To conclude my look at why I am not saddened by having to say farewell to the people of Westview, I'd like to talk about an incidental character who was given his own strip: busdriver Ed Crankshaft. Back in the parent strip, he was a crusty old goat who prided himself on being a smug incompetent who made life miserable for those around him. When he got his own strip, he didn't change much. Most of the humor related to his being a surly old man who felt no great need to concern himself with the rights, property, needs or happiness of those in his immediate vicinity and had no real capacity to learn from his mistakes. What's more, any attempt to save people from having to deal with the incompetent old fool backfires. The woman who tried to get the old boy fired because of her realistic concern that he'd kill himself and a busload of children was fired in the most humiliating manner possible and the only reaction to his insistence that gasoline is a barbecue starter instead of a geezer-killer is an impotent scowl on a younger person's face. The reason for his jerkassery is much the same one Les and Funky give for being a pair of unpleasant, arrogant sacks of crap who also happen to be knuckle-dragging imbeciles: a life of mostly self-induced misery and baffling misfortune.
As I've said before, I foresee the two of them also becoming burnt-out shells who push people around and whine about the cruelty of the world; too bad that Crankshaft isn't the only reason I don't much care for whatever Batiuk is limping home to the barn with. What really irritates me is that it's 2012 in both strips but at the same time, the people in the parent strip are fifteen to twenty years older than the people in Crankshaft. This results in Crankshaft himself being a man in his mid eighties being a hindrance to the daughter he freeloads off of while also being a man in his early hundreds trapped in a wheelchair while hooked to an oxygen tank. This being in two places at once extends to his immediate family, Mooch Myers and even Les's fiancée Cayla. Since Batiuk doesn't seem to see this failure to maintain any sort of consistent chronology as a problem, it's time for us all to drape the sheet over the ravaged carcass of what used to be his talent and slink away in horror and disgust.