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Eric: Holy shit.

Something Positive

(From Something Positive. Click on the thumbnail. Just click on the thumbnail.)

If you read the last few Something Positives, you probably had some idea how today would go. It's a trope we've seen Randy touch on before. Someone does something really braindead and stupid. Someone else points how mind-bogglingly insensitive it was to someone else, and mentions how upset they'll be. And then the two characters have the confrontation, and rather than flying off the handle they prove to be understanding. In the end, they not only show empathy for the person who screwed up, but they make it clear that the degree to which they love each other is more important than whatever happened to screw things up. Think Aubrey with the Bert puppet. And many other examples.

And here we are, today, and everyone figured Fred would explode at Monette, and of course Fred doesn't. It's not as important as Monette is to him, after all. In fact, this is a way that these comics, which connected Fred to Davan, could connect to Monette as well. All perfectly expected and normal.

And then there's the last panel. Read it carefully.

Holy shit.

I mean... holy shit.

At least one regular reader of Something Positive responded with a hearty "fuck you, Randy" in his Livejournal. I understand that.

Randy Milholland gets a biscuit. A tasty, tasty biscuit.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at September 27, 2005 5:51 PM

Comments

Comment from: thehoggod posted at September 27, 2005 6:27 PM

We've seen some buildup to this, I think. Fred's hair going from gray to white. His general down-trodden attitude toward his retirement. When he says about the comics, something to the effect of "the old needs to pass to make way for the new", it's chilling. Fred will never let himself deteriorate to that disease. Never.

Comment from: SeanH posted at September 27, 2005 6:29 PM

I have to admit, SP has been on my... what's the list before you stop reading? Is it "Why Do I Read This Comic, Again?"? I think so. Anyway, yeah, I've been considering giving it up. The sameness of the punchlines had been getting to me - a certain kind of wit that grates after too much of it.

Then Milholland pulls some shit like this, and I admit to myself that I'm never going to stop reading. Goddamn.

Comment from: Will "Scifantasy" Frank posted at September 27, 2005 6:42 PM

*grin* Like you say, most of us saw the non-explosion coming.

So, I guess, Milholland felt he had to drop a grenade in there just for good measure...

Comment from: thehoggod posted at September 27, 2005 6:55 PM

Seeing it coming doesn't weaken its effect. After all, foreshadowing is a classic literary technique. I expected an illness of some sort, a physcial decline, but not Alzheimer╠s. Considering Fred's character, I can't think of anything worse for him.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at September 27, 2005 6:57 PM

It's really a strong panel. I don't see why it would elicit a "fuck you" from anybody, though.

Comment from: JackSlack posted at September 27, 2005 7:09 PM

I can. It's an absolute slam-sized hit to all of the readers. Anyone who's invested their time and energy in these characters has just been told that, well, we're going to lose one of them. One of them, and one of the /best/ of them, is on his way out.

The illusion of eternity is broken. And since so many comics trade on that illusion of eternity, it's expected from most readers.

Damn. Eric, can't you just give him the whole damn box of biscuits? That's some stuff going there, dude.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at September 27, 2005 7:15 PM

I liked that last panel, it brings what the character is saying in a whole new light (does he really remember them? Or has Alzheimer's taken that memory already? Does the female know he has Alzheimer's? Did she ruin his comics to see if he'd react differently because of the Alzheimers? Does he even remember he has Alzheimers?) It makes me want to read the archives and find out the answers to my questions.

Comment from: JackSlack posted at September 27, 2005 7:22 PM

I'd also like to draw attention to the title of the storyline "Golden Age".

Goddamn. It has a whole different meaning now, doesn't it?

Comment from: Zaq posted at September 27, 2005 7:35 PM

Perhaps this is just my ignorance on the matter (which I'll be the first to admit), but this doesn't necessarily mean that Fred actually has Alzheimer's. All it means is that he got screened for it. For all we know, he tested out fine.

Of course, I really know very little on the topic. For all I know, perhaps it's like a "Big envelope, little envelope" thing where they don't even give you a paper like the one in the last panel if the results turned out negative. If that's so, then I apologize for speaking in ignorance. But the point is that, from my understanding, it's not yet a sure thing that Fred's got Alzheimer's. Knowing Mr. Milholland, it's quite likely, but it's certainly not a guarantee yet. He's feinted us out before.

Comment from: Montykins posted at September 27, 2005 7:37 PM

I can. It's an absolute slam-sized hit to all of the readers. Anyone who's invested their time and energy in these characters has just been told that, well, we're going to lose one of them.

I just can't get behind that. It's an attitude I see a lot on the Internet, frequently associated with Harry Potter fans, but these days it seems like once someone declared themselves a "fan" of a character, that character isn't allowed to suffer or change in any way. There are actually people who are outraged that the makers of Smallville are going to let Lex Luthor turn evil.

When you read a book or webcomic or watch a television show or anything, it's not up to you what happens. It's up to the creators, and if it's more dramatically appropriate for Fred to get Alzheimers or even die -- that's what happens.

It's not a slap in the face to the readers. At all.

Comment from: SeanH posted at September 27, 2005 7:51 PM

Montykins: I hope, one day, to do something to my characters that will elicit howls of rage from fans. It means you've done something right. If people care enough about your characters to actually get angry with you about how they're treated, fantastic.

Perhaps this is just my ignorance on the matter (which I'll be the first to admit), but this doesn't necessarily mean that Fred actually has Alzheimer's. All it means is that he got screened for it. For all we know, he tested out fine.
You're right, there - we are jumping the gun slightly. We haven't seen the body, so to speak. This would be a pretty huge fake-out, but I can't put it past him.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 27, 2005 8:07 PM

Having lost my grandmother this spring after a long 'bout of Alzheimer╠s, I'm very interested in how Randy handles this, assuming that he does. (is there acctually a pre-screening thing for Alzheimer╠s? My grandmother was diagnosed with dimensia after she had started going a little scatter brain. It was more of a 'yeah, she has what we thought' kind of thing. She wasn't diagnosed with Alzheimer╠s until the disease had progressed to an extreme point. [i.e. she started forgetting that she had 8 kids])

Two things I want to just throw out as someone who has not only had a love one who suffered from this disease, but who has spoken with a number of people who also have had loved ones who suffer(ed) from this disease.

1) It is not a quick thing. If Fred does have Alzheimer╠s, don't be surprised if we don't really see any sign for years.

2) Most important, because I've seen people get shit about this before, you do joke about it. You do make comments about the fact that your grandmother thinks you're someone she knew when she was 12. Or, she think's her son, who is living with her to take care of her, is her husband and is pissed he's sleeping in another room. The joke for the last couple of years; as my grandmother caught colds, which developed into lung infections, and pnemonia, and even had a heart attack, and yet kept living; was that she had just forgotten how to die. A lot of people look at these things as calious, but they aren't. Everyone I've talked to agrees, it is a case of either laughing or crying, and sometimes doing both.

Sorry for spilling like that, but before Randy cracks a joke and all hell comes down on his head, I just wanted to say that.

Comment from: Cynica posted at September 27, 2005 8:12 PM

I think what makes this especially bittersweet is that as Fred is saying it's alright because he has the comics memorized, he's aware that he may not remember them for much longer.

Fred's face in panel one is exceptionally well drawn, as a side note.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 27, 2005 8:21 PM

I think what makes this especially bittersweet is that as Fred is saying it's alright because he has the comics memorized, he's aware that he may not remember them for much longer.

As someone over on LJ pointed out, the loss of memory seems to go in reverse, your newest memories fade first and your oldest memories last the longest. That was deffinetly the way it was with my grandmother who seemed to get younger and younger in her mind, at least before she just seemed to forget everything*. So, may be the comics will be the last memory he has? Hopefully.

* I was acctually my grandmother's Uncle for awhile (after awhile, it is easier on everyone if you don't correct and just play along) that was weird.

If you'll excuse me, I apparently have some memories to mull over.

Comment from: Will "Scifantasy" Frank posted at September 27, 2005 8:26 PM

It's not a slap in the face to the readers. At all.

I don't think the "fuck you" response is to an insult. I don't even think it is an insult. It's like the creator of the addictive early computer game "The Fool's Errand," Cliff Johnson, taking a compliment in being told "I hate you!"

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at September 27, 2005 8:28 PM

Perhaps this is just my ignorance on the matter (which I'll be the first to admit), but this doesn't necessarily mean that Fred actually has Alzheimer's. All it means is that he got screened for it. For all we know, he tested out fine.

This is true. However, it still means that Fred knows he's at risk for it now, and that means that he knows he's getting old. Maybe it won't be Alzheimer's, but he knows that he doesn't have long, one way or another.

Recall, also, that Randy intends to do this comic through at least 2010. We're going to see this through - I feel sure of it. And it's going to be good, because, well, look at what he did today. I can see Fred contemplating a quick suicide rather than slowly decline into oblivion, and I can see the stress that's going to put on his relationship with Faye and the rest of his family.

This is going to be good.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 27, 2005 8:29 PM

One more thought before a pour a glass of whiskey and go have a good thought. Given what I said above about how people tend to forget memories, how is this going to play into the strips that looked at Fred's past? Will we see ghosts of those strips coming from modern day Fred?

God! I don't know if I can think of anyone in web comics who I would trust more with this story then Randy.

And you know what? THIS is where web comics are better then comic books and comic strips. You couldn't do this in either of those mediums, not with the subtlety that Randy can now do it with. He doesn't need to constantly remind people about things, since the archives are right there. And he can take his time and let the story develop as it would in real life. We'll have to see how Randy plays this, but I'm calling it now, there is a possibility, that this story could be a pinacle of the medium.

Comment from: Lilamrta posted at September 27, 2005 8:35 PM

I read this comic, and then came over here. But the thing is, I didn't really expect to see this snark. Naturally as soon as I saw it, it was obvious, but it was just sort of my normal evening routine... PvP, s*p, Websnark.

But yes. Great comic. My grandmother has early Alzheimer's. It's scary, some of the things she does. Fortunately she recognizes us... most of the time. If she is confused about who we are, once she's reminded she knows. It's such weirdness, and as Mr. Sweeney said, you do joke. I was relating one incident to my mom the other day, and I could not stop laughing. It was the strangest thing.

Anyhow.

Comment from: Johnny Assay posted at September 27, 2005 9:01 PM

I don't know, folks... I thought it might be a fake-out too, but the phrase "a second screening" can be made out in the second line of the letter.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 27, 2005 9:04 PM

The only slap for me was, for some reason, the last two panels didn't load at all in Opera, which meant that I had to jump quickly over to IE to read the comic in full.

I just want to touch on something that nobody else mentioned yet. Monette made a real apology. Seems like so frequently nowadays, apologies are conditional, halfhearted affairs. Stuff like, "I'm sorry if I upset you," isn't really an apology - like it's perfectly acceptable to do something stupid if done in complete ignorance. Not only does Monette not make it conditional, she even admits that ignorance was no excuse. Even if Fred was a bit angry, maybe her genuine and sincere apology mitigated that somewhat.

First she tries her hardest to correct her screw-up, and then she honestly owns up to it and asks for contrition as forthrightly as possible... If there was ever any doubt, this storyline proves it - no matter how bad it can seem, Milholland still has hope for people becoming as good as they can be. And people will care and accept them for it, even in the face of potential tragedy.

Comment from: JackSlack posted at September 27, 2005 9:34 PM

Montykins wrote: "It's not a slap in the face to the readers. At all."

You're very correct, and let me clarify this.

I am applauding Randy for this. It's a brilliant effort, and a beautiful subversion of what we were set up for. He set it up early in the strip, made this look like another happy ending courtesy of the virtues of civility, wisdom, and perspective. (Which are the most highly praised virtues in Something Positive, when it's all said and done.)

And then he pulls it out from under us, giving us a situation that no amount of that can fix. Suddenly our happy ending is stolen, and we're shocked.

That's not a slap in the face, no. It's a body blow. It's a massive slam hit. We're knocked sprawling by it, and that's good. I can't wait to see how this pans out, and when Fred begins to go, it's going to be tragic as hell.

And that's just it. We're going to lose him. I don't think that fuck you was aimed at him for saying, "How dare you screw with MY characters?" No, it's a reaction. They've been hit, and they're hitting back. But I don't think it's a 'Don't you dare screw with my characters' moment. It's a "Damn you, you bastard. That HURT."

And it did.

I can get behind it, even if I wouldn't say it that way.

Comment from: Farvana posted at September 27, 2005 9:39 PM

I can easily see Fred forgetting that Monette cut up the comics and blowing up on her.

Seems like the bastardly kind of thing Milholland's good at.

Comment from: kirabug posted at September 27, 2005 9:45 PM

I love my dad more than all but a handful of other people in this word, and I don't think he could ever do what Fred just did. Ever.

I've done things like Monette did, maybe not to the exact same extreme, but badly enough. And when it happens you spend hours or days or weeks beating yourself up and expecting to be beaten up because in your own mind what you've done is unforgivable. Even an "Okay, yeah, fine I forgive you" is more than you think you deserve, and usually, it's what you get.

Fred forgave Monette unconditionally. Not, "I forgive you but stay out of my stuff", not "I forgive you but I wish you hadn't done that", not "I forgive you but" anything. Just "I forgive you and I love you". I'm 29 and I've heard that once in my life. Hell, I was choking up by panel 7.

So yeah, the last panel? Everything you've ever wanted to hear your dad say to you just once? And it's a man who doesn't have to treat her that well - he's not even her real dad? Altzheimers? Now? The pain of finding out that nothing gold can stay certainly could generate a hearty "Fuck you". Anger's what, stage 2 of grief anyway, we'll just jump straight to that.

I just don't know whether to say it to Randy for showing us what we're missing (and being willing to take it away again), or to the universe in general for allowing it to be missing in the first place.

Comment from: Doc posted at September 27, 2005 10:10 PM

I agree with everything everyone has said about the Alzheimers bit so I'd just like to share a thought I had at the beginning of this story:
Monnette has shown increasing maturity as the strip went on but at the beginning of this strip I really emphasised with her, for me at least it's taken until now for her to be a fully fledged character. I care about what happens to her as much as any of the other characters and given how she started out that's some great work on Randy's part.

In summary: Randy Milholland = Teh Gr3at righter!!!11
Kind of redundant really.

Oh and Fred's last line: 'Don't forget that.' Not to mention his expression in the first panel, I didn't even notice he was reading something the first time.

Comment from: Doc posted at September 27, 2005 10:13 PM

Geh, should have been 'Beginning of this story' along with all my grammatical heresies

Comment from: Tevorcet posted at September 27, 2005 10:25 PM

Strangely enough, Fred's reaction reminds me a bit of the scene on the bridge of the Enterpise at the end of the Wrath of Khan. Odd, I know, but the sense of humbling perspective is present in both, for in each case, the realization comes that what has been taken for granted is gone. It's bittersweet, the way in which personal growth accompanies personal loss, but it's utterly believable.

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at September 27, 2005 10:28 PM

Incidentally: Perspective?

There's nothing like learning you're about to enter a slow spiral of memory loss and dementia that will end in death to give someone perspective.

We know already that Fred's been mellowing out over the past couple years, but even so, I think that if he hadn't just been dealing with that news, it would have been a comic full of rage followed by a comic of understanding and forgiveness.

Comment from: BZArcher posted at September 27, 2005 10:33 PM

On the matter of 'Fuck you':

I believe I'm the person Eric's talking about - and it's not /exactly/ what I said, unless someone else's post was deleted.

Lemme quote the post verbatim:

"On the matter of the year [This being the end of his year done on donations]: Congratulations.

On the matter of the last panel: I feel like you just shoved a knife into my heart and wiggled, you bastard. Good work."

In the middle of htting S*P at the end of my workday, he made me tear up in the middle of my office. It hurt, it shocked, and I had a very visceral reaction for pretty much all the reasons people have mentioned in the above comics.

It just tends to get expressed in vulgar premise because I happen to have a mouth like a sailor when I get emotional.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at September 27, 2005 11:07 PM

Darth: exactly. My grandma had a similar reaction, and managed to get in some good years before she forgot she had grandkids...then forgot she had kids most of the time. She's 98, but she's been gone for years.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at September 27, 2005 11:21 PM

My grandfather first developed Alzheimer's in his late 80s and, amazingly, lived until 100 (though he was completely unaware of anything for the last four years). As for jokes:

After my grandfather had been living in a retirement home for several years, my mom received a call from the (very annoyed) director saying, "I think it's time to move your father to a full-care nursing home. He just came into my office and peed in my wastebasket." Naturally, my mom didn't laugh at the time, but years later we all had a good laugh when my dad, recalling that incident, joked, "Maybe that was his feedback on the care he was receiving."

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer posted at September 27, 2005 11:26 PM

Whoa. Read that while listening to Page&Plant's "Blue Train", I think now I'm switching to Live's "Lightning Crashes"

"Seeing it coming doesn't weaken its effect. After all, foreshadowing is a classic literary technique. I expected an illness of some sort, a physcial decline, but not Alzheimer╠s. Considering Fred's character, I can't think of anything worse for him."

-TheHogGod, I can't think of anything worse for anyone. One of the sweetest people I have ever met once refered to Alzheimer╠s disease as not only proof that God exists, but that he hates his children. I get that. There seems like no crueler possibility than to leave someone alive while taking away every aspect of them that made them, well, them. I don't know anything about Fred, but the prospect of losing who you are, and of having to subject Monette to having to watch every stage of his decline, is a crueler fate than any 'punishment' he could ever devise for her offense.

Good job Randy. You've just tapped into the greatest possible tragedy for a literary character and story arc possible in the 21st century. It's also one of the hardest things to do well (notable comics and webcomics such as Crankshaft, Kevin&Kell and Suburban Jungle have each tried it, and it has failed in each). Best of luck to you.

If you'll escuse me, I think I'll go curl up with Throwing Copper on repeat and go to bed fearing the darkness.

"lightning crashes, an old mother dies
her intentions fall to the floor
the angel closes her eyes
the confusion that was hers
belongs now, to the baby down the hall"

Comment from: Doug Dawson posted at September 27, 2005 11:45 PM

BZArcher, I don't think it's you. After reading this, I went looking for the comment Eric was referring to, and I found someone who did, in fact, literally say "Fuck you." It seemed to be a compliment, as most people here assume.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at September 27, 2005 11:51 PM

What I'm wondering is how long Fred has had this on his mind, and furthermore, how long it will be before he talks to anyone about it. It's entirely possible that we won't even hear about it again in the strip for a good while, and such a delay would be very much after Miholland's style. The last time Eric snarked S*P, we all thought that there was going to be a continuation on the situation between Davan and Peejee, and it was nothing of the sort, but we all know that both are things that will inevitably be dealt with. My guess is that RK has a few more layers to add before this comes to a head.

In any case, you won't catch me missing an S*P update for some time, no matter when they come.

Comment from: William_G posted at September 28, 2005 12:24 AM

Awww... that was sad.

Comment from: Spatulus posted at September 28, 2005 1:20 AM

Eh. A while back it just suddenly clicked in: Fred was going to die. His visible aging is what clued me in, but when I looked over the recent archive, it felt right. I don't know if he really has Alzheimer's or not, but he doesn't have long to go.

What really hit me in this strip was Monette in the last panel. I'm pretty sure we've seen her cry before, but those were tears of, well, love. And then, in the last panel, her strangled little "I love you too, daddy" spoke loads about her having truly found a family, something she's never really had (and which probably explains a lot about her).

Comment from: Naners posted at September 28, 2005 2:02 AM

Yeah. that last panel hit me when I was reading it the first time. Brought me back to memories of my grandmother and those years between her diagnosis and her death.
As with all things, there will be good times and bad times, and I bet we will see bits of both in SP in coming times.

Comment from: Kaychsea posted at September 28, 2005 3:31 AM

Powerful stuff.

Not made any less so by the fact that Fred's statement about having the memories rang an alarm bell loud and clear for me. And then he did it.

Powerful stuff indeed.

Comment from: Doc posted at September 28, 2005 5:21 AM

Out of curiosity any idea how much time has passed in SP so far? Is it meant to run in (approximate) real time? It would just be interesting to see how much time there is left so we can better estimate how much Randy is going to try and get in before the end.

Comment from: alschroeder posted at September 28, 2005 7:28 AM

I'll tell you ONE thing. If he DOES develop full-blown, can't-remember-anything-recent Alzheimer's, you know who's now going to watch after him until he dies? Maybe his wife, but definitely Monnette will.

Davan? Nyaaah. He loves his father, but wouldn't want to remember him that way. His sister? She has her own problems with disabilities, and has worked hard to be independent. But Monette will...now.

Best webcomic ever. Including my own.

Comment from: Botswana posted at September 28, 2005 8:55 AM

That had all the emotional subtlety of a sledgehammer to the crotch.

It doesn't really matter if Fred has Alzheimer's or not. It's clear he's getting older and he knows it. He's been getting awfully sentimental and not acting like his typical ornery self. That last panel confirms everything I've been suspecting for awhile.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 28, 2005 9:42 AM

Oh, just wanted to comment on something else from the comment thread:

"Suddenly our happy ending is stolen, and we're shocked."

First off, I know JackSlack isn't critical of Milholland at all. If anything, he's using the phrase as a straw man to represent Milholland's critics. That's perfectly fair, and I'm basically going to do the same thing, except more generally.

I know lots of people who say stuff like that. My mom, for example - she refuses to watch any movie in which there's a prospect that a "good guy" won't prevail. It drives me nuts.

I mean, life isn't always about the good guys winning. Sometimes, you don't get the happy ending. It's cruel and sad, but it's true. What makes life worth living are the little victories you manage to get anyway. And sometimes, it helps to read something like that and know that someone else empathizes with your situation. I know if I had a relative looking al Alzheimer's, I'd appreciate reading S*P's take on it.

Oh, and one other thing I think we're forgetting. S*P is a semi-autobiographical work. While there is the chance that this is just a story made up, I suspect the reason this happened in the comic is because this has happened to Randy's father. Randy, I know I'm just a faceless reader to you, but I'm sorry to hear it, and good luck with coping.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 28, 2005 10:42 AM

I'll tell you ONE thing. If he DOES develop full-blown, can't-remember-anything-recent Alzheimer's, you know who's now going to watch after him until he dies? Maybe his wife, but definitely Monnette will.

His wife will be there, I'm sure, but you are right about Monnette, she will definitely be the child that's there to help take care of him. Which is an interesting statement given what has already been said about the underlying values of SP that has already been discussed. Of the three kids, it is Monnette that will most likely be the caretaker. Though, I don't look at this as a slight against Davan or his sister. I just find it interesting, especially given the other thread here about Monet's evolution through out the story. In many ways she seems the most capable of reaching the ideal that Randy has set for his characters. The fact that this evolution has seemed so natural to me that it had to be pointed out before I realized it is just cool.

Also, I don't think there's a chance in hell that Fred will take his own life. For one, he cares to much about Davan to do that to him after Scotty. Possibly an assisted suicide, but not the more traditional manner.

Comment from: Patrick Harris posted at September 28, 2005 11:11 AM

It seems to me that Davan, of all people, would consider "OMG a girl left me" suicide and "I am going to lose everything that makes me what I am before I die anyway" suicide to be two totally separate things.

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 28, 2005 11:33 AM

We aren't talking about Davan though, we're talking about Fred and I don't see him doing it.

I'm also not completly sure we'll see Fred die at all. It depends on how long Randy continues to do the strip. If he goes well beyond the 2010 line, then Fred may eventually have to die, but if Randy brings it to a close around then, I wouldn't be surprised if we are left with Fred being a shell of his former self.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 28, 2005 11:53 AM

I have two expectations from this development:

1. The payoff will be bittersweet. Perhaps heartbreakingly so.

2. It will be funny. There will be sometimes cruel humor around the subject.

That won't diminish point one, mind. And that won't mean Milholland is being disrespectful. It means that sometimes, something hurts so badly, you have to make it funny. If you don't, you can't cope with it.

I have faith in what Milholland has done up until now. And I have faith in where he's going.

Of course, that doesn't rule out that it might be Faye's screening we're looking at....

Comment from: thehoggod posted at September 28, 2005 12:22 PM

You magnificent bastard!

Comment from: William_G posted at September 28, 2005 1:08 PM

I have faith in what Milholland has done up until now. And I have faith in where he's going.

Unless he forgets about it.

Heh heh heh... I'm evil...

Comment from: Matt Sweeney posted at September 28, 2005 1:17 PM

Of course, that doesn't rule out that it might be Faye's screening we're looking at....

Eric, you're a bastard, I hadn't even thought of that.

And of course Randy doesn't have a new strip up and I'm sure even when the strip does go up it'll be something about Davan and we won't hear from this again until sometime next year.

God I love Randy.

Comment from: miyaa posted at September 28, 2005 3:57 PM

First of all, screw the biscuit, give him one of those lifetime shortbread awards (You are going to give out more shortbread awards, right Eric?).

As for the comic itself, damn was that depressing. It's the kind of depressing that might justify Dr. Kevorkian to come over and end it all right there. And I for one am not going to even speculate where Mr Milholland will go from here. I'd like to know if how much channeling of Edgar Allen Poe did he invoke.

S*P really ought to come with a warning label: Caution: can cause reader to become emotionally pissed off or depressed to the point to be mistaken for someone wanting to jump off the nearest cliff, or join the US Postal Service.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got a dog or two to kick.

Comment from: Snowspinner posted at September 28, 2005 6:12 PM

I think it's also important to look at the first strip in this sequence, where we see Fred making a joke about senility - foreshadowing that we missed at the time.

I think the strip points clearly to it being Fred. Fred's odd reaction in the last panel - respecifying that he'll be right back (As though searches for shoes take a long time) - it's an odd specification, the sort of thing, well, that you'd say to someone you were worried would forget. The sort of thing you'd unconsciously do if you were afraid for your own memory. Also, the particular phrase - "don't forget that." And Fred has been being described in terms of being around too long now - the recap of his past, the barber storyline (Which had its own talk about memory in the first strip). And I point out that Faye isn't in this strip at all - I can't imagine her handing Fred the Alzheimer's test results and not being there to talk to him about it. So I assume Fred must have opened them.

Which is to say that I think pinning the Alzheimer's on Faye (Or having the test come in negative) would be a cop-out of the structure of this piece and storyline.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at September 28, 2005 6:41 PM

This is more than just a "Fuck you" moment.


This is like when someone hides dog shit in your ice cream sundae. It's something you're looking forward to so much... and then someone goes and destroys it for you.


You will never eat an ice cream sundae the way you did before.


And maybe you will never love a webcomic like you did before this.

Comment from: gwalla posted at September 28, 2005 11:52 PM

32_footsteps: While I don't agree with it, I can understand that perspective. I mean, who wants their entertainment to be like real life? Real life sucks.

Thomas Blight: uhh...

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 29, 2005 12:14 AM

I can see how some might come to that sentiment, gwalla. But I've seen enough in life to know that nothing can be stranger than the truth. And it's a hell of a ride if you're just willing to get on.

And as for the bad parts? Well, if I didn't know how bad things could be, I'd never truly be able to appreciate how great things can get. As you may have guessed, I'm the kind of guy that looks for ways to live a life less ordinary. And yes, posting on Websnark has contributed to that.

Comment from: arthur_t posted at September 29, 2005 12:18 AM

as someone with a grandfather going through Alzheimer╠s it think that if anyone could do a good job with this storyline it would probably be Randy.

on another note, although some people were saying how Monette would be the one to definitely take care of Fred, she is a far more recent addition to the family and to Fred's life than the rest. as such, if the recent memories go first then that could bring about a lot of problems especially for Monette.

although i don't want Fred to go, i will look forward to the resolution of this tragedy.

Comment from: John W. Wells posted at September 29, 2005 1:59 AM

This is a sad strip, but I don't think it's a depressing one.

Roger Ebert said, "No good movie is depressing. All bad movies are depressing," and I think that, on some level, this holds true for comic strips as well. A good strip might make us morose for a bit, but there's always a layer of reflection there.

If this strip just evoked the "Oh, no, he has Alzheimer's, that is so sad and horrible..." response, it wouldn't be half as well-written as it is.

We don't just see a likable character being doomed to slowly lose himself. We see him facing this with grace. We see him acknowledging his feelings for his daughter. And we see Monette really realizing that yes, she is truly his daughter now.

If the Alzheimer's had been used as an excuse to avoid this confrontation, THAT would have been depressing.

Comment from: vortexae posted at October 2, 2005 12:00 AM

Oh, ouch.

I just called my husband over to read the strip, since I had it up and he was here, and while he was scrolling down my brain did that optical illusion vase/face reversal thing with the sixth panel:

"Sometimes, old things need to go away. That way we have room for the new things that come into our lives."

Now I *really* hurt.

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