Friday, April 16, 2010

Non-perseverance

Click to enlarge.

15 comments:

DreadedCandiru2 said...

My response to her whining: "Welcome to the Real World, Crazy-pants!" Since she's the same stupid, lazy, immature mess in any time frame, the cosmos insists on her paying for her indolence, obliviousness and lack of foresight no matter how much she tries to change it.

howard said...

Good points about the degree and career. Lynn Johnston intentionally chose not to reprint the strip where Elly sleeps with her eyes open during class, and tried to make Elly a more serious student. Ultimately she ended up just making Elly an incompetent writer in a different way, i.e. using her children and family life as an excuse not to write, claiming she would have to be alone in a Spanish villa for a year. No one who has written anything would consider that to be a decent excuse. Your strip illustrates that pretty well, although it is unusual to get such an honest admission out of Elly Patterson.

anadandy said...

Classic case of "The Fantasy of being..." Like, if I was thin, I'd hike the Appalachian trail! If I was rich, I would do all this volunteer work! If I was single...If I only had two kids...

Basically, you use whatever it is in your life as an excuse why you don't do X when in reality you're just not the type of person to do X. If Elly were to find herself alone, in a Spanish Villa for a year - she still wouldn't write.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't show any shame about telling April to her face that she didn't want her anymore, does she? Of course, she made that clear through her actions, and this is Elly-the-center-of-the-universe. She didn't see anything wrong with wiping her from existence, and isn't likely to apologise for it -- not when she's too busy whining about how things didn't work out the way they did in Elly's Thoughtless Head.

Still aching to see how they deal with the whiny load, even though that hails the end of this great strip. The options that keep occuring to me are a tad... violent.

Joe England said...

I suppose now's as good time as any to start making theories as to how this will turn out.
Maybe Elly will fly into a frightened fervor, grab the book, and flee further back into the past before anyone can stop her. Except she trips up and goes too far, regressing herself to a point just prior to being born. As such, she's too young to retain her memories and is left to experience her entire life again exactly the same way, trapping her in an endless time loop. Meanwhile, her family would be freed from her sphere of influence since she'd have gone back to a time before she knew anyone (and before most of them were alive), leaving them out of the loop and free to carry on their lives without her. A bittersweet but fitting ending to a cosmic family crisis.
Or maybe they just bust the book and everyone goes home and Elly bitches and moans a bit.

Godozo said...

Well, she DID write a novel...even though it badly derivative of her son's work. And it's not as if Elly could deny wishing April never existed, especially since April brought the original diary with her.

As for the honest admission...I wouldn't say she's admitting stuff as she's admitting defeat. In going back, she ended up proving to herself that the life she had was the life she would have had, and that thirty years of dreams and thoughts led to nothing (but a cartoon in a weekly that was desperate for filler). She was defeated before this; this is but her admission of such.

As for the endpoint...I wouldn't mind seeing everyone going back, only Elly is forced to go through thirty years of aging (as she's the one who cast everyone back). She returns with Alzheimers and has to be dropped off at a nursing home, only to die soon after (she died too soon, the obit will say). But then, that's my thoughts.

john said...

Yeah, man, who would have thought that college and a career would be work? I thought it was only the poor put-upon housewives that ever had a hard time of things!

Joe England said...

Y'know, all joking aside... it is hard not to feel a smidgen of sympathy for the woman. Her actions and reactions have been reprehensible, but not necessarily difficult to understand. Who can say how one would react when confronted with the reality of magic? I imagine it would be easy for one to slip into a kind of fantasy mindset, unconcerned with the morality of one's actions because on some level it all must seem like a dream. When something like that falls in your lap, how easy must it also be to feel that the hand of providence is upon you, justifying your actions? And, of course... growing old can be hard if you lack self-esteem. How many people wouldn't jump at the chance to do it all over, like Elly did? Fewer than we'd think, I bet.
But of course, none of this justifies what she did. It was selfish, and even monstrous. And what's worse, it all stems from her lack of appreciation for what was, all things considered, a lovely life worth being thankful for. She raised a family of wonderful healthy children and lived in relative comfort with a loyal husband. She had a lifetime of comic misadventures to enjoy, and more to look forward to. And despite all that, she throws it aside because she sees only flaws. That in itself is a crime.
I certainly don't have everything I feel I ought to have achieved by this point in my life, but I do my best to look to the future and thank God every day for all the wonderful things I've been blessed with and that I've accomplished. What right have I to pity myself, to lament my troubles? There are people all over the world who would consider my life a vision of Paradise! And Elly's too, I'm sure.
So, yeah... I sympathise, but man.
What a twit.

DreadedCandiru2 said...

Joe_England,

And what's worse, it all stems from her lack of appreciation for what was, all things considered, a lovely life worth being thankful for.

This, of course, is the engine that moves the strip forward; Elly has a life most people wish they could live but she isn't the least bit grateful. It's an abomination having to see her complain as if her gracious, easy life is the cruelest punishment known.

Godozo said...

On the other hand...one has to wonder what would have happened if THIS time she had actually spent time in school learning to write, maybe doing a second draft of her novel and getting some input on how to improve it, and actually doing something different with her life. Then we'd have an actual tragedy on our hands (woman who rights her life vs. the former life coming back and exacting its price).

As it is...we have a defeated woman whose dreams (paper-thin and wispy as WE always knew them to be) were destroyed before this...and her former life has come back for its pound of flesh. And this time, it will get the pound of flesh it had always wanted.

I can't see Elly returning to her former life as anything other than a shell of her self.

Anonymous said...

You have a point, Joe; thing is, Elly was already living in a fantasy world before learning about magic. True, it was a sick and twisted fantasy that revolved around her being the 'victim', the put-upon martyr, but it was still a fantasy - one that blinded her to how SHE was responsible for so many of her own problems. She took comfort in that illusion of being "poor, put-upon, helpless Elly..."

And then she discovered magic. And just like a fairy-tale, she expected it to instantly solve ALL her problems: just one spell, and everything would fall right into place. She could start all over, make her dreams come true... After all, she already knew how.

And she had shortcuts, too. Or so she thought. Like stealing Michael's hard work - she knew it would turn out successful, and saw nothing wrong with claiming HIS hard work as HERS. (And who would know what she'd done, anyway? How was she to know anyone would remember?)

She thought a single spell would fix everything, like in so many fairy tales. Apparently she missed the part where even most of those fantasy characters had to EARN their happy ending. And when faced with the concept of actual work... she flustered and wavered, just like she's always done.

Elly's always lived in a self-inflicted hell. And aside from 'quick-fixes' that never work out the way she expected, she's never really done anything to change that. She always assumed things would just fall into place... and when they didn't, that it meant the world was aligned against her, rather than being a natural consequence of her refusal to WORK for anything.

April Patterson said...

Hello, all! Sorry about the silence--internet access was very spotty while I was a way. I just got home from my work trip a bit less than an hour ago and I'm pretty fried. I'll get back to normal commenting soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Here's a possiblity I've been batting around: what if April tells Elly there's a problem with the counterspell? In order to set things back to normal, somebody has to stay there and take "the long route", so to speak -- living and aging through all those missing years, unable to affect anything until reaching the present day.

Elly, naturally, thinks that anyone but her should do it, even going so far as to claim April should be the one to cast it, since she has the book now. After she tries to deflect that responsiblity, April looks sadly at her and reveals that she lied: there was a way for her to avoid taking the long way. If everyone was willing to take a few years of the time each, the effect wouldn't have been as severe... but after seeing how Elly eagerly attempted to throw everyone else under the bus to save herself, nobody's willing to make even the smallest sacrifice for her.

"...You lied?" Elly can't believe it. "You lied... You lied to me, your own mother..."

April shakes her head. Even now, Elly doesn't get it... She still sees herself as the victim. With a heavy heart, she casts the counterspell, leaving the original caster (Elly) to absorb the brunt of the side-effects...

In the present-day, Elly is physically the same age as she should have been, but mentally... she's trapped in the same hell Grandpa Jim was. A horrible end, to be sure, but self-inflicted all the same.

forworse said...

In order to set things back to normal, somebody has to stay there and take "the long route", so to speak

Anonymous
What a brilliant idea, especially having Elly forced to live as Jim did, stuck watching life, but unable to participate in any meaningful or influential way. I really liked the idea of the other having the option to volunteer to take some of the time here or there. If it had been anyone but Elly they were helping, I could see such an offer being attractive, perhaps letting them go back and fix one or two little things -- get the last word in that argument, study harder before an exam, put a lock on the back gate, help Deanna rather than photograph the car accident, invest in Pixar...

April
As keen as I am to know how it all plays out in the end, I am really going to miss Foobar.

April Patterson said...

Anonymous, I think you're more clever than I am (I've already plotted out how it will end), but hope my ending will also be satisfying. :)

forworse--thanks, I'll miss it, too.