26 Comments

  1. Sisyphus didn’t text the joke; it’s on the right side of the chat window, so Zeus sent it to him. The puzzling reply is on the left, so only that came from Sisyphus.

  2. @ Dana K – I dithered over that postscript for quite a while, not wanting to use a (funnier, but definitely NSFW) “B“, but finally decided that the reference had to at least partially match the object that Sisyphus is pushing. Therefore, the “R” is intended to stand for “Rock(s)“, with the parenthetical plural as a hedge between the actual object and the subjective focus of his laughter.

  3. So I saw the header, and saw the setting was Olympus, so I said, ah, the editors must be being clever and came up with a variation of Rolling On The Floor Laughing, let’s see, Rolling Under The Heavens Laughing.

    Needless to say after that the actual comic was sorely disappointing….

  4. I don’t see anybody commenting on how come the A&J is called a bonus RUTH. Is it too hard, or too easy?

  5. Yes, there is a pun on two senses of “go”.

    But to answer Mitch’s challenge, I might say it’s too easy, since I recognized it immediately. But maybe it’s too hard, if nobody else is seeing it.

    Spoiler alert. (Skip the rest if you don’t want the answer.)

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    The line Arlo is recalling is from the Book of Ruth. Naomi is tired of “laboring in the alien corn” and plans to return to her homeland. Her (widowed) daughter-in-law Ruth now declares she will accompany Naomi. At Ruth 1:16 she says “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”

    This was before the invention of mother-in-law jokes.

  6. Sorry, that was way too hard for me. I never cared for Biblical trivia, even back when I did go to church. The bit in “Tom Sawyer” in which kids were supposed to memorize 2000 verses to earn a Bible always seemed to me to be insane, meaningless torture.

  7. If I remember my Tom Sawyer correctly, some kid memorized 3,000 verses, but the effort destroyed his mind and turned him into an idiot. Anyway, there was a better way to get your Bible, and Tom did it that way, by commodity trading.

  8. @ MiB – In the book, Tom’s cousin Mary was given credit for two Bibles (4k verses), which took her a couple of years of patient work to achieve. The “German boy” who suffered the brain damage managed “four or five Bibles” (8k-10k verses). After Tom went up with his rag-tag collection of tickets to get his Bible, he was subjected to some questioning about his scriptural knowledge, eventually identifying the first two disciples as “David and Goliath“, after which Twain “closes the curtain of charity” on the scene. The Bible is never mentioned again, and it seems unlikely that Tom was allowed to keep it.

  9. That quotation is surely not as obscure as some are making out. Anyone seeing Arlo say “whither” and “goest” and “thou”, and say that he is quoting but not quite remembering what, will know its not fully modern English ; and would reasonably jump to guess either Shakespeare or KJV.

    And then the post clues us with RUTH, and that is enough to guess the Book of Ruth, no?

  10. And then if you consider that Arlo regards it as a Familiar Quotation, it becomes much less like the religion-obsessed 1000 verse memorizers you guys are joking about, and more like a good reader who has lodged a memory of a beautiful line about personal devotion and affection, couched in old fashioned memorable resonant language.

  11. @Powers- “No” to what?

    Sure, the allcaps RUTH was a tricky clue, given the earlier RUTHL joke.

    But don’t you agree that “Whither thou goest, there will I go” is a beautiful line? Which Arlo could remember without it making him a Bible thumper?.,… And it’s funny that it would come to mind when he is awakened and realizes that he also needs to “go”.

  12. Arlo and Janis had a character named Ruth back in ye olden times (which, nowadays, means “before COVID”)

  13. Dana, I don’t think anyone is making Arlo out to be a Bible thumper — or you, or Deety, or me. They’re just disputing whether there was enough of a clue to the source of the quotation. (And there may be some dissent, but certainly I agree that it’s a beautiful line.)

  14. Recognizing that Arlo is quoting a Biblical verse doesn’t necessarily lead to recognizing that he’s quoting from Ruth. That’s where I woulda coulda shoulda ended up, post-caffeine, but I wasn’t looking for it and didn’t see it at first, pre-caffeine. I am, at best, poor at identifying which book a Scriptural quotation comes from. I would have needed a much better prize than a Bible to memorize 2000 verses, and wasn’t offered any such thing. Most of what I have is by inference due to reference in other works… I am NOT a religious scholar of any sort.

  15. In short, no, I didn’t make the connection that Arlo is recalling the book of Ruth, because I was thrown off by my knowledge of Arlo and Janis history, which blotted out my knowledge of Biblical reference. Quitting caffeine probably is good for my overall longterm health (related more to my chosen form of caffeine ingestion, in fizzy sugar water, than to the caffeine itself) but it definitely reduces my mental agility in the shorter term.

  16. I don’t consider myself uneducated, and spent most of my elementary school time in Ontario, where we had Bible study in public schools (yes, quite amazing). As a result, I know the Bible much better than my Catholic-raised wife, who also played organ at two masses a week for years.

    That Book of Ruth reference was a total whoosh for me. I just thought it was being cutesy. So no, I don’t think the average reader–certainly not the average millennial, whose reaction to the name “Ruth” is likely more “Is that on Twitter or Insta?”–is going to get the reference.

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