69 Comments

  1. Mom won on the only issue that she really cared about.
    P.S. The fabricated term “adulting” is so awkward, one might think that this was Funky Winkerbean. I have no idea why he didn’t write “parenting”, unless it was a simple brain fart.

  2. Well, I would have said she cared about them all. But indeed the one that Jeremy acted most grown-up about was the one we probably all rate the highest.

  3. … And even then, while neglect of the sober driving responsibility would present a RISK of the most serious consequences, most of the time they would not occur, and would cost the parents only in terms of worry. But all of the others give them ACTUAL inconveniences or need to take on additional chores.

  4. Kilby, the “adulting” is being done by Jeremy, not his mother. The “time-release” has to do with time-release pills, which don’t act all at once, but spread the action out over time. Jeremy is just starting to act like an adult, but it’s a slow process, as shown by one of five supposedly-adult actions.

  5. @ Arthur – OK, I’ll grant that I misinterpreted who is performing the action, but that doesn’t change the fact that “adulting” is a hideous non-word: “maturing” (or “maturity”) would have been much better.

  6. “Adulting” is a real word in circulation now. The perennial adolescents of today classify performing any normal act, like paying a bill or showing up for work on time every day in a week, as “adulting.” I think this one has staying power. Sadly.

    So, this is the Zits guy showing off how hip he is, just like his “OK Boomer” riff recently.

  7. Sort of like Robert talks “doctor” as he had two at time on the staff at his agency working for him. Medical staff, including doctors, as well as police, treat one differently on medical matters when one speaks doctor.

    When we were called at 4 am that mom had called the police and told them that her neighbors were going to kill her by the officer on the scene we ran out there. The officer was ready to leave when we arrived – Robert talked doctor to him and mom went to the hospital in an ambulance (the only possible way to get her there as she would refuse us). At the hospital the discussion with the staff and attention to mom changed when he explained that he had been executive director of a community mental health center, even more so with the doctor examining her. Works at the various doctors’ offices also.

    One is no longer a person who has no idea what they are talking about – but a trained professional in the field. (And, no, Robert is not a doctor, but he speaks it well.)

  8. Okay, but how did she know he went to a party with underage drinking — especially without already knowing he drove everyone home?

    Interesting that this one gets past the syndicate’s censors while there would have been big trouble if she’d asked “Did you and Sara remember to use protection last night?”

  9. She just figures that there was drinking, based on past behaviors. Also the framework clearly implies that the parents have had talks with him before about this and there is an expectation that he will responsibly abstain from the drinking and be the safe driver for his friends. That’s how it got onto the list for her (rather naggish if you ask me) questions this day.

  10. The conversation between Jeremy and mom makes sense – he’s not taking responsibility for most things, but at least he’s not drinking and driving, or allowing his friends to do so. It’s Walter’s “time-release” comment that doesn’t make sense. Time-release medicine, for instance, keeps acting evenly though the day. If he means time-delay, then it still doesn’t match as that would mean Jeremy eventually acts adult, not just on one thing. I’m taking this one as a comment IDU, and assuming the author just missed his intent. It happens.

    And yes, “Adulting” is becoming an established word. In fact, a local college offers an “Adulting 101″ class for high school students. The blurb describing it says, ” Gain confidence during your transition into adulthood by practicing critical life skills such as budgeting, time management and finding a job. Gain independence by learning to cook your own meals and look after your own vehicle. Discover your interests and strengths, and explore post-secondary options and career paths.”

  11. It’s “time-release” because he’s not going full-adult all at once. It’s being doled out piecemeal.

  12. “Gain independence by learning to cook your own meals and look after your own vehicle. Discover your interests and strengths, and explore post-secondary options and career paths.”

    So, the helicopter parents, the ones so hyper focused on making sure their precious offspring get the best and most of everything, and who think they are doing the bestest job ever of parenting… seem to have utterly and totally failed at the very most basic level? I mean, come on, in my day this course description would have sounded like some remedial thing for kids from dysfunctional, broken homes or who were in jail or something…

    …and get off my lawn.

  13. larK: I don’t know when “your day” was, but I was in high school in the 80’s, I didn’t know how to cook, or look after my own vehicle (the latter being particularly unsurprising, since I didn’t even know how to drive until the very end of high school). I doubt that there’s any recent era in the U.S. in which the ability of high school students to cook their own meals was so widespread that the only exceptions were from broken, dysfunctional homes – in fact, I’d be willing to wager that, among male high school students, that ability was much lower in the Boomer generation than in more recent generations.

  14. My take on this was that Jeremy was being a teenager at home, but his time release adulthood made him more responsible when he was out. Yeah, that’s not the real meaning of time release, but good enough for comics work.

  15. All the things listed in the course were taught to me by my parents (or they facilitated Socratic style the circumstances for me to learn it on my own): budgeting, time management, learning to cook, looking after a vehicle, all taught throughout my childhood and adolescence, all of which facilitated my discovering my interests and strengths; that’s what parents are (were?) for — only dysfunctional, broken, neglected kids would need a course for these things, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying everyone magically knew how to do these things — I’m saying they had parents to teach them over the course of some 18 years, and that a formal course so late to teach these things would seem absurd. And it wasn’t just me, my friends, cohorts, and peers were similarly situated by their parents to have basic necessary life skills. Sure, some people had different, more focused skills than others (I knew at least two people in high school who were rebuilding car engines with their parents — I could only change oil and tires), but everyone had some basic skills. Some of my friends could cook better than I could, but then again, I could cook better than some of my friends. Together, we had most of these things covered, and it made us feel strong and confident and independent. I shudder to think what my early adulthood would have been like if I’d felt I needed to take a course to teach me these basic things…

  16. My parents never taught me how to cook or how to look after a vehicle. Others, such as yourself, may have learned them from their parents before age 18, but I don’t view my childhood development as particularly dysfunctional – my parents just didn’t view these as priorities. I learned how to cook on my own, but it took a long time, and when I first lived on my own, I just ate a lot of frozen meals and sandwiches. I could have benefited from a home economics class (I probably wouldn’t have prioritized it, given limited time constraints, but it wouldn’t have been ridiculous for me to have take one).

    Perhaps your point is that I did have a dysfunctional, broken childhood – but if so, it was not an unusual one in any generation in recent history. Or perhaps your point is that my parents were parenting geniuses because they raised a kid who was later able to learn to cook on his own – but if so, this has not been universal in any generation in recent history, since I know a number of males of every generation, going back to the Boomer generation, that never learned to cook and ended up being reliant on their female spouse to make meals.

  17. I don’t know why you keep trying to steer this to a “men don’t know how to cook” thing — that is only one of the myriad life skills under discussion here: budgeting, time management, vehicle maintenance, cooking, finding a job, discovering interests and strengths. If your parents taught you none of these things, and by association made it so that your school taught you none of these things, then yes, you are broken and dysfunctional. I had home ec. classes as far back as Kindergarten (I recall we made apple sauce, which we later replicated at home), in middle school we did basic cooking and sewing; we had basic wood working, basic metal working, photography, dark room developing, and ink printing as regular courses through-out middle and high school, and you could take small engine repair and other more detailed classes if you wanted in high school. If you came out of high school unable to do any of these basic life skills, you would be considered as dysfunctional as if you came out of high school unable to do basic arithmetic and write your name. If I offer a college class for high school students offering basic arithmetic, how to write your name, and how to sound out words from a picture book — and not meant as a remedial course for broken, dysfunctional kids — that would be about as absurd as the offering described above sounds. Is literacy universal in any recent generation? Of course not, but just because you might know an illiterate 18-year-old or two doesn’t make the notion of having to teach high schoolers how to read not absurd. Similarly with basic life skills.

  18. I was introduced to the term “adulting” a year or two ago in another comic strip, MARY WORTH, where the irritating (but less so than many of the other regular characters) college student Dawn Weston thus described her big achievement (getting a summer part-time job in a hospital) to mentor Mary.

    Given that the uber-example of a presumptive adult in that strip is Mary herself, I didn’t think much of adulting as an achievement and/or aspiration.

    (But now, yes, I seem to see the term everywhere.)

  19. @WinterWallaby: “I learned how to cook on my own, but it took a long time, and when I first lived on my own, I just ate a lot of frozen meals and sandwiches.”

    O.K., late Bloomer.

  20. @Shrug: Nice one! 🙂

    When I was in Japan in the 90s, teaching at public junior high schools, the women teachers, who all knew I was single, would ask who cooked for me and did my laundry. They were astounded to discover that I alone was responsible for keeping me fed and clothed. It seems that, after spending 10 or 12 hours at school, they’d have to go home and feed their husbands and do the laundry or the poor creatures would starve naked.

    That said, I think it’s a good thing if schools bring in more practical life skills into lessons. It’d be nice if they didn’t call it “adulting”, though. While some may cast aspersions on parents who do not have the skill or foresight to teach their offspring, students would be better off if home economics (including cooking, basic sewing, and nutrition), repair skills (like woodshop/metalshop, but with an emphasis on doing repairs of stuff around the house and on the car), etc. Of particular use would be imparting financial literacy to students. Of course, maybe the elite don’t want that. Makes those ignorant youngsters easier prey.

    In general, finger-wagging doesn’t much help. Should parents teach children these things? Sure. But if you come across a drowning person, should you just yell “Your parents should have taught you to swim!”, give a disgusted head shake and walk on?

  21. re adulting: verbing weirds language. That said, in practice the term is less about knowing how to do such things in theory and more about getting them done in practice; it means more like having one’s act together relative to daily tasks.

    and also, WW: kids from broken or dysfunctional homes are if anything more likely to be able to cook, out of necessity.

  22. I was the oldest of eight kids, so I had learned to cook along the way. The entry for that was heating up canned soup. In the summer, my mother only made lunch for the little kids. The rest of us were pretty free-range and had to rustle our own lunch.

  23. Not too uncommon not to be able to cook: https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1986/11/05 .
    I learned the basics of knitting, sewing, cooking and wood-working between 3rd and 7th, but home, the stove, sewing machine or iron were absolutely out of bounds. Ironing and cars had to wait for my army-service.
    What about boy-scouts? i was never part of that but it seems one’d learn stuff with them.

  24. @ Dave in Boston – I’m not sure whether the citation was intentional, but either way, it deserves an illustration:

    P.S. In view of the subsequent comments about “adulting”, I have to say that I agree with Hobbes.

  25. Dave: “and also, WW: kids from broken or dysfunctional homes are if anything more likely to be able to cook, out of necessity.”

    I think you’re disagreeing with larK, not me.

  26. Olivier: I remember once when I was little my mom was out and my dad made dinner. He made spaghetti. We didn’t have any tomato sauce, so he used ketchup instead, reasoning that they were both basically the same thing. (Pro tip: they aren’t.)

  27. But if you come across a drowning person, should you just yell “Your parents should have taught you to swim!”

    There was an incident recently where a woman drove into flood waters and called 911. The operator lectured her about doing that. The victim ended up drowning, so it made the news.

  28. @ WW – I have encountered a disturbing number of German kids (and even an occasional parent) who seem to think that ketchup is an acceptable tomato sauce for noodle dishes. It makes my skin crawl, but as long as I don’t have to eat it myself, I’m willing to let a visiting kid put anything they want (within reason*) on their noodles.
    P.S. (*) – I think I would draw the line at maple syrup or chocolate sauce. I wouldn’t do it myself, but my wife and kids occasionally use a packaged (imitation) Hollandaise sauce on spaghetti..

  29. @Kilby: I’ve occasionally used Nutella instead of mustard. When you want to make something edible, both work efficiently at covering a bad flavour.

  30. @WW & Kilby: in the 80s, when fastfoods and ketchup were becoming a thing in France, I remember my mother buying a bottle but since we tried it on noodles, it was not a success and that was the end of it for us.

  31. @ Olivier – Years ago I had an experience that taught me to keep an open mind on this topic. A friend’s kid had such a strong aversion to chicken that he would only eat it when disguised (drenched) in salad dressing. His mom theorized that he might actually be allergic to chicken, and while I’ve never heard of a meat allergy, back then I supposed it might be possible. More recently, I’ve witnessed my own kids trying out oddball combinations (such as bratwurst with maple syrup), which seem awful to me, but they find them entertaining, at least for a short while. (There have been a few test combinations that were in fact awful, but such things don’t get repeated.)

  32. (ersatz foods)
    Some may remember a kind of pizza substitute served in school cafeterias, consisting of English muffin half, with a slice of orangey American cheese and something tomato. Not ketchup I think, probably tomato sauce. Or sometimes sliced fresh tomato, good choice! This would be broiled if they could.

    (access)
    I know from a recent thread that there is at least one other CIDUer familiar with the Rex Stout detective stories featuring Nero Wolfe and narrator / assistant Archie Goodwin. I never much liked Wolfe’s attitude to language change, which extended to burning Webster’s Third. I remember one of his irritations was using “contact” as both verb and noun – but now I can’t recall which was the traditional category, that he accepted, and which was the expanded use, that he scorned.

  33. My husband used to have ketchup on noodles as a snack when he was younger. However, this was fried noodles with the ketchup as a seasoning sauce, not in pasta-sauce quantities. This was back in the ’80s, in a small enough centre that ingredients where limited, so this was a somewhat pad-thai inspired dish, made by neighbours who had spent time in that region.

  34. Lark, I agree that it seems weird to take a class to learn what should be skills that have been learnt elsewhere, but to clear one thing up, “Adulting 101” is a summer camp class (that happens to be run at a local college) for kids going into any grade from 9-12, not an actual college-level course. I can’t recall if it’s one week or two, as it’s not one I was considering for my kids (who actually can cook, even though one is still in elementary school).

  35. So basically Home Ec. because the regular schools are too busy teaching for the tests so that no child gets left behind to bother to teach actual life skills anymore? I can get behind that. I’m not down on the kids who have never been taught this stuff, I’m down on us as a culture that we’ve let it come to this, thought I guess the fact that classes like this exist is a sign that we aren’t all letting it come to this. Still, a bit of culture shock that it has come to this.

  36. Olivier/Kilby/Christine: Huh! I thought this story was a sign that my dad didn’t know anything about cooking, but I guess it’s a sign that I wasn’t cosmopolitan enough as a kid. 😉

  37. larK: Or, alternatively, these are skills that could have been beneficial for some high school students in any generation, and you’re overestimating the universality of this skill set in your own generation.

    “I had home ec. classes as far back as Kindergarten (I recall we made apple sauce, which we later replicated at home), in middle school we did basic cooking and sewing; we had basic wood working, basic metal working, photography, dark room developing, and ink printing as regular courses through-out middle and high school, and you could take small engine repair and other more detailed classes if you wanted in high school. If you came out of high school unable to do any of these basic life skills, you would be considered as dysfunctional as if you came out of high school unable to do basic arithmetic and write your name.”

    I did not learn any of these in high school, and most of them would not have turned out to be useful for me as an adult. I disagree that these are skills as basic as arithmetic and being able to write my name.

  38. WW, if it makes you feel better, I still wince every time he shares that story. We lump it under “canned bean sprouts” as “reasons I’m glad I wasn’t born 20 years earlier”. They used ketchup because nothing better was available, not because it was great. They quite possibly also used less of it than your father did, and may have added other seasonings that my then-seven-years-old husband wasn’t aware of.

  39. @WW: budgeting, time management, vehicle maintenance, cooking, finding a job, discovering interests and strengths…
    I did not give a complete transcript of all my elementary education, just what I remembered off the top of my head, trying to show that it wasn’t just my exceptional family, but the basic curriculum of all those around me, that everyone I knew had basic skills imparted upon them as part of their general education growing up. You seem determined to showcase your lack of learning of any basic life skills as if it contradicts my experience, and especially seem hell-bent on proving that lack of any one isolated skill I mention indubitably proves that no-one learned any life skills, ever, and even if they did, they weren’t useful anyway. What are you trying to prove? That learning basic skills like budgeting, time management, cooking, vehicle maintenance, etc. are useless? That it is not a good idea to ensure that young people learn these skills growing up? Or merely to deny my experience that the people I know and grew up with learned these skills, and that I feel that if these skills are no longer being taught as part of basic education, then we as a society have done something wrong? Those are my opinions, you might not share them, but you can’t negate them; you might try to refute them, but merely saying “I didn’t see that, so you couldn’t have possibly seen that” isn’t refutation, it’s negation.

  40. @ WW – Similar to what Christine expressed, the ketchup usage that I described above had nothing whatsoever to do with “cosmopolitan”. Backwoods “hick” would be closer to the mark.

  41. Speaking of which, I assume everybody’s familiar with the “tomato soup” popular during the Depression, most famously in diners and Automats.

  42. When I was in high school I didn’t bother with the cooking classes as I thought they were probably unnecessary. The school was a little sneaky. In the catalog, they listed a class called “Boys Food” or something, with a description of teaching boys to cook. However, the course number was the same as Home Ec 1. So the class was not composed solely of boys. I imagine that at the time (70s) boys rarely signed up for Home Ec classes.

  43. Speaking of which, I assume everybody’s familiar with the “tomato soup” popular during the Depression, most famously in diners and Automats.

    “Emmy Made in Japan” has a sub-series of making “hard times” dishes. That’s included:

  44. As best I can recall, in my day (late 1950s/early 1960s small-town northern Minnesota), “shop” classes were open only to boys and “home ec” classes only to girls. And I don’t think anyone (self included) was enlightened enough to think there was anything strange about that.

    I disliked shop class (not as much as I actively hated Phy ed, but fairly close), and in retrospect would, if it had been possible, have far rather happily taken a home ec class. (Well, maybe not if it meant being beaten up on the bus most days by thugs, which it would have done, but that would continue to be happening anyway.)

  45. In my school, shop and hom ec became co-ed somewhere between June 1971 and Septembet 1976.

  46. I’m wondering now… is driver’s ed dying off in schools not just because of budgetary concerns, but because young people are just not driving as much? My son never got his license and doesn’t think he ever will: he’s a City boy, plus there’s Uber.

    He’s far from alone among his peers (late 20s) in being in no great rush to drive.

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