Those of you who are old enough will probably remember a time before Google, when there was a plethora of competing search engines such as Yahoo, AltaVista, Infoseek, Netscape search etc. One of those search engines was called “Ask Jeeves”. It was the first time I came across the name of Jeeves, and I thought it was a really stupid name for a search engine. It was many years later that I stumbled across the writings of P.G. Wodehouse and his stories about Bernie Wooster and his butler Jeeves, and I enjoyed them so much, that I think I read about every Wodehouse book multiple times. Next to Terry Pratchett, he’s my favorite humorous author!
The only drawback for a non-native speaker is that I tend to unconsciously incorporate the language that I consume into my personal repertoire. When you use a phrase an early-20th century butler would use in normal conversation, it does not always help the conversation.
By the way! I hope nobody will take offense in the word “poppycock”. It is a perfectly acceptable English word, which (according to Merriam-Webster) apparently derived from the Dutch dialect word “pappekak”, which means “soft dung”. So it’s rather close to the American “BS”. I only mention this, because one of our (probably former) readers once got upset with us for using the word “dumbass” and accused us of using foul language. Even though the word refers to the donkey, not the body part, and is probably acceptable in children books and movies.
That’s a whole new tangent I could go off on. You wouldn’t believe some of the critical feedback we (fortunately only) occasionally get. One day we’ll compile a list and make an extra page about it, we promise!
It’s always fun, with the benefit of hindsight, to analyze predictions from the past about today. And it looks like the prediction of the “paperless office” was about as wrong as you can get. But, on the other hand, maybe the content of that prediction is not wrong, but only the timing! I’m sure we will reach that stage at some point, but it just will take its time. Technology can advance in leaps, but societal, cultural and economical change needs time to run its course.
I still do almost all of my accounting in paper format. But I’m getting more and more digital receipts etc. that I’m sure I’ll get to the point of not even bothering to print them anymore. Coincidentally, exactly while doing my accounting, I came across the line “think about the environment before you print” that gave me the idea for today’s strip …
The first couple of sentences in this blog are just to avoid using the words that would give away the punchline. If you have already read the strip, you can continue reading… So, overworked and underpaid. Aren’t we all? I’m sure there are a few people with cushy jobs and even some who are happy with their salary, but I don’t really know that many. Or maybe it’s because nobody likes to admit when they’re not working hard. At least I can’t complain about being fed cheap coffee. Not that it wouldn’t be on the cheap side, but as I said before, I’m a bit of a philistine in that regard.
So, anybody in here who’s NOT overworked and/or who feels paid well? Wait, that’s not the right way to get a discussion going. I can already hear the crickets and see the tumbleweeds!
Hans is continuing his thorough investigation into Chuck’s drug habits. I wonder what dark secrets he will bring to light in the end! And although in this context it isn’t meant in that way, I’m sure “going down in flames” is code for something to do with drugs. I don’t even know half the language for that stuff in my mother tongue. But I can vividly remember the day when I was offered “a slow one” and “a fast one” on the same day in a, back then notorious, subway station in Vienna. I still don’t know what they were trying to sell me.
I just realized when looking at today’s strip, that I can’t really relate with either of the characters in this context. I’ve always been self-employed, so I never had to ask for a raise. On the other hand, I don’t employ others, so I never had to think about giving someone a raise. The only thing I have to think about is how high I bid when I make offers to clients. That’s an art in itself, and one which I’m very bad at. Maybe that’s the reason why I don’t have employees! Hmm… Food for thought.
Oh, and last but not least: Don’t do drugs, kids! Drugs are bad, m’kay!
I wanted to write something about the fact that I can’t really speak about drugs, outside of a theoretical perspective, because pretty much the only drug I do is beer. And even that I don’t consume very regularly in recent times.
But then I thought about the feeling I just had. I just had lunch, and when I got back into my office, I felt this absolute craving for sugar. It can’t be that I’m hungry, because I just ate. For a minute or two it was at the absolute forefront of my mind, and I had to concentrate to be able to work. I more and more get the suspicion that sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there. And it’s so hard to avoid, because it is present in so many foods, either naturally or added. I significantly reduced my sugar intake in the last year and a half. But recently, because of vacation, where I don’t skip the dessert and do indulge in ice cream, and because of the delicious jams we just made out of the cherries and apricots in our own garden, I think my digestive system has already reverted back to the old sugar routine. Also, I show pretty much all of the warning signs that Chuck is showing, so it’s high time to wane myself off again!
Well, when it comes to walking into a room and then trying to remember what you came in there for, or what you were planning to say, Hans is in good company. A company of billions, probably. I think the only people who don’t have that problem are those who don’t have rooms to walk into.
Ha! We drew this strip right before I went to Greece for the fire season and right when I got to the helicopter fire base the internet was down for two days. Boy, was the helicopter and the base clean after those days! Could we possibly predict the future with our comics?
On the same token I couldn’t help but wonder the whole time if the crew chief didn’t do to us what Hans did to Sally. As I am writing this blog I am actually starting to wonder if we should even publish this strip since my boss might be reading it as well. But Stefan is on vacation and I can’t make the changes so I will have to live with the consequences I guess.
When I was young, we only had two TV channels. On one of those channels, they were running a repeat of an old TV show from the Seventies, called “The Good Soldier Švejk”. It’s the story about a Czech soldier going through various adventures in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. Soldier Švejk distinguishes himself by being almost absolutely useless. He always seems well intentioned and eager to please his superiors, but somehow always fails, because of his dumbness and clumsiness. By acting that way, nothing can be held against him, but he avoids being tasked with any difficult, taxing or dangerous missions or jobs. All the while, you never know if Švejk really is dumb, or is only playing dumb.
While we were watching, our father said to us: “I want you to pay good attention to this, my sons. That’s how you behave in the army! If you’re too eager, not only will your superiors dump more work on you, but also your comrades will hate you for raising the bar for everyone. Keep your head down, don’t mouth back, and don’t show how intelligent you really are. The only thing to do differently than Švejk is to make no waves, positive or negative. Basically, make it your mission that on the day you leave the army, your superiors aren’t even sure who you are.”
That was great advice! I sailed through the army like a breeze (more or less). It probably depends on the type of army you are entering, but here in Austria, we have a general draft, so there’s a widespread culture of “let’s get this over with” among the recruits. If you voluntarily sign up for the US Marine Corps, for example, and want to make a career in the military, I would assume that a totally different strategy would be advisable.
It’s a scientific fact, that a healthy diet doesn’t reduce your risk of dying at all. Also, what would life be like without pizza? Right? Case closed. Although I have to say that, the older I get, the more I get picky and sensitive about the stuff I eat, and I also get more conscious about my health. Recently I tried to reduce my intake of sugar. It’s really hard! I heard about people who manage to cut out processed sugar out of their diet completely. I wonder if I could do that. It would literally turn shopping into a scavenger hunt, where 90% of all products are just there for distraction.
Is anybody in here on a special diet? Anybody who’s on a ketogenic, paleo or primal diet or something like that? Because that concept sounds really interesting, but I just can’t seem to find the time to get started and try it out.