There is, of course, another reason that makes Becky an unsuitable friend to April that is not the envy of the untalented (like, say, John) or the malice of the ignorant (like, say, Elly) or even the jealousy of the insecure (like April herself) and it's probably the same one that disqualified Rhetta. Rhetta, you see, is on record as wanting Mike to tell Farley's story. This cannot take place because it would remind the masses of something they don't want to remember: Farley was nothing remotely like a beloved wonder dog. Farley was treated like an obstruction when he wasn't being yelled at, kicked around or ignored.
This, as it turned out, is due to Lynn's resenting the presence of the real dog because she'd managed to convince herself that he was her husband's way of making her a slave to a slobbering brute. Given her nature, the longer Farley 'got away' with needing to be taken care of and being a reminder of the husband who she hated for leaving for no sense that she wanted to make sense of, the angrier Lynn felt. This means that fans who expected to see a Daisy or a Snoopy or even an Odie were left with a sort of furry abuse victim.
Since she could not challenge her sister-in-law directly, Beth simply stated that it would look bad to simply take the pooch down to the vet and have him put down because of bone cancer after all the crap he took and fed into Lynn's desire to be praised for her craft. Thus do we have a situation in which Farley looks good, people blame April for not listening to her parents and Elly gets to skate on having her head up her ass again. Mike's fitfully honest story about how he never did much for the dog when he was alive would lead to people figuring out who the error in the system actually was: a woman who cannot hold an object and walk at the same time because her brain is just a couple of neurons tied together in a slip knot.
The interesting thing about the current week is that for the first time, we're starting to be reminded that Farley is not what you'd call a young dog. For the next four years, we're going to have Liz come along and lament the fact that the family punching bag finds it hard to move and see and hear and so on and so forth. A normal person would be forgiven for assuming that Lynn would realize that yeah, there is a lot of drama involved in having to have a suffering animal put down and show us something that speaks to most people's experience. In that setting, he'd be a lot like the woman who played on Elly's mother instincts so long ago in that just like Mrs Baird, Elly would wonder why they didn't treat Farley better when he was alive. We would thus have no legion of people expecting to see a beloved wonder dog and getting a spat-upon irritant everyone ignored.
The problem (as we all know) is that Lynn's sister-in-law Beth couldn't live with that. To her way of things, Farley had suffered too much at the hands of his idiot family to simply be euthanized because he had bone cancer so they could whine about how they should have treated him better than they did. To her, he had to go out heroically to make his life mean something. The end result was not quite worth it because no one learned crap-all and millions of idiots blame everything on April.
As you know, we are about to embark about yet another reminder that the Patterson family have never had any business having pets. While the eventual payoff is a reminder that Liz doesn't want to deal with him when it's not fun, the reason we're reminded that she's bad at dealing with Farley is because of Elly's insistence on believing something not the case. In this instance, she won't hear anything that contradicts her lunatic assumption that Farley needs to be put on a diet to starve him into wanting to eat a food he doesn't want to eat.
The reason that she believes this stupid, stupid idea is, of course, quite simple when you remember who she is: someone at pains to avoid admitting to being stupid, negligent, oblivious and inattentive. Her children know that Farley will not eat anything people don't eat because we remember that while she was off somewhere with her eyes closed and her snout in the air lecturing people about how if he won't eat what she's willing to give him, he can't possibly be hungry, her and the others' carelessness caused him to expect to be fed whatever it is that they happen to be eating at any given time. When you remember all the times he got loose to roam around the neighbourhood like a big, lumbering goof because it was too much like work to think about what he was doing, you can look at Liz stand there yelling "STOOPID DOG!!!" because she brainlessly took him off his lead because it was easier than doing things right and assume that there's a semi with his name on it. The only reason he didn't get hit by a car because they didn't think is because he had a fatal heart attack because they didn't think.
As we know, we're hip deep in yet another very stupid arc in which Elly gets all flustered because she and her idiot family are simply too dumb to remember to keep Farley from wandering around loose. No matter how many times they appear to learn that they have to keep him from roaming around, it never actually manages to stick.
This time around, the plot is set in creaking motion by (as one could expect) Mike being a brainless failure and letting Farley play in the ravine behind the house so his coat can get burrs and twigs and other debris caught in it. Since Elly applies the same sort of muscular aggression to brushing him out to her children, the dog struggles to get out of her clutches and she blows sixty bucks on a groomer only to set herself up to fail yet again. What happens is that when she gets home from the pet groomers', she gives Connie a lift and leaves her children to supervise the dog. Since they're nitwits, they leave the door wide the Hell open yet again and, you guessed it, Elly has to be lectured to about accepting the fact that dogs are 'fated' to be dirty but we love them anyway.
The reason that I mention this is that in a few years' time, the combination of the Pattersons being too stupid to keep track of their dog and their kids, Elly setting herself up to fail by yacking at Connie and a child being a shock horror PSA about the heartache of fetal alcohol syndrome combine and end up killing Farley in that damned ravine. Why it is that Elly doesn't remember that the ravine is a magnet for stupid children and dogs is a mystery. Why April comes across as having a baked potato for a brain is a mystery. What's not a mystery is that when those ingredients combine, the result is a freaking disaster.
As you know, someone decided long ago to refer to inconsequential arcs treated far too seriously as "zits and vacuuming strips" owing to a lot of noise being made about not all that much when it would make more sense to focus on stories people would want to see. The reason that said arcs are so annoying is not just that we waste time on a non-issue when a more important story goes untold but also that Lynn's excuse that she only has thirty second to tell a story is made an even more blatant lie that it would otherwise be. If she has time to show April freak out because she has a pimple or Elly go nuts doing the housework, she jolly well had the time to do something not toher tastes and tell us what Georgia's birth name might be or how exactly she did meet Phil and so on and so forth.
The reason that I mention this now is that it seems obvious that before April came along, Lynn had to do something else to waste time that wasn't having Liz stand around looking stupid when confronted with common-place situations and that something was harp on how Farley is a big, stupid, filthy moron who they 'love' anyway. This comes up in the first part of next month when he goes to the pet groomer and gets messy again before John sees him. Eventually though, Lynn no longer had a pet to draw inspiration from so she drew on her past of losing her shit because the benzoyl peroxide train got derailed again.
The problem with the Trash Bag John arc is that it reminds me of where we'll be in a year and a half: watching Elly yell at Farley because they unintentionally trained him to eat garbage. This is because their irritating refusal to keep track of where the poor dim animal is leads to the undesirable behavior of his rooting through the garbage looking for something yummy. This allows us to use the situation as sort of a template to explain why it is that the Pattersons are not good at problem solving. As always, the situation can be broken down into discreet steps.
First off, we have the undesirable behaviour I just mentioned. It's an infernal nuisance to have to pick up garbage that some animal has just spread all over the place so I can understand their frustration. What I also understand is that they set themselves up to fail by refusing to be especially vigilant owing to an unhappy tendency to assume that if they aren't thinking about him, he isn't doing anything.
Next, we have Elly's solution to the problem which, as almost always, is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue and a refusal to admit error. We start things off with her baffling assumption that Farley knows that she wants the garbage kept in bags and is just doing that to be mean to her, follow with her inability to understand that standing around holding a can of Alpo while screaming at him makes him think that dog food is screaming at him in a can and end with her belief that accepting that Farley can never understand what she's saying is a defeat.
We follow that with someone proposing a solution that can actually work and its graceless acceptance by people who see doing the sensible thing as giving up. This leads to Elly growling about kids wanting what other people have and eventually, her standing around bellowing NO!! while holding an ice scraper like a sceptre of futile rage when she cannot have her cake and eat it too.
Finally, we deal with the fact that there's another problem to contend with: idiot parents who, through their tendency to scream and holler, have raised passive children who don't understand that garbage doesn't walk itself to the bin. No sooner do they get the bin made than the kids turn it into a fort and we're back where we started. Nothing ever goes anywhere because the problem is not the dog, the problem is the idiot owners.
As you know, it's been my working theory that Marian's hatred of dogs led to great suffering for all. Every so often, I show up with another pious lecture about how she attacked a symbol of her shitty childhood and cursed the world with a daughter who grew up not being able to understand dogs. This led inevitably to her passing that ignorance down to stupid children who treated Farley like crap and that led to a stupid, preventable death that taught a child a bad lesson about mortality. Recent events have caused me to reconsider this position because the reason blaming Marian is bullshit is that Marian could have been a dog person and Elly still would have assumed that a dog is a short person in a suit because she's too dumb to live.
After all, we're dealing with a moron who wrote an angry poem TO a colicky six month old child who barely realized that he himself was a person begging him to pleeeeeease stop being sick and terrified and angry so she could pleeeeeease sleep because she will die thinking new borns have the agenda 'destroy Mommy'; getting her to admit that she could never talk Farley into doing what she wanted is as likely as getting her to admit that cats aren't evil monsters because they don't listen to her screaming at them any more than her children do. Elly does not want to admit that she's doing something futile and stupid based on total ignorance of the world because that would make her a moron.
Hell, she can't even admit that she should have done a better job of securing her property so he and the kids couldn't get out into open traffic to kill themselves. She talks about April toppling into the river and Farley being fated to die heroically there because the alternative is admitting personal responsibility when it comes time to assign blame. Unlike a Patterson, I would not have taken the bet that a heroic dog would do my parenting for me. After all, Farley could just as easily have dragged April under as buoyed her because a dog isn't a person.
As I've said before, most of the trouble Farley gets into stems from the fact that imbecile Elly sees him as a person in a dog suit and acts accordingly. She never seems to understand that she can never, ever talk him into doing what she wants and she seems to see his behaving like a dog as his deliberately defying her. This blind spot she has would be bad enough were she alone in thinking that admitting that he can't be lectured into compliance means that she's wasting her time pursuing a folly and also being monstrously unfair to an unfortunate animal that simply cannot know what it is he's doing to make her angry.
The problem is that she is not the only person in the house who seems to see Farley and the other pets as people in animal suits. As by way of example, we have Michael stupidly insisting on feeding him table scraps because he cares more about the pleading face of the opportunistic scavenger he's teaching Farley to be than the fact that he's literally killing Farley with misplaced kindness. We have Liz racing around trying to murder Shimsaa because she thinks that the cat is plotting to ruin her because the poor stupid thing wants attention and cannot understand what keyboards are and why not to jump on them. We have people standing around watching rabbits electrocute themselves because they're too dumb to understand that rabbits don't know what electrical current is. This, I should think, is why Phil doesn't see the use of animals in the house on purpose. Sadly, he too blames the dog for the problem instead of placing the blame where it belongs. More on that tomorrow.
As we now know, the 2016 wall calendar is going to be devoted to Lynn's hatred of the noisy toys that she would have found distracting as all Hell as a parent. From her wanting to straight-up murder the lovely person who gave her the plastic middle finger called a corn-popper to her baying at the moon about the havoc Evil Mira wreaked with her evil bouncy ball of beeping, we're going to get a lot of passive-aggressive sniping at children. Given that the current year's effort is devoted to her active hatred of being subjected to the same bullshit she made her parents suffer when she was a teenager, it seems only natural to assume that 2017 would be a means of reminding who ever still cares about the Pattersons that there's something she hates and by Damn, they are going to hear about it.
An upcoming Sunday strip in which Farley is bad and wrong and selfish because for some reason, he behaves as if he doesn't understand the English language provides me with an idea of what that subject matter will be: a year of Elly getting slowly unglued because she's an inept pet owner who won't admit that the creature she wasted years of her life screaming at or bargaining with had no idea what she was saying and never could. What shines through all of her interaction with the poor animal is that he had to be tormented not only by stupid children who thought he was a toy but also by a stupid woman who never understood that no matter how sincere she was, she was always going to be pounding sand in a rathole trying to talk her way into getting Farley to do what he wanted. Even in the kid's book that had him look for the bone, it was made obvious that while John, Lizzie and Mike understood how he behaved, Elly had no idea and didn't care to learn. Since we're supposed to be on the side of the ignorant idiot doing something futile, the poor pooch is in for another posthumous scraping.