Cidu Bill on Dec 26th 2008


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, Christmas, You'll Have That, comic strips, comics, humor | 37 responses so far

37 Responses to “Returns”

  1. Mattie Dec 26th 2008 at 02:54 am 1

    LOL! PWN’D!!!

  2. Keera Dec 26th 2008 at 05:17 am 2

    I got neither comic nor Mattie’s comment. :-/

  3. Adny Dec 26th 2008 at 07:03 am 3

    All I can think of (for the comment & strip ;) is that “Your mom …” seems to be the generic response to anything when one wishes to retort but “has nothing” so to speak.

    Then again, I’ve never really understood the whole “your mom” thing anyway.

  4. Taigan Dec 26th 2008 at 07:57 am 4

    In this case, “your mom” is being used in the sense of “screw you.” Our shopper seems… reluctant to get wait in the returns line.

  5. furrykef Dec 26th 2008 at 08:25 am 5

    Adny and Taigan got it.

    By the way, that’s probably the most timid “Your mom” I’ve ever seen.

  6. chuckers Dec 26th 2008 at 08:46 am 6

    I don’t think that it is reluctancy to wait in the return line
    but more of being put off by the snotty attitude copted by
    the store clerk. He could have been a LOT more polite about
    where to queue up for the returns.

  7. Oz Dec 26th 2008 at 09:07 am 7

    That or the customer actually just saw the guy’s mom in the return line… presumably returning a gift from the employee. do they know each other? I don’t know anything about this comic.

  8. CaroZ Dec 26th 2008 at 09:21 am 8

    Is “your mom” some current slang or meme joke?
    Does it have anything to do with “yo mama?”

    Seriously, I’ve never heard of it before and I work on a college campus so I have fairly regular interactions with today’s young’uns.

  9. Lorraine Dec 26th 2008 at 09:49 am 9

  10. Keera Dec 26th 2008 at 09:54 am 10

    Thanks for explaining “your mom”, but I still don’t get it, not even if I imagine the folding guy to be in charge of returns without knowing it. It does seem like the guy’s mother really is there.

    Or… or… is it that he has to fold all the returns? Now, that makes sense.

  11. Elliott Dec 26th 2008 at 10:13 am 11

    OK, I got it too.

    Now, would someone explain “PWN’D!!!?”

  12. Norm Dec 26th 2008 at 12:05 pm 12

    I’m guessing “pwn’d” was a typo and should have been “own’d” as in “owned” but why type an apostrophe rather than an E escapes me.

  13. Dawn Dec 26th 2008 at 01:00 pm 13

    Pwned is internet gamer-speak for “you lose”. It’s based on a typo and is pronounced “owned”.

  14. NiChrome Dec 26th 2008 at 01:33 pm 14

    Hello everyone. There is this neat, obscure little search engine called “Google” - found at - if you go there and enter a term you’d like to know more about, it’s a pretty efficient way to get answers.


    p.s. I’m not satisfied with the “Your mom…” = “Screw you” explanation - especailly because of the ellipsis. Now if the character had said, “Your mom!” then maybe…

  15. Matthew Dec 26th 2008 at 02:22 pm 15

    So far, I still don’t understand the humor of this cartoon, and I remain unconvinced by any of the comments made. This cartoon seems an especial failure.

  16. Soup Dragon Dec 26th 2008 at 03:54 pm 16

    If this was just a comment on the long queues at the return desk, why does the shop clerk look so surprised in the last panel? And why is he wearing a helmet?

  17. LeMuff Dec 26th 2008 at 06:04 pm 17

    Re: NiChrome;
    Don’t really need to KNOW a term bad enough to go to google in the middle of reading these. Especially to find out it is an obscure ‘gamers’ term. Someone will usually show up with a response.

  18. Kevin Andresen Dec 26th 2008 at 06:53 pm 18

    I think these two are witnessing a blowup at the returns desk that is beyond anything they’ve ever experienced live. While committed to the annoyed remark, the lead character is feeling that his bold expression of indignation is not on the same plane as what looks like the Hulk unleashed before him.

  19. Andrew Dec 26th 2008 at 07:24 pm 19

    The “helmet” is actually a beanie and sideburns, presumably to mark him as a disrespectful young whippersnapper. I’m getting the felling that the thirs panel’s staring and the wide-eyed shock on the folder’s face indicates something more than a mild “Bite me” equivalent going on . Maybe there’s been a fracas at the returns desk as Kevin suggested and the folder’s mother is responsible?

  20. That Idiot Ivan Dec 26th 2008 at 10:40 pm 20

    POSSIBLY derived from the Russian idiom “F*** your mother!”
    Sometimes used directly as an insult, as above, sometimes an expression of amazement, respect, or incredulity, similar to a stoner’s awe-struck whisper of “F*********ck!”

  21. Rex Dandycorn Dec 26th 2008 at 11:25 pm 21

    One possibility is that he construed “return” as “retort.” In that sense, he had a return for the hatted man - a rather lame one, brought about by a strained sense of punnery and a decades-antiquated definition of the word “return,” but a return nonetheless. (And really, for syndicated cartoonists the decades-antiquated is the utterly avant-garde.)

  22. Keera Dec 27th 2008 at 06:18 am 22

    I’m with Matthew. I’m also suspecting that this is a joke that only certain groups of people will get, and we ain’t them.

  23. tpjim Dec 28th 2008 at 01:59 am 23

    Maybe Folder Guy’s mother, seeing what an obnoxious human being her son turned out to be, wishes to “return” him? That would explain Folder Guy’s wide-eyed horror. Except 1) why would she do this at the store where he works, of all places, 2) wouldn’t she have to have him with her in the return line, and 3) how would Customer Guy recognize her as Folder Guy’s mother? Actually, #3 is a problem with all interpretations that assume the guy’s mom is actually there. I don’t know this strip; do these two know each other?

    Maybe Folder Guy had just rudely sent his own mother over to the returns line, instead of helping her, without ever actually recognizing her…? And now she’s on her way back to wreak her vengeance?

    Sorry. I gave it my best shot.

  24. Chuck Dec 28th 2008 at 03:30 am 24

    “Pwn’d” is an obscure term? I don’t know anyone my age who doesn’t use it, and I only know a handful of gamers.

  25. Matthew Dec 28th 2008 at 12:51 pm 25

    Then, Chuck, for us geezers, please explain the term: origin & meaning. Thanks.

    Tpjim, I appreciate your exegesis, but you are having to do way too much work that the cartoonist should’ve done.

  26. This guy I know Dec 28th 2008 at 10:20 pm 26

    RE: the history of pwn’d

    The term started out with hackers in the 90s, indicating they were able to gain control over another computer or network, sometimes maliciously, sometimes for a bit of mischief. For all practical purposes, the hacker “owned” that hacked system. The term later evolved into an indication of dominance over someone, especially another player in on-line gaming.

    “Pwned” simply started as a typo, at some point someone pressed the “p” instead of the “o”, but eventually the misspelling became an accepted alternate spelling. Other variations include using a zero (0) in place of the “o” and/or a three (3) in place of the “e”, forming “0wn3d”. Replacing (ed) with (’d) just offers another alternative, and has precedence beyond its use in internet culture. Using “po” at the beginning, i.e. “powned”, is always incorrect.

    Despite the variations, the proper pronunciation is “owned”. The “p” variation can be pronounced to rhyme with “owned” but with the “p” sound at the beginning, but only if it is clear that you are doing so in mockery of those who think that particular pronunciation to be correct.

  27. Matthew Dec 29th 2008 at 01:23 am 27

    Thanks, Guy, for that explanation. I see the origin of the orthographical varieties, but I don’t see the reason for them, excepting to signal membership in a society that understands the typo.

  28. This guy I know Dec 29th 2008 at 02:39 am 28

    Actually, Matthew, you pretty much nailed the reason for the varieties in the presentation of the term. The original gets obscured enough to be a bit of a stumbling block in understanding by “them”, while still being recognizable by “us”. It, as well as other terms, serves as a sort of shibboleth to internet culture.

  29. This guy I know Dec 29th 2008 at 03:38 am 29

    …Now let’s talk about “Your mom…”

    “Mother insults” have a rich historical tradition, and can even be found in the works of Shakespeare. They are, of course, based on the idea that any insult you could aim at your opponent would cause more offense is aimed at your opponent’s mother.

    The 90s saw a surge in popularity of such insults, sometimes intended to offend, but the popularity reached such a peak that they would often be tossed about in jest among friends. (Your mother is so dumb, she sat on the TV and watched the sofa!)

    Of course, sometimes “your mom” can be used as an insult on its own, given the proper setup. (”So, what did you do last night?” “Your mom!”)

    For anyone who was of the right age to be part of the 90s fad usage, “your mom” has become a shorthand way of saying “I want to come up with some witty insult in response to what you just said, but I can’t think of anything at the moment”, and interpreted as a generic insult. Within the context of the above comic, the comment can be roughly translated as a soft “f*** you…”.

    The insult should be regarded as a “shoot the messenger” moment, rather than a direct response to the rudeness of the employee. The customer was too shocked by the crowd gathered around the returns desk to come up with anything really biting, and instead resorted to a more easily accessed juvenile response. While the employee’s response seems disproportionate to the meager insult offered, it would have been more inappropriate for the artist to have drawn him with no reaction at all.

  30. Matthew Dec 29th 2008 at 12:47 pm 30

    Thanks, Guy, for your comments on “your mom…”, but this strip is so lamely done that the “your mom”, especially following the silent third panel, with both characters staring into the distance (toward “Returns”), has too many meanings, none very strong.

    That the sarcastic clerk would be shocked in simply hearing “your mom…” makes little sense. As a child of his age, he’d be ready for that & more, according to your own chronology of the term, which, by the way, seems a bit superficial & White. In African-American culture, playing the dozens has been around for decades, and “yo’ mama” was always part of that. By the way, it seems intrinsic to western cultures (European & American) to insult the mother. Such insults are less prevalent in Asia (but I cannot find my research on this: sorry).

    All our remarks on this strip re-enforce how poorly the strip was done. It is fodder for our commentary, but not because it is so rich in interpretive possibilities. At base, we are trying to fix it.

  31. This guy I know Dec 29th 2008 at 04:47 pm 31

    Yes, admittedly the limited research I did to support my interpretation was primarily to support my own experiences, and had I dug a bit deeper I could have included more about the African-American history of the usage. Before Junior High School, there were only two black students in my class, and not many more in High School or even College. Thus my interpretation was that of a White kid who had grown up in White suburbia.

    But as the characters in the strip appear to be white twenty-somethings I assumed the artist was a white twenty-something, and as I am a white twenty-something I assumed the artist’s experiences were very much like my own.

    While ultimately my explanation has the most meaning to me, the initial confusion necessitated a deeper analysis. While this may have provided me with some glimmer of the artist’s intention, the humor, unfortunately, did not survive such a vivisection.

    I suppose if a joke requires more than one or two sentences to explain, then there must be a failure in either the joke or the explanation.

  32. AMC Dec 29th 2008 at 11:41 pm 32

  33. AMC Dec 29th 2008 at 11:43 pm 33

    A few “your mom’s” from XKCD:

  34. Matthew Dec 30th 2008 at 01:42 pm 34

    Thanks, AMC. Note how these make the joke much better than the “Returns” strip. Indeed, they make fun of the whole “your mom” thing.

  35. eisenhomer Jan 2nd 2009 at 02:02 pm 35

    Getting back to the comic for a moment…. I believe that the folder’s mother is in the return line to return the Christmas gift that her son gave her………..

  36. Dan Jan 4th 2009 at 12:24 pm 36

    The folder’s mother is not there. The presence of a mother is not required for a “your mom” joke. Ever.

    If some of you geezers haven’t heard of a “Your mom” joke before, picture it as a parallel to the currently popular “that’s what she said” joke. It’s a catchall comeback, that’s all. Its ineffectiveness here is played for absurdity.

  37. Hunt Jan 5th 2009 at 01:47 pm 37

    Maybe the ellipsis is there because he’s going to say, “Your mom goes to college.”

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