(This is half of a Sunday Cornered, using only one of the two separate joke panels.)

Underlying this is a pretty standard modern-office joke — make yourself indispensable and they will go to lengths to bother you on your off-time.

But how are they doing it? Is this just an arty juxtaposition of two well-separated scenes? Or are they linking by video call, so that he can demonstrate the technique, for someone back at the ranch to execute? Or have they borrowed a transporter from a friendly Star Trek franchise; or using a drone to deliver and retrieve the printer and materials to his lake? What is that vertical line? Or are vacations now required to be taken in-office, courtesy of a crack art and special effects department? Or, indeed, by holodeck?


  1. It looks like I accidentally posted it, while writing. Andr’ea put in a comment, which it looks like the system is preserving, even though I un-published the post and scheduled it for next week. Now I’m not sure where you are finding a leftover link, that is generating a 404 (which makes sense) but still allows you (and me in reply) to comment on that thread (which doesn’t.)

  2. I don’t think he “painted” it: he used a large scale plotter to print the background and floor design so that his stay-cation (at work) will still seem relaxing. In the process, he probably drained every cartridge in the whole office.

  3. The scene is too realistic (I can’t believe I’m saying that about Cornered) to be makeshift on the employee’s part. Look at the way the oar hits the water, for instance, or how the water’s surface penetrates what should be a wall.

    But there is what could be a cubicle corner rising up from the stern of the boat. So maybe it’s just poorly drawn.

  4. This one could be many different commentaries! First, as others noted, he could just be in his cube at work but it has been decorated to make it look like he is elsewhere. It could be he is in the office imagining himself somewhere else. It could be he is somewhere else but his serene, relaxing vacation is being interrupted by work, so this is kind of a morphing between the two worlds.

    The last thought I had is that it is a commentary on importance of events based on perspective. He is on vacation, trying to destress and relax and the boss thinks being able to replace ink cartridges is critical enough to interrupt that.

  5. BillR, yes but contrast Powers’ position – that it is already too realistic.

  6. I think that the beautiful, and so-well-done-I-can-feel-water, imagery is a wonderful addition to the premium humor that has the mind actively jumping to the different things it thinks we might be seeing while appreciating the humorous circumstance of the in-office vacation. I think it’s the borders of where he is that grow and shrink in my head.
    The strip is called “Cornered” because it’s about office workers (who have offices). I think this is a wonderful step out of the office reality. (I just had a hit-the-golden-buzzer moment with the desire to go buy a poster of it right now.)

  7. Even when he is on holiday, doing something – fishing – that is known to have a certain meditative quality, letting you be entirely absorbed in the doings of the moment, he finds he is in reality surrounded by all the usual time and space structures of the office. He can never really get away, his supposed time off a tiny window of light in an otherwise unremittingly bleak workscape… but that’s all it is, a window, a glimpse, and in fact he is trapped inside the corporation even if he is a thousand miles from his cubicle.

  8. Kevin A, there was a period when Cornered often had characters out on the sidewalk in a street scene, rather than the usual office settings. But then we noticed the street scenes usually happened on a corner ::-)

  9. Back in the 90s, I was working and getting my MS CS. I would sometimes take vacation days to work on projects. I didn’t have a computer at home and it was much closer to come into the lab at work than all the way to the school. But I had to train people to understand that I wasn’t there. They might think they see me, but they don’t.

  10. To me it is showing 2 different places at the same time – the office calling him and him receiving the call.

    Despite my not having worked for anyone else since my dad died in the last century – and I would much more likely be calling him to find out how to do something than he would me – I am guessing they intend for him to talk them through how to change the cartridge.

    These days the cartridges tend to last so long that we need the instruction book book sometimes to figure it out. I spent time during the pandemic scanning almost all of the instruction books onto a USB stick and tossing the books – except for ridiculously long instruction books which were just left as they were. When we need instructions it has always been a problem as they are in a bottom file drawer in hanging folders sorted by what they are – but when need a book I have to bend over to find it and my eyeglasses swing forward away from my eyes – scanned they are much easier to find and read (can always make the screen picture larger) for both of us and I have a lot of empty file drawer to use for something else.

    I do remember getting a discussion with my boss (the accountant whose practice we took over and added to dad’s when boss retired) about something work he had a question about while at my wedding reception.

  11. I see it very differently. He is in his cubicle at the office. He’s vital to the business, so he he is not allowed to travel for a real vacation – but he has redecorated his cube to simulate his favorite vacation spot. The corner and the edge of the cubicle give it away, as does the guy looking over the wall.

    Of course he won’t catch any fish, but that’s usually no problem for a fisherman.

    No doubt his furniture will be moved back in after his “vacation” is over.

  12. The problem with that interpretation is that his accoutrements blend seamlessly into what would be flat wall or floor if it were a cubicle.

    In particular, note that along the right side of the comic there is a panel break separating the top panel (with the co-workers from the bottom panel (which seems to be the vacation spot). Parts of the bottom panel have extended into the top in the form of cubicle walls. So I’m now leaning toward the surrealist explanation. I think it’s metaphorical.

  13. Meryl A and Powers have it. The fishing line and bobber extend into the cubicle wall, making it pretty obvious that it’s not a physical wall.

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