From larK: “I mean, I understand the whole setup and expected punch-line, I just don’t understand the actual execution of the punch-line: ‘now I need oxygen’? As opposed to fresh air? Huh? How does that tie up the I went-out-to-cheer-myself-up-but-got-even-more-depressed-instead gag the strip is going for?”
Pure oxygen is the freshest air.
It makes more sense if you put on your 1950s techno-future mindset.
I took it as it made him so upset he needed medical attention. As in “I think I need to go to the hospital and be put on oxygen.”
What he saw took his breath away…and not in a good way.
My take on the oxygen is closest to that of Dave in Boston. He was a little out of sorts, and got some fresh air for that. But what he witnessed around the base made him even more upset, so what he wants now is like “fresh air” but an escalation of it, in the form of oxygen.
It’s a combination of Dave in Boston and Philip.
Set up: I’m mildly stressed. I need x;
Body: things that make him more stressed.
Punchline; Now I’m extremely stressed and I need uber-x that is so strong it’s associated with hospitals and life threatening conditions.
For it to be funny you have to have “air” and “oxygen” associated with a median and an extreme of a gradient.
Those things should not be happening at a well-run Army base. Things like a smashed Jeep are supposed to get taken away quickly. The dogs have no business there, and that garbage is supposed to be covered. Lower management is supposed to take care of these things but ultimately the responsibility goes up to the top, i.e. the General himself. Yes, he has much to do.
No one has ever accused Camp Swampy of being a well-run Army base.
WW that was my first spit take when reading Mark in Bostons comment.
But reading to the last sentence– that the responsibility goes to the general himself– I see that Mark in Boston was explaining the CIDU. The general goes out for some fresh air, sees his unit is falling apart, knows that ultimately he’ll be held responsible. He has a panic attack. He needs oxygen.