Were you looking forward to a light-hearted week with the Pizza Box Monster? Well, you’re not getting it. It’s time for Summer’s Story! We might as well start calling it that, because Tom Batiuk couldn’t telegraph his intentions any harder.
I realize that Batiuk uses Funky Winkerbean to indulge his frustration that he hasn’t won the praise he thinks he deserves, by lavishing it on his many self-insertion characters. But how many times does he need to do this? We’ve already seen Les and Lillian McKenzie get the deluxe treatment. The Atomik Komix team gets a ton of it as well. Several other characters, like Dinkle and Holly, have written books. Why do we need another story where someone becomes an author? Why does he need another story where someone becomes an author?
It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud at Funky Winkerbean, but Les’ question in today’s strip cracked. Me. Up. It’s been ten whole years since Les and Cayla dropped off Summer and Keisha at Kent State. Even for someone doing “graduate work,” ten years is a stretch. Is she still on a basketball scholarship? I don’t recall even seeing her in a Kent State uniform. So has Les been paying her tuition? I doubt Summer is contributing anything, as the only job we’ve seen her doing is wrapping gifts at the mall two years ago (when the girls were “wrapping up [their] college careers,” according to Cayla).
For someone who’s always bragged about progressing his characters in “real time,” storyteller Tom Batiuk has always taken liberties with the timeline. In this, FW’s Jubilee Year, he’s finally given up trying, casting off any semblance of temporal continuity; most notably by aging his core characters by at least five years to have their fiftieth high school reunion coincide with the strip’s own fiftieth anniversary (pay no attention to Crazy Harry’s time travel arc from last spring which suggested the gang were still in high school in 1980).
You win, Tom Batiuk. This is the last time I’m going to bitch about your nonsensical time constructs, and the last post I’ll have to write for a while, as tomorrow, Banana Jr. 6000 starts a 2 week shift, and I just know he’s rarin’ to go!
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!
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:
What’s better than four white saviors? Five white saviors of course! That’s the gist of today’s strip, it seems… as *groan* Amicus Breef emerges from the walk-in freezer brimming with fantastic legal advice such as talking to Adeela. Preferably by phone, no need to go down to the clink and talk to her in person if you can help it, right? I mean, jails are full of criminals after all and you can’t be too careful.
Oy! Amicus Breef?! Amicus? Stupid punny names are nothing new for this strip, but they usually at least involve a first name human beings might actually have. Well, at least he works in a profession relevant to his stupid punny name. What if Mason Jarr(e) was really into making homemade preserves or holding iced tea at restaurants known for their cucumber salad, or if Cliff Anger was actually a solo climber? Or what if Ruby Lith’s job was to illustrate schlocky no-budget Silver Age comic books? Oh wait…
Why the hell must Haystack Hair “sidebar” with Darin when the dude was standing right there?!? Check out Jessica’s narrowed-eyed, conspiratorial posture in panel one: with her left hand hooking the crook of dopey Darin’s arm, and her right palm downward, fingers spread in the “keep this on the low” gesture. Always with the dollar signs in her eyes, this Jessica: recall her (short-lived) giddiness over the dough that Darin would make off auctioning those Phil Holt Batom covers. At least Jessica is looking out for their child’s future…unlike Darin, who without so much as consulting Jessica decreed that all that Phil Holt money should go to the Lisa’s Legacy fund (which I’m only hyperlinking here because they finally fixed it so the URL doesn’t redirect and give you a dire-sounding certificate error).