Makes no diff?

By the bye, we didn’t recall Blondie’s catering service having a walk-ins-welcome retail deli outlet.

But anyhow, this little story has the structure of a Turnabout or maybe Topper trope. (Thorne Smith allusions entirely accidental!) Blondie looks shocked in the last panel, as though the mom’s substitution of the iPad as the plaything is even more of a shocking violation than the phone was. But is that so? Or is the mom’s “reasoning” sort of correct, and there is a greater likelihood of the child being able to make some use of a tablet than of a smartphone?


  1. I like Dvandom’s explanation, of customer-Mom’s line of thought. But is Blondie rejecting it as even worse? Or am I reading too much into her clutching hand, and lack of words to respond with?

  2. Given that there is an entire category of educational tablet apps for for toddlers, where they can learn shapes, colors, letters, and all sorts of things like that, this seems reasonable to me. You shouldn’t let toddlers spend TOO much time on tablets, I suppose, but you shouldn’t let grownups spend too much time on tablets, either, and that ship has sailed.

    Tablets are at less risk of making accidental phone calls than phones are, and are bigger and easier for small fingers to play with. And the current recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that an eighteen-month old is fine with up to one hour a day of supervised interactive screen time (total, not all at once). So the mother’s actions are entirely within currently-understood best practices for child-rearing.

  3. Or maybe just the fact that with most tablets, kid can’t call 911 or Bolivia by accident (or “on accident” as folks under ?40? say).

  4. I’d say Blondie’s final expression is not about whether the baby can operate the iPad, but how destructive it will turn out. As for the mother’s “reasoning,” depending on their individual setup, it’s likely the iPad will be wifi only, and unless she connects to Blondie’s or tethers to her phone, the baby cannot actually go on a shopping spree. (Of course it’s possible the iPad is on cell service itself)
    When we were shopping for training potties, we were surprised they had models with built-in iPad perches!

  5. @ianosmond “you shouldn’t let grownups spend too much time on tablets, either, and that ship has sailed.”

    viz. replyall “screen time” cartoon in the Sunday Lols – the joke I didn’t get.

  6. I don’t think this is a “That’s even worse” joke. I think it’s a “Why does firemen wear red suspenders” joke. Blondie thinks it’s too young for any electronic device but mom’s in a different world that can’t conceive that concept and assumes she meant a phone specifically. As for what rationale she’d have that too young for phone/but tablet fine, we aren’t supposed to know. That’s part of the joke.

  7. “My mom told me to stop biting my fingernails, so I just bite my toenails now.”

    Bert: “Ernie! Stop eating crackers in your bed!”
    Ernie: “I’m not! I’m eating crackers in YOUR bed.”

    But you’re right, it’s not a “That’s even worse” joke. More like “Stop eating crackers in bed.” “I’m not. I’m eating cookies in bed.”

  8. This cartoon reminds me of an incident not long after the iPad was first introduced. (Although I am pretty sure the device in this story was not an Apple-brand tablet.)

    So I went into a local deli for lunch. A couple of the employees — or they may have been the owners — must have been having a child-care crisis. There was a toddler behind the counter, contentedly playing with a tablet, while her mother worked the grill and her father worked the counter.

    There was a sort of gap in the counter near where I sat down to eat my sandwich. The kid was right across from me. I thought she was playing peek-a-boo with me, because she would hold the tablet in front of her face, then lower it with a big mischievous grin. So, of course, I smiled back.

    Then she turned the tablet around and showed me that she had taken my picture. She knew what she was doing, and knew how to work the thing!

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