Here’s a fun physiology fact: you don’t taste your own saliva because the chemical senses adapt quickly and thoroughly unless the stimuli change. (If you wanted to taste your own saliva, you could, um, “save” some, rinse your tongue with distilled water for five minutes or so, reintroduce the saved saliva, and then sit down and wonder what kind of person does that, and how you became that kind of person).
Anyway, Jeremy and Sara got so close this summer that even long-time androgyne uniteen RichandAmy started calling them by one name. But in parting after months of liplock, Jeremy isn’t tasting all of his own saliva, only the saliva components that are unique to him. He can’t taste the components (like salt) that he shares with Sara — unless their concentration has changed, he’s still adapted.
What will Jeremy experience, tasting his unique “Jeremy flavor” for the first time (unless he did that spit experiment, ew)? Will his tasteworld be an intoxicating Red Bull and Dorito-tinged nirvana that lures him away from Sara toward an independent bliss? Or a fetid, caustic slick of industrial food additives that drives him back between Sara’s lips, there to purge the evidence of his personal corruption? Your future lies ahead, Jeremy — let your tongue point the way!
Curtis gets a lot of mileage repeating story arcs about the First Day of School, Derek and “Onion,” Magical Gunk, and in days gone sadly by, Insane Kwanzaa Folkways. Over the past couple years, it’s introduced Curtis’s Summer Job: Curtis works at nonprofits where he Learns Valuable Lessons but Earns No Money. The stories are sanctimonious and flat, so what humor there is comes from eccentric one-off characters. Last summer we got Dr. Chang of the Improbable Pants, and this summer it’s Miss Dot from the Charles Street Disaster Relief Coalition. Miss Dot is gap-toothed, says “awesome,” “like,” and “totally” to excess, and congratulates Curtis for jokes not in evidence.
I think this year’s Valuable Lesson is “bring back Dr. Chang.”
Judge Parker, 7/22/15
On Sunday Sophie told Sam and Abby that Neddy and Mark had spent a late night together, that they’d been writing to one another ever since, and that she, Sophie, could read between the lines.
The sex lines.
But sex lines have never been written that our Sam can read: “Something happened to give him confidence! What’s your theory — Tony Robbins DVD, energy drink, ginseng? New Testament readings? Motivational poster, winning lottery ticket, found a penny? Rhinoceros horn, visualization exercises, call from Mom? Sunday Mary Worth quote? “Participant” trophy? Think, Abby!”
Abby stares mute as Sam double-knots his robe; she will dream of Mark tonight, his soft words and rough hands.
– Uncle Lumpy
Judge Parker, 3/16/14
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable are all the uses of this world? Just ask Judge Emeritus Alan Parker! In the years since he returned to his strip, we’ve heard of the growing marital discontent he shares with his wife. He told us he feels old and useless, and we’ve watched helplessly as his compulsive risk-taking escalated from recreational B.A.S.E. jumping to jungle snake-handling.
The story ends, as all such tales must, atop a forbidden cliff in the Mexican jungle with the frenzied Judge turning his wife out to “rock the joystick” of some buzzing monstrosity in the hopes that something — anything — will let him feel again. Oh Judge, Judge — in all those years on the bench, did no one tell you about heroin?
Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/16/14
“All right, Becka, I suppose it won’t hurt to go over this again. As we’ve discussed, Dr. Morgan and I allow you to banter with us on a first-name basis because it suits our image of ourselves as friendly, egalitarian people. This is our little indulgence, Becka, not yours — and there is a line. Now, when I tell you that Paula John is an incompetent emotional wreck, that is not an invitation for you to defend her, or spew vicious gossip about the Dean — my peer — from below stairs or wherever it is you and your little friends hang out. Especially when you’re not meeting your most elementary responsibilities around the clinic. Well then, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little talk. Now get me those results. And let’s go back to calling me ‘Ma’am’ for now, shall we? There’s a good girl.”
Mary Jane manipulates her doofus husband without looking up from her crossword: “Hey, Tiger, what’s a six-letter word for ‘eight-legged parasite’?”
This strip finally makes sense to me: Connie is Princess Leia, and Jeremy is Jabba the Hutt.
– Uncle Lumpy
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 1/11/14
Usually when Snuffy Smith makes a joke about “th’ economy” they at least take a stab at putting “haw haw our community is very far outside the economic mainstream” at the center of the joke. This one mostly seems like an “old hillbillies say the darndest things when they misconstrue extremely common English-language idioms” gag which is pretty weak. It’s not helping that Lukey is shouting the punchline at us at the top of his lungs for no reason in panel two. “I said, I never heard it leave!! Get it? Get it? Eh? I’m being deliberately obtuse, for laughs?”
Sorry, Connie: Jeremy and Sara’s cyber-child is all too real. Everything you’ve feared about the future is true: your son and his fellow teens are abandoning the messy process of biological reproduction, along with its ancillary behavior patters like sex, love, and pair-bonding, and are instead building a gleaming android race that will replace us. While the transition will be painful — literally, in the case of outmoded biological lifeforms that resist the Great Cleansing — our heirs will live in a better world than this one, assuming you expand your definition of “living.”