More Foob follies

As I, ah, may have just mentioned in a previous post, comic strip For Better or For Worse and this formerly devoted fan have long since divorced due to irreconcilable differences. With the coming of the Settleocalypse, aka the engagement of Liz and Anthony, it has become difficult even to muster up much interest in the doings of characters whose lives are so determinedly irrelevant to mine.

Or for that matter anyone born after 1950…check that. Anyone who isn’t Lynn Johnston, or who hasn’t had the misfortune to get tangled up in her hell-or-high-water scramble for the Perfect Family She Never Had. Really, you can’t blame one poor innocent decade for the mess this woman’s psyche is in at the moment. Even if it did contain Queen For a Day.

Today, however, the temptation to mark what will surely go down in history as a milestone of Foob snark is too great to resist.

We will pass over lightly the overarching obsession with engagement rings, as embodied in the astonishingly awful bon mot ‘the token that says I’m taken!’. We will skip quickly past the icky psycho-social implications inherent in that being your uppermost idea (as indicated by Liz’ thought bubbles) while embracing your beloved mere hours after the proposal. OK, mere hours after he conceded that he couldn’t see any real objection to you sharing his living space at an opportune time in the near future…but still.

No, it has become clear with the publication of today’s strip that snarking on any of the above, however tempting, is really irrelevant; what Johnston has been trying to get across all along is that the ring itself has magic powers. Yep…barring Warren having had an unfortunate encounter with a pale guy in a sweeping cape last week, there’s no getting around it: a half-carat token on the hand of an engaged woman quite literally emits powerful Pushy Ex-Lover Repellent Rays, guaranteed to reduce him to a quivering mess more generally seen when the Dragonball Z gang finally goes nuclear on some alien butt.

Somehow, I’m not totally shocked by this development. (I am kind of bemused when I think of the amount of comic-book angst this revelation could’ve avoided, but that’s another essay altogether.)
Given that an entire week past the procuring of this amazing device was devoted to strip matriarch Elly and her buddy Connie revelling in their self-authored legends as Strong, Noble, Self-Sacrificing, Long-Suffering Women who…well, did pretty much the same stuff as millions of other Boomer moms who didn’t happen to be avatars for a comic strip creator who has decided that the world owes her some credit, damnit!…anyway, it about figures that this same creator would consider engagement a superpower.

And clearly, given the epic (also insanely detailed) LOTR-style saga that is wife- and motherhood in this context, it only escalates from there, as the rings become heavier and heavier until finally simply existing in female form is an act worthy of earth-shattering heroism. One shudders to imagine the devices used to enhance for instance toilet training, in the Patterverse; and woe betide the husband who lets his dinner grow cold. I’m thinking that’s the point at which she gains the ability to grow an impenetrable metal skin on contact.

Yes, it’s funny, but it’s the kind of nervous laughter you hear after a crisis, when you’re trying to lighten the mood but just as aware it isn’t working. The dichotomy between the real world and the facsimile Lynn’s trying to create is becoming downright disturbing. Even – especially – if, as is probably the case, she believes that she’s merely written a harmlessly zany, over-the-top Standard Male Reaction gag.


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