1. Imagine you’re on a road trip, running low on gas, and you spot a sign that says it’s the last chance for gas for 82 miles. What a relief! You not only get gas, but you fill up right before a long stretch of no gas stations. You let out a celebratory shout/sigh, and maybe pump your fist at your sudden windfall.

    So imagine instead you’re on a road trip with chocolate-loving college girls (and trope-y “Woo!” girls at that). What kind of highway sign would they celebrate? Why, a sign that gives you one last chance to satisfy your chocolate cravings before a long stretch of chocolate-less driving.

  2. Yes, but buying chocolate isn’t as difficult as buying toilet paper during a pandemic.

    They’re woo-ing over the fact that they WON’T BE ABLE TO buy chocolate for the next couple of hours.

  3. J-L has it. They see a sign for chocolate and they go “Wooo!”. The sign also suggests that chocolate isn’t that common, so they’re lucky to find this place.

    Bill, you think too quickly for this comic. You’re not supposed to notice the illogic until well after you’ve moved on to the next comic in your routine. See “fridge logic” at https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeLogic if you’re not afraid of losing half a day because you clicked one page on tvtropes and it led you down the rabbit hole.

  4. Personal nostalgia: This reminds me of a series of billboard ads for a candy store somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We pestered our parents every trip, until they finally relented and we drove to the place. I forget the name, but their flagship product turned out to be a marshmallow nougat roll with nuts in it. The stuff tasted good for about a bite and a half, and the rest was odiously sweet and sticky. We were never tempted to go there ever again.

  5. CIDU Bill, The joke has been explained. There’s no logicking it into being funny if you didn’t find it funny.

    Personally, I get where you’re coming from. A piece of art has to be successful at engaging the reader/viewer/listener and absorbing their attention. For me, when I’m watching a movie, I know it’s not a good movie if I start seeing all the lapses in logic or alternate courses of action they should have taken while watching the film. If it is a good enough story and told well, such things will not occur to me until after the movie is over. It may even take several viewings (though, with the Internet, more likely someone will be complaining about it the moment the thing is released).

    With this comic, and others that appear here, the joke is so weak that all the other weaknesses come to mind while reading it. The more forced the joke, the more likely that is.

  6. P.S. @ Bill – Offering chocolate at this exit doesn‘t provide any particular incentive to stop. Warning that this is the “last chance” (for the next 82 miles) reminds them that they have to stop now, or be forced to “starve” for at least another hour. This is a common tactic employed by gas stations on sparsely populated highways.

  7. My problem with over-thinking this one is that if they are all *that* fanatical about chocolate, surely they would have brought a huge supply of same with them in the car when they started out (and they’d be sure of getting the exact kind they liked, and probably would have paid less for it than at a shop in the middle of nowhere). Then I started thinking maybe it’s so hot that they were afraid it would melt, and then I have to doublecheck the panel to see if there are any hints as to how hot the area/day probably is, and wondering if “ice cream” would have worked more logically, and by that time I’ve wasted far more seconds and brain cells than the comic deserves.

  8. Because cars have finite gas tanks, the purpose of a gas sign is to get MORE drivers to stop for gas, it is a cause for preparation. Since passengers do not have finite chocolate tanks, this sign gives each passenger a reason to buy MORE chocolate, it is a cause for celebration.

  9. Kilby’s 2nd post is spot on. And to expand on that, the artist is trying to convey that in this comic world, chocolate is hard to come by. “Chocolate this exit” would not have suggested that.

  10. ‘chocolate’ might be a euphemism for #2: last rest area with TP before the big empty.

  11. @ Andréa – Egad, you are absolutely correct. I thought that the nuts were almonds or maybe walnuts, but the horrible concoction turns out to have been a “pecan log roll“. Absolutely inedible for anyone over the age of 12.

  12. Yep, Stuckey’s is where I ate my first pecan log roll . . . I still like ’em, but one bite every few days about does it. NOT that I’ve had any for years. Stuckey’s were, I believe, mostly in the American South, but we had one outside of Kenosha, WI for a few years. They had clean bathrooms, which my family utilized whilst traveling by car across the country.

    And then there was the ubiquitous WALL DRUG –

  13. @ Olivier – That suggestion is even ewwwier than anything I’ve seen come out of McPherson’s pen, and that is saying quite a lot.

  14. Andrea-

    Heading south on I-95 were the ubiquitous (and racist) South of the Border signs:


    Out of curiosity, we finally stopped once to gas up and found a tacky motel and equally tacky bunch of gift shops (and fireworks!).

  15. “Imagine you’re on a road trip, running low on gas, and you spot a sign that says it’s the last chance for gas for 82 miles. What a relief! You not only get gas, but you fill up right before a long stretch of no gas stations. You let out a celebratory shout/sigh, and maybe pump your fist at your sudden windfall.”

    Seriously? Has *anyone* ever done that?

    Everyone I know who sees a sign saying “last gas for 82 miles” says “Oh, f***! I better tank up!”. Or they might be grateful for the warning “Whew, good thing I they told me”. But I’ve *never* seen anyone find *joy* in seeing that it is the last gas for a stretch.

  16. The problem with saying with saying Bill is using Fridge logic or trying to logic it into being funny, is for something to seem funny *until* we logic it, it has to seem like something that could exist in the world and it’s only by *thinking* that you realize it doesn’t make sense.

    If, on the other hand, something just doesn’t make sense and you have to think really hard to comprehend that it *could* make sense that is the opposite. If you had a cartoon about horses cowering in fear from a chicken because they are afraid the chicken will beat them up it’s reasonable to be confused because why on earth would the horses be afraid of the chicken beating them up?

    In this case, I have never seen *anyone* hoot about a “last gas for 82 miles” sign. Everyone I know would have a *negative* reaction to the word “last”. This isn’t a niggling little detail that I only become aware of standing in the fridge hours later; this is the *utmost* and prominent meaning of the word “LAST”. It takes a *lot* of logic to work that there could be another reaction to “LAST” other “Oh, S@#%!!!”

  17. The last time I did a cross country road trip in 2008 I was disappointed that we only came across one last gas for x00 miles signs (driving south in Utah towards Moab). Two theories, either there are less of them because the west is getting more built up, or there were never that many to begin with, but the first time you see one, it really sticks out in your mind.

    (There are of course “next exit in x miles” signs on most limited access highways, especially in less populated areas, but they aren’t really the same, in that the x is usually <50, and you don't get the feeling, like you do out west, that in the intervening x miles there is not only no gas, but no people, at all…)

  18. Stuckey’s was a family favorite when traveling in the ’50’s. I had 3 brothers, and Mother would buy 1 Pecan Log Roll and slice it into 6 pieces. That one bite was such a treat. After I had grown up, I went there relishing the idea of having the whole thing all to myself. I didn’t eat more than 2 bites and never bought another one.

  19. What’s wrong with pecans? They’re my second favorite culinary nut after cashews.

  20. My most memorable Pennsylvania Turnpike memory was passing a truck with a big BICKEL’S POTATO CHIPS logo on it.

    Apparently they’re a very big deal in Pennsylvania.

    (And founded by a different one of the three entirely unrelated Bickel families that settled New York/Pennsylvania area)

  21. Man, talk about dredging up old memories. I used to LOVE those pecan log rolls. They were typically a special treat, not like I could have one whenever I wanted, but I had no trouble scarfing down a whole one when the occasion arose. You guys are wusses.

    As for “last chance” signs, Utah must be place. There’s a truck stop headed east on I70 from Richfield that plays it up for about 10 miles before you get there. Of course, it’s legitimate, since once you pass their exit it’s over 100 miles to Green River and the next exit with services. Actually, out west it’s fairly common to have highway signs (not advertisements) saying “no services next xx miles” just before an exit (with services).

  22. Stuckey’s was a family favorite when traveling in the ’50’s says Bookworm.

    We bought a huge bag of pecans from a Stuckey’s along the way, and it lasted most of the drive to NYC from Miami. In the back seat, we kids would practice opening the pecans without a nutcracker, by striking two together. And then you would hold onto one that hadn’t broken and make it a champion in battles and tournaments. We didn’t even like eating them all that much.

    At one time here were good candy-and-nut stands inside your better department stores. Or maybe even Sears. The fresh, hot, roasted and half salted cashews , scooped into a small paper container, could be indescribably delicious! I got some from a cart in an airport concourse once and didn’t want to finish and board.

    Now I still buy jars of roasted cashews fro Target, and regret it for months. Such sad, mealy, flavorless things. I tried heating in microwave, not good. Frying in a very little oil in a small skillet was pretty good, but a lot of work for a snack. I even switched to the crispy honey-butter coated kind, which were okay until they changed the formulation .

  23. @ Brian in StL – Pecans are fine, but the Stuckey’s “log roll” is an incredibly sweet mass of nougat goop, as Bookworm has confirmed.

  24. Those are peKAHNS. The PEEcans are what private eyes on a stakeout in their car need to use.

  25. Technically, it’s a roll of ‘divinity’, not ‘nougat’. One will grab your sweet tooth; the other will pull it out of your mouth.

  26. @ Andréa – Effectively, that means that the subject of all of those interminable “divinity” strips in “Peanuts” was the core of a “pecan log roll”. I’m glad I didn’t know that back when I was reading them.

  27. I assume the goop is “the divinity which shapes our ends,” at least if you eat enough of it and don’t exercise much?

  28. SingaporeBill – I have problems like that with most movies. Even worse I generally figure out “who dun it” early in mystery movies – when we saw “Knives out” I figured out who done it before it was done. A curse of my dad doing same and explaining after the fact he did it and my learning from same.

  29. CIDU Bill – sure they are completely unrelated Bickels?

    Recent feature story – a new subdivision in the SW (I think the SW – it looked like same). Two couples move in next door to each other. They are talking at social distance. The two men’s families come from a small town in a Scandinavian country – something like 35 people in the town. Turns out they are cousins with (I think it was) the same great grandfather.

    Robert has a fairly common last name – not as common as Smith or Jones but common enough that people often say on meeting one or both of us for the first time – are we related to…. that they know. We answer no before they finish. We are the only 2 people left in the family with the name. (His sister took her husband’s name.)

    When his paternal grandfather came here from Italy he joined the army during WWI and served under Pershing in Mexico in the Calvary. As a result he was given American citizenship. His first name was chanced from San Giovanni Battisti (St John the Baptist) to James and the “inni” was removed from the end of his last name. He had two children – Robert’s dad who had two children – Robert and his sister – and a daughter who did not have children. Anyone else in the extended family has the original last name yet – so we are the only two people in the family with this last name.

  30. Absolutely, Meryl: there are Jewish Bickels from a region that was in either Russia or Poland depending on which way the wind was blowing. And German Mennonite Bickels. And Bickels from rural northern England.

    There could be other, for all I know.

    At least I’m certain Idiot Bill isn’t one of “ours.”

  31. I guess add me to the list of annoying people who dissect movies: instead of just enjoying them, I work ahead and figure out the “twist ending.”

    And then I get bored because the movie’s basically in a no-win scenario: if I’m right, then they’re just wasting my time getting to the end. If I’m wrong, I’ll probably like my ending better.

  32. Bill – with me who did it often just pops into my head. I think it comes from my dad. I remember we had a Man from Uncle puzzle that one assembled and it had a clue to solve a mystery. I could not figure it out – dad looked at it and knew instantly and explained to me – what gave it away was that Napoleon did not smoke cigarettes – there was one burning on the table in the picture. By teaching me to look for things like that – and lots of Sherlock Holmes – I have had to learn to not give away movie/TV etc endings.

  33. Here is something that was totally confusing to me though. I had never seen any James Bond movies before I was going with Robert. First one I saw was “Diamonds are Forever” which was on a double bill with “On Her Majesty’s Service”. In the first movie actor Charles Grey plays Blofeld – the villain. In the second movie (filmed before the first one of course,but I saw it second) Charles Grey is a friend of Bond’s. He appeared and I presumed he was Blofeld again and was shocked to find he was not. I was envisioning how he was going to attack Bond.

  34. My first Bond film was Casino Royale. The one with Woody Allen. I saw it with my cousins, and none of them had ever seen a Bond film either, and we had no idea this wasn’t a normal Bond film.

    Let’s just say we were confused.

  35. It was the first one I saw also – long before Robert and the same applies. He likes the newer Casino Royale better. There was also a TV version with Barry Newman before the first movie.

    Fleming thought that Bond should look like Hoagy Carmichael.

  36. CIDU Bill and Meryl A, I too sometimes find myself getting ahead of things and figuring out the twist. I generally think it’s better to just write a good story and try to force a twist. I don’t think it ruins it for me if I see it coming. It can be a sign of a bad movie but isn’t enough in itself. If the story is good in general, looks good, has good performances, it can still be a terrific film. I’m also willing to overlook cheap production values if the storytelling is top notch. I do confess that I do sometimes keep a running list of all the things wrong with a movie as I watch it, but that’s for movies that are bad. However, I usually just turn bad movies off unless I’m watching with someone else who has lower standards and is enjoying it. As someone mentioned in another thread, I’m fine with “refrigerator moments”, where the flaw only becomes obvious to me sometime after finishing the movies (such as when getting something from the refrigerator).

  37. Re story twists:

    I was reading a novel and noticed some obvious clues, well before the half-way point. I kept waiting for the author to finally admit what was obvious so he could get on with the real plot. It turns out that what I saw as obvious was the “surprise” ending, and there was no further plot.

  38. My strongest memory of that first Casino Royale is my older cousin leaning over toward the rest of us and saying in a loud whisper “the first one who figures out what’s going on, raise your hand.”

  39. My strongest memory of that first Casino Royale is the tailor asking if he’s right-handed or left-handed. My father was watching and explained it to me.

  40. There is an older version of Casino Royale with Barry Newman as Bond – 1954 TV show. I think Robert has it on some video – probably Beta or VHS.

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