There is no escaping the fact that Jeremy is, to quote the last Douglas Adams, mostly harmless. He might be a slob, sleep later than he perhaps should and eat a lot but he’s no monster; anyone who could claim to be a reasonable, intelligent, fair-minded adult whose head isn’t stuffed so far up his or her ass that he or she risks becoming a pretzel would be willing to endure these inconveniences as the price they pay for dealing with an otherwise normal, boring straight-A student. He doesn’t do drugs, he’s got a healthy appreciation for the army of look-alike girls that he attends school with, has a positive attitude and healthy social life. This brings me to my point: his parents are two of the most fearful, thin-skinned, foul-tempered, overly-critical goosesteppers to mar the comics page. Let us begin with the greater of two evils: Connie. The woman has stated out loud on several occasions that she will not lower herself to understand her son’s point of view or the world in which he lives. The reason is as simple as it is annoying and stupid: she’s a psychologist specializing in teenage behavior busily writing a guidebook for perplexed parents. One might take this as a sign that she’d be interested in talking to Jeremy and his contemporaries to find out what pressures they face and what worries them most about the future; one would simply be wrong. She has no interest in doing anything of the sort; that’s because the teenaged children she writes about are abstractions living in a world that vanished pretty much the same time that Hinckley shot Reagan; talking to Jeremy, finding out what he values and learning about the world he lives in would make all her tidy research such as Mister Whipple told us not to squeeze. It’s as easy to yell and be pointlessly upset as it is to say “We indulged our son and never set limits on his behavior until now; since he can’t flip a switch on in his brain that makes him act how we want, he has to die.” Since the woman will not make dangerous mental connections between the mountain of homework she insists on inflicting on him with his need to sleep nor connect his rapid metabolism with his prodigious appetite or cease her habit of intruding when it isn’t needed while being ignorant of things that are important, it’s for damned sure that she will not connect her crappy parenting with his surly attitude. One wishes in vain for a grandparent to arrive and remind the doughhead that she was a surly teem who thought her parents boneheads herself; granted, one would probably get the hippy belief that unlike all other generations, she was right but at least it would be worth the laughs. As for Walt, he’s a balding non-entity who serves as little more than a rubber stamp for his wife’s ineptitude, hysteria and intrusive need to horn in on the kid’s privacy. It’s as if he’s John Patterson only less effectual.