The Purge

The startled reaction of Emma (the daughter) in panel 2 must be preparing us for the weird drama of panel 4; but why? And why is she wearing gloves — dishwashing gloves? — for her big announcement? And especially, what does she mean by “purge”? A reference to the movie series? A different way of talking about simplifying and tossing out whatever does not give joy (and is not worth inheriting)? We hope it’s not another name for “juice cleanse”!


So mothers saying this to daughters is the new version of this venerable trope!

(This one not a CIDU.)


  1. I agree with the “get rid of all the crap” but not with the “she wants the stuff now.” Purge doesn’t mean keep, it means get rid of. And I don’t blame her–it took me, my three siblings, a nephew, and a former in-law DAYS to go through all of my dad’s stuff after he passed. If we’d been able to go through it with him years earlier, perhaps he wouldn’t have hung onto things no one wanted for so long (like that super ugly ceramic horse with the gilded eyelashes he was “saving” for me…)

  2. If I’m correctly reading the About tab on Between Friends, the daughter in this pair is adopted? I guess that shouldn’t, but possibly might make some difference in how they would feel discussing inheritance.

  3. I’m with Susan T-O on this one, and half of what Ian said. She doesn’t want most of the stuff and the dad’s comment makes her realize she will have to deal with it eventually, so might as well start now.

  4. “Purge” has the connotation of a rapid, thorough getting rid of something. She wants to get rid of all the junk now so she is not left to deal with it on her own. A good idea, I’ll say. I had to empty my parent’s apartment after my father died (my mother had died 9 years earlier). It would have been a great idea for him to have done some of that over the years. It took a lot of work and so much of it could have gone before.

    And when we moved from our last place to this one, I filled up the dumpster (albeit not a huge one) with stuff we had no need of several times over. And there’s still a bunch of junk I’d be glad to be rid of here.

    So, I’m sympathetic to the Marie Kondo view of only keeping things that spark joy. I do think you need to understand what I think she means, though. A corkscrew can fall in that category because it allows you to enjoy wine. And a plunger allows you to use your toilet with confidence. There’s joy in that. 🙂

  5. Hmmm, reading my comment and thinking about it a moment, of course it’s more complicated why people keep stuff they don’t need or even really like. From my mother’s death until my father died, he didn’t do any redecorating. He kept things as she had set them up, including things like leaving her jewelry box on the dresser and such. Or the decorative dolls on a shelf in the bedroom. I think there was some comfort, some memory of her, in keeping that. I can see the difficulty in letting that go.

  6. Ted says: “… the dad’s comment makes her realize she will have to deal with it eventually.”

    Typo, or oversight? Check out and you’ll see that this family unit does have a dad but he does not appear in this day’s strip.

    Susan is married to Harv and has an adopted daughter named Emma, who is a university student.

    Harv is married to Susan. An all-around modern male and supportive spouse, he is a funeral director and the orderly yin to Susan’s messy yang.

    (Maybe this is a Canadian understanding of yin and yang??)

    Emma is Susan and Harv’s adopted daughter who is a science major in university. She's efficient and organized.

    So I think it is susan and emma we are seeing in this episode.

  7. Aha, that’s just the wobbly border of the speech balloon going upward from her right hand, in the final panel. I thought it was an implement of some kind, maybe even a weapon. Or smoke. That’s why I was thrown into worrying about the “lawless rioting” sense of “Purge”. But she isn’t quite saying that. Though the gloves do suggest she is ready to get to work right away.

  8. Some of these comments remind me of a mid-70s BBC TV series called Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, a sequel to the mid-60s The Likely Lads, about a couple of young friends.

    In the second series Terry has returned from army service in Germany still a bit of a rootless, feckless scallywag, but Bob has gone a bit upmarket in dress and aspirations and during the series he goes through the process of marrying Thelma and they set about buying a new-build house together. In the “Storm in a Tea Chest” episode Bob is aiming to bring into the new house a chest of all his old treasured childhood possessions – teddy bear, old comic book annuals, various toys – but Thelma thinks they are all just appalling junk and gives them to the vicar to sell for charity. He, affronted, buys them back, but then is persuaded to get rid of them after all.

    Thelma then brings to the new house her own box of treasured childhood possessions and lovingly brings them out to show. But they exactly match Bob’s old possessions item for item – her Bunty annual matching Bob’s Beano, her doll matching his teddy bear and so on. But hers are infused with the magic of her childhood memories, whereas his are just bits of old tat.

  9. Well, of course you all are right, and I was wrong. No more posting before breakfast for me.

  10. The molehill mountain one made me think of Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, but I don’t know if anyone besides me has read it. It has to do with inherited dust piles.

  11. Mark in Boston, I recall recently somewhere posting in reply to something about Dickens, and mentioning his “four great late books”. Now I couldn’t say for sure what those were supposed to be, but I know they are supposed to include Little Dorritt and Our Mutual Friend, both of which I have read, and likely Bleak House, which I have experienced only via television miniseries, but did enjoy that way.

    The two memorable points I recall from an introductory essay in the book of Our Mutual Friend were (1) grammar snobs even then thought there was something amiss about that use of “mutual”; and (2) “dust” at that time would refer to something dirtier than modern dust, more like what we would call “trash” or frankly “garbage”. So the (actually very valuable) “dust heaps” the characters are fighting for monetary control over would be for us “a garbage dump”.

  12. Here in the UK we still use “dustbins”, meaning receptacles for general garbage (everything left over from food waste, tins, bottles, paper, plastics and cardboard, which mostly have their own receptacles), which I guess in the US are trash cans.

    We still put the dustbins* out for collection, and in the old days a dustman would pick them up and dump the contents in a dustcart, but these days it’s generally bin men (even though some of them are women) dumping them in a bin lorry. A duster is used for dust, but even a dustpan and brush is more likely to be used for tiny bits of crap rather than actual dust.

    Oh, my old man’s a dustman
    He wears a dustman’s hat
    He wears cor-blimey trousers
    And he lives in a council flat

    Some folks give tips at Christmas
    And some of them forget
    So when he picks their bins up
    He spills some on the step

    *though more often they are now called wheelie bins, cos they have wheels, and they are bigger than the old metal can style dustbin of my youth.

  13. deety – I had no idea of what the relationship was between the girl on the left (inheritee) and the person on the right (inheritor), so I guessed. I apologize if I offended anyone.

  14. Ted, I posted all that detail I had looked up, just as a matter of interest for anyone following. The only part really directed to you in particular was that Susan is female. I’m fine with people who prefer to present as gender-neutral, or with using neutral language when the person you’re referring to is not known or is ambiguous of presentation. The appearance in the CIDU-posted strip is maybe more ambiguous than the “About” portrait I linked, but even so I was surprised you might see that person as male, even at a guess. But to each their own!

  15. At our home, we conjugate the comment of @narmitaj re: “Storm in a Tea Chest” as:

    My stuff, your junk. his crap.

  16. They gave us the wheelie bins (one for trash/yard waste and one for recycling) and I found out that the drivers don’t like it if you don’t use the bin. If you just put a bag, like I would often do, they have to stop and get out rather than just use the “big arm”.

  17. Dustbins got filled up mostly with fireplace ashes and stove ashes, and so what was in them was mostly dust. There wasn’t quite as much other stuff as you’d expect. Papers got burned to dust in the stove. Food came wrapped in paper, not plastic. Bottles were sent for re-use. But still there were things tossed into the dustbin that could be salvaged, and the occasional thing of real value found its way there.

    “The Golden Dustman” in “Our Mutual Friend” presumably made his fortune by sifting through the dust for anything of value. There was a real-life “Golden Dustman”, Henry Dodd, who made a fortune in waste management.

  18. 1 – She has put on (blue) rubber gloves and a red head kerchief in the last panel to start purging and cleaning.

    2 – Marie Kondo – One needs to keep many items which do not bring joy – on many days if I only kept what brings joy Robert and I would standing naked in the street – and some days he would not be there either. I need clothes or I can walk out of the house, but I assure you, my clothes bring no joy, they serve their purpose and since I don’t particularly want to go where are we going most times (in normal times and now) there is no joy to going out in the clothes. I had tried contacting her by email to find out if there was something lacking in the translation, but the reply I received was to sell me organizing services.

    I was terribly confused by her description of how to organize a closet – she was putting dressers in it, until I happened to go past a Japanese movie on TV and the closets there are apparently as closets were in the 1700s British/colonial homes – a room used as a personal space (hence closeted away).

  19. Some bins — one of which is serving in a role I thought went to “your old kit bag”, whatever that is.

  20. My tax returns and supporting documentation do not bring me joy, but at least I can throw them away after some number of years.

  21. Mitch4 – an actual room, much larger than a walk in closet – at least larger than my parent’s walk in closet was in the movie.

    In the 1700s a closet could be a full sized room. In Colonial Williamsburg in the Peyton Randolph house at the rear of the first floor there is what appears to be a bedroom to the left as one enters through the rear door – it is Mrs. Randolph’s “closet”. It is her personal space from which she runs the household while “closeted” away. (I use this room as we are friends with the former portrayer of Betty Randolph at CW and I know “she” would not object to my sharing information about her personal space in the house. She retired about 5 years ago from CW.)

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