1. @ Targuman may indeed have it @1, but to confirm this we would need to know whether these two women actually live next to each other, or at least in the same street. That’s more research work than I am willing to invest for such a mediocre joke.

  2. @Kilby, do they need to live next to each other? The emended (as heard) line would be “donating the neighbor” so perhaps the woman in the fuchsia dress is anxious that she (or someone else) will have to move in?

  3. Thanks, Targuman, for finding an at least half plausible 😉 rhyme for “labor”. But indeed it’s hard to make actual sense of what it would mean to donate a neighbor. Or how Lillian can tell what Sue took it to be. So maybe the moral is just don’t expect this strip to make sense often.

  4. @ Targuman – I suppose you’re right: these two don’t need to be the actual neighbors for the interpretation to work. Perhaps Ms. Fuchsia was expecting the lady with the black gloves to bring someone else along to help? It still seems like an awfully complicated setup for a mediocre mondegreen.

  5. If she’d been holding a tree trunk (caber) or a sword (saber/sabre) or a small drum (tabo[u]r) it might have made sense. As it is, it’s either incomprehensible or, as others have noted, the weak mondegreen of “neighbo[u]r”.

  6. I don’t think that the word necessarily must rhyme with “labor,” just that it must sound something like it. The problem is that I still can’t figure out what it would be. “Donate the ladder?” “Donate the labeler?” “Donate the labrador?” None of those seem likely.

  7. Downpuppy, that almost feels like it should help…but I’m still stumped. Could there be something about the “Habitat for Humanity House” sign?

    This is starting to bug me…

  8. Yes, it feels like Downpuppy’s research should help. The storyline does go back one day, and ahead four — I’ll try to embed the previous one. As Phil says, it doesn’t quite solve our puzzlement. But it does make clear they (or some of them) are there under the aegis of the Garden Club, and Sue is dressed as she was for the club meeting.

    So maybe what Lillian(?) is saying to Sue is not correcting a mistake over mishearing the particular word for another (despite it feeling like that because of the boldface and Crankshaft’s remark about hearing aid batteries) — but just emphasizing they are there to work, not just to socialize, as Sue is maybe more dressed for.

    (Though unfortunately this introduces another storyline’s puzzling conclusion, the “tat from Manny” .)

  9. It’s worth recalling that this strip was written by Batuik, who habitually invents random slang terms that nobody else on the planet has ever actually used or even heard of.

    P.S. @ Downpuppy – After I saw your link I decided to “cheat” and go see whether any of the GoComics readers had provided a solution for the “laborious” riddle, but alas, there were a grand total of zero comments on that date. However, that was more than a decade ago, and I remembered discovering that Crankshaft had switched syndicates at the end of last year, so the obvious solution was to see whether the Comics Kingdom website still had the “labor” strip. It does, but the total number of comments there is exactly the same: zero.

    P.P.S. The “tat” gag is a much better (and more believeable) pun, except that a woman of her generation is highly unlikely to understand (much less use) such a slang expression for “tattoo”.

  10. Kudos to Mitch & Patrick for what has to be the correct solution! It would seem that the mondegreen in the previous day’s strip was simply a red herring that led to the misinterpretation of this strip.

  11. Another confounding factor may be that for a period Comics Kingdom was farming out their commenting to an external service, which often failed to load, and required extra user effort (like, yet another registration). They pretty soon dropped it, but that may have taken away some comment threads not archived at CK itself.

  12. Donate the plants …
    “… and the arbor”?
    “… and celebrate”?
    “… and sell a beer”?
    “… and delay Boris”?
    “… antelope”?

    Yeah, I got nothing.

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