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Pluggers: The Return

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Memo to Jeff Paysen: YOU DESERVE A RESPONSE.

For the record, I am almost positive this is the first time I've ever done this. Very, very rarely, someone will stumble across one of my columns despite not being of a mindset to enjoy one of my columns. This happens a lot less often than it used to, because the Internet is bigger than it once was, and my search engine rankings have not grown to match.

But sometimes it happens, and when it does, I get an e-mail, and when I get an e-mail, I get to smile for days, because it is invariably hilarious in its wrongness. But Jeff Paysen was wrong in such a harmless, charming way that I had to break a long-standing rule and bring his objection into the column so you could enjoy it as much as I did.

You see, the column Jeff Paysen objected to was written NINE AND A HALF YEARS AGO. It takes as its premise that the comic strip "Pluggers" is the worst comic in all existence, and makes jokes about a town called Liltitz, PA and mentions in the second half how funny it was to read people defending Pluggers against Internet criticism. That last part is still very true. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Brian: One day, if you are lucky enough to live that long, you too can identify with "Pluggers". Their memories and values may not be relevant in your generation's world of "me first and screw everyone else" philosophy, but the simplicity and honesty portrayed in this strip would go a long way towards curing a lot of todays problems."

First, get my name right. You don't see me spelling your name "Jiff" in this column, do you, Jeff? Do you know why that is? It's because your name is spelled correctly on the thing that I read so I was able to then type it correctly later. It's a useful, marketable skill.

Second, I've read enough "Pluggers" over the past nine-and-a-half years to know one thing. A central theme of "Pluggers" is that anyone who lives long enough to identify with "Pluggers" does not feel lucky. They're sleeping on fifty-year-old mattresses, going to multiple funerals every goddamned week, and are beset on all sides by poverty, misery, and consarned touchscreen devices.

Third, "memories and values"? Nobody pairs those things. That's just weird semantics. Revise.

Fourth, "my generation"? Are you trying to compliment me? I'm less than six weeks away from leaving ANOTHER demographic. It was bad enough that, around the time I started this column, I left the coveted 18-35 demographic. Now I'm about to leave the 18-45 demographic, which means the only thing American companies want to sell me are products that either prop up or sop up my dick. I STILL BUY LEGOS, GODDAMMIT.

I freely admit that last paragraph was more about me than you, but still. How whipper do you think my snapper is, anyhow?

I mean, you must have read a bunch more columns, because you certainly nailed my "me first and screw everyone else philosophy". That's totally what I've spent the last eleven years, four days a week on average, espousing. ME FIRST.

And if you think that Pluggers' simplicity and honesty would go a long way towards solving today's problems, then it's probably an awesome idea to pair, say, four of today's problems with the simplicity and honesty espoused in the past four days of Pluggers comics because that will totally prove you right. And if you're wondering, no, I'm not cheating. I'm picking the four problems before I go look up the comics.

TODAY'S PROBLEM ONE: Global Warming.

MONDAY'S PLUGGER SOLUTION: Read the sports page, the comics, and maybe the classifieds. Ignore the rest of the paper. Also, keep reading newspapers, because they're probably not made out of anything that would help us with global warming. Also, skip Berlin. Oh, wait, sorry, Skip Berlin is the name of the guy who submitted the idea.

TODAY'S PROBLEM TWO: The ISIL Threat

TUESDAY'S PLUGGER SOLUTION: Scrape ice off your windshield with your AARP card. And now you know I'm not cheating, because this would have been funnier for Global Warming. Anyway, use a flimsy piece of laminated cardboard to scrape off your windshield instead of a tool, because idle hands are the Devil's work, and only through the grace of Jesus will we destroy the infidels, I guess. It's a bit of a stretch.

TODAY'S PROBLEM THREE: Income Inequality.

WEDNESDAY'S PLUGGER SOLUTION: You're too old to put your best foot forward. Now all you can do is use the leg you hope won't collapse to climb the three steps up to your modest home, because... because... your company's switch from a pension to a 401K barely left you enough money to feed yourself, much less replace the stairs with a ramp? Anyway, who cares about poor people, your leg hurts.

TODAY'S PROBLEM FOUR: Police Brutality.

MONDAY'S PLUGGER SOLUTION: Learn your friend's real names through their obituaries! Because you only knew them by their nicknames! Even though your friends were old white people who died of natural causes and weren't murdered in their early teens because they were playing with a toy gun in a park! This simplicity and honesty stuff really works great.

So, thank you for your feedback, Jeff. I'd invite you to return in another nine-and-a-half years to complain about this column, but since you're a Plugger, you'll probably be dead by then. Which sounds cruel, but it's completely in line with the simplicity, honesty, and values expressed on a wrist-slittingly regular basis in the worst comic strip in existence.

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