bit.

      The small town mindset of, ‘you have to make an appearance or people will talk,’ is a very real thing. It looms over my parents all the time. Even I sucked it up and dragged my sorry butt in for a few hours of my 10 year reunion, even though it was pointless and boring.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The strip never explains that, though. if panel 2 should have been Funky saying that. It would explain why this matters, and why they have to go to it when they don’t want to. It’s almost a plot!

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Fair enough. My high school was in a large suburb of Cleveland, there were lots of kids in my class that I never even met.

        I hope you know I was criticizing the strip, not your parents. This strip doesn’t work because they see most of their classmates every day.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      There’s just nothing driving it. There’s nothing forcing them to attend. There’s no reason Holly doesn’t want to go, there’s no reason Funky does want to go, and things that should be plot-relevant are ignored.

      Like every random premise in Funky Winkerbean, it popped up out of nowhere, and it’s just here to talk in circles about itself for a week. Monday: “We’re going to the class reunion.” Tuesday: “Why do we go to class reunions? Today: “I don’t want to go to the class reunion.” Thursday will be “we’re at the class reunion.” Friday they’ll meet one person at the class reunion. Saturday they’ll say “we went to the class reunion!” Sunday will probably another sepia-toned tribute to Dead Lisa, because the premise week is an excuse to talk about her some more.

      • Charles

        Monday: “We’re going to the class reunion.” Tuesday: “Why do we go to class reunions? Today: “I don’t want to go to the class reunion.” Thursday will be “we’re at the class reunion.” Friday they’ll meet one person at the class reunion. Saturday they’ll say “we went to the class reunion!” Sunday will probably another sepia-toned tribute to Dead Lisa, because the premise week is an excuse to talk about her some more.

        Hey man, that’s MY schtick!

  9. Charles

    Going back to the Washington Post article from yesterday: Do you think Batiuk ever gets annoyed or sad that it’s obvious from these puff pieces that the writer of the article never actually read any of Batiuk’s work? A cursory examination by someone vaguely familiar with the strip for the past 15 years would recognize as obvious that the writer read the press kit from KF, did an interview and wrote his story from that. He didn’t read any of the daily comic strips. He’s certainly not a fan. And he obviously didn’t consider that familiarity with the comic strip was important enough for the piece he was writing. And this was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the strip.

    Keep in mind, I’m not taking issue with the tone or the undue respect shown for the strip in that article. I’m not saying that the guy should have panned the modern day strip, or pointed out the weaknesses in the “big” stories he did mention. I’m just wondering if Batiuk feels deflated or annoyed by the fact that this puff piece could have been written by his press agent: that the writer of it couldn’t even be bothered to look at any of the work that Batiuk’s done for the last 15 or even 50 years.

    I mean, do you think if you asked Michael Cavna any of the details to the suicide story, the PTSD story, the CTE story, or the abuse story, all of which he praised Batiuk for, he would be able to provide anything? That he would have any idea what he was talking about?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I doubt it bothers him, as long as people are talking about him and saying the things he wants. He’s completely blind to his own failings as a writer. He doesn’t have the self-awareness to know his “prestige arcs” are really shit.

      Just look how he handles criticism. The article mentions Comics Curmudgeon, which barely talks about FW anymore, but not this site, which has talked about it almost every day for 12 years. Then it says the critics don’t bother him, because that’s the narrative he wants to tell. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Tom Batiuk as Lord Henry Wotton: the only worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

  10. Dood

    What’s amazing is that the creator was able to troll both the New York Times and the Washington Post in a span of three years. Just imagine the obits.

  11. Maxine of Arc

    We’re in a pretty bad drought here in New England as well, and we finally got a nice big rainstorm yesterday. Unfortunately, the ground in a lot of places was too dry to absorb the water quickly enough, and we got some flooding… and we’re still in a drought.

  12. hitorque

    I had ONE high school reunion (my 10th)… I’d said I’ll do that one and that one only… And my only real reason for going back was to embarrass myself in the alumni basketball game (I was a varsity benchwarmer for three years)… Haven’t been back since — And yes, it probably has something to do with the fact that I didn’t ever win all those olympic gold medals and a world series and fly the F-14D Super Tomcat and earn the Congressional Medal of Honor and marry Halle Berry and get elected to the U.S. Senate and you get the picture… These days I’d just settle for a job I could be proud to tell people about and I don’t even have that…

    I dunno, it’s just weird… I went to a tiny Catholic school that at the time had about 70 seniors… I had friends, but I wasn’t really **close** to anybody and as far as I was concerned, back then I couldn’t graduate and get out fast enough… FWIW I’m not Catholic so it’s not like I moved in the same circles or went to Sunday mass with them but to be fair we weren’t all that close-knit as a class. Some dropped off the radar never to be heard from again almost immediately after graduation… On rare occasions I’ll run into classmates locally and I can loosely keep track of a few others on Facebook. That seems to be the way we all prefer it… If I’m honest with myself I’m mostly an antisocial loner anyways…

    Never, ever attended or even thought about reunions for college or grad school, either… And the funny part is I probably live closer to my old high school than the Von Vinkelbenners live to Westview High…

    TL;DR VERSION: GOD DAMN IT HOTTIE JUST STAY YOUR ASS AT HOME IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GO! NOBODY IS HOLDING A GUN TO YOUR HEAD!

  13. hitorque

    HOTTIE BUDD: Filled with existential dread and anxiety about being seen as a failure and embarrassment in front of her peers and would literally prefer having a root canal instead of attending the same reunion featuring the same people she’s been attending all her life…

    ALSO HOTTIE BUDD: Wild dogs couldn’t drag her away from performing with the alumni marching band at last year’s homecoming even though she knew her ass was grossly out of shape and decades out of practice but her ego wouldn’t let her admit it so she ends up breaking her leg on the uneven muddy turf and ruining the entire halftime show…

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      But Mom made her do that!

      And probably had a hand in writing *Singed Hair.*

      I wonder what Melinda’s opinion of reunions (coming or looming) is.

      And when did we last see No Gay Old Time Roberta Blackburn?

  14. How? How is Holly not already disillusioned?

  15. Didn’t the famous time pool arc take place at the last reunion? Is TB going to pull something like that again?

    I myself haven’t missed a reunion. I had moved away to New York a year before the ten year reunion, so it was a good excuse to come back to my home town in NC and kind of flaunt my new city slicker status. For the most part I liked (or at least tolerated) the people I went to high school with, so it was fun. I’ve moved back to the home town in the past couple of years, and I’ve connected to the classmates that I care about on social media, so we’ll see if I’m still interested in attending my 50th, which is coming up in 2026.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    I think it’s kind of funny. My younger brother still lives in the same town where we went to high school. He has never attended a class reunion and has never given his information to the class directory. He’s not on Facebook.

    His friends tell him that the reunion committees can’t locate him. His name always appears on the “missing classmates – help needed” list. Someone even reported him as deceased. His friends ask, “Do you want us to give your address to the reunion committee?” He laughs and says no. He says he’s already in contact with the people he wants to see.

    ——————————
    FWIW, a friend and I crashed our 5th class reunion because we found out it had a free bar.

    It was weird. No jocks. No cheerleaders. No band members. No rich kids. No burnouts. No faces. No prom king or queen. No homecoming king or queen. It was like a reunion for classmates who defied categorization.

    A couple of years later, I got married and moved away. We never felt like driving 800 miles or spending money on a flight for a four or five-hour reunion. Definitely not now. After our last move, it’s now 1,600 miles. A 24-hour drive!

    I signed up for the class reunion page on Facebook. Our 40th class reunion was a few years ago. I looked at the photos they posted. It seemed to be attended by the same group as the 5th reunion. Weird.

    ———————
    Just to round out the family, my older brother only attended his 10th class reunion. He told me he didn’t see any of his friends and didn’t have much fun.

    My family just isn’t into class reunions.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      His friends tell him that the reunion committees can’t locate him. His name always appears on the “missing classmates – help needed” list.

      Same thing happened to me. The funny part is that my parents lived in the same house, and had the same phone number, from when I was in high school long before. And, my father had the same first full name as me. If they wanted to find me, all they had to do was look “me” up in the local phone book! (Key word: “wanted.”) I only heard about the reunion via a high school friend I was in contact with via Facebook.

      • Y. Knott

        And, my father had the same first full name as me.

        Banana Sr. 6000!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          My dad was a big Bloom County fan too, so he would have been quite happy with that name. If anything, I was the Oliver Wendell Jones to his Frank Jones. I played on the computer all day and he didn’t understand me most of the time. But we got along well anyway.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Yeah, my brother has made an effort not to be found. He works in I.T. and is kind of paranoid about his online presence. He did some questionable things in high school. There’s a page in his yearbook where he is referred to as “The Little Green Sprout.” (she says, touching the side of her nose with her forefinger)

        He wanted to buy our childhood house on the south side of town when Mom and Dad put it up for sale, but they told him he couldn’t handle a house that big. Ouch. A month later, he ended up buying a condo on the north side of town. Several months later, Mom and Dad finally sold their home, for less than my brother paid for his condo. Then they moved into an independent living facility within walking distance from him. Then they asked if they could store several items in his home.
        ————

        Why are you persona non grata at your reunions? What did you do? Drop a pass in the end zone that would have won the league championship? Pull a Carrie at your prom? Throw a tear gas canister into a packed lunchroom (a guy in my class actually did that). Were you the same snarky smart ass back in high school? You’re even on Facebook. Your lack of an invitation does appear deliberate.

        Does your class have an alumni Facebook page for your class? My class does. That’s where I find out which classmates have died. Whose kids are getting married. Grandchildren, etc.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I was the same snarky smartass, but hadn’t developed a filter yet, so I rubbed people the wrong way. And it wasn’t the 1990s yet, where that persona became more acceptable. The town was also very preppie, all about money and looks, which I didn’t have either of. I moved away the first chance I got, eventually halfway across the country, where I fit in much better. My mom and brother still live there and I visit them annually, but I have zero desire to move back.

          There was a class alumni page on Facebook, but I never sought it out until my one remaining high school friend invited me. To be fair to them, I’m hard to find on Facebook. I’m very inactive, I have a common name, I’m in a place former my high school classmates wouldn’t think to look, and my interests are very different. They have the same family announcements, but I’m not even interested enough to read them.