I don’t remember any mention of any extended family in this strip. It’s like many a comic where the people live in almost a vacuum. I don’t think I’ve heard the term “lazy man’s load” before, but I certainly understand it. I did the same thing yesterday when I went shopping.
He brings in all the groceries, expecting praise for his hard work, and gets criticized instead. “You’re doing it wrong- why aren’t you doing it properly? You should be taking several trips instead of being lazy.”
Elyrest, “lazy man’s load” has been around a long time. There is even a Chinese equivalent.
Ana Mikala, in http://ana-mikala.livejournal.com/175725.html
claims “Lithermon’s-load (noun) - (1) A greater load than can well be carried at one time, but is nevertheless undertaken to save the trouble of another journey–a lazy man’s load. Old English lither, bad, wicked, has a secondary meaning of “lazy” in some of our early writers. John Ray gives “lither, idle, lazy, slothful,” in North Country Words ; [John] Jamieson [Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808] has “lidder, sluggishness, and lythyrnes, sloth.” –Georgina Jackson’s Shropshire Word-Book, 1879 (2) Hence, lidderie, feeble, lazy; litherly, idly, lazily; litherums, idleness. –Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905″
Janis’s comment struck me as innocuous and mildly amused. Arlo’s response seemed short-tempered and mean. Have I missed a bunch of strips where Janis has been picking on him for no good reason? Otherwise, this is a cidu for me.
I’m sure a main part of it is invoking the father-in-law. But why did Arlo think he had gotten brownie points and had lost them only at the end, for his retort? If Janis was already treating that as the wrong way to carry the supplies in, Arlo presumably DIDN’T bank any brownie points.
Maybe Janis’s remark was not meant actually as criticism but was only a stray linguistic observation? Then Arlo would still have brownie points for fetching the load in (albeit not the ideal manner), but lost them for irritable reaction.
BTW, is it supposed to be capitalized, Brownie points? In the comments we’ve been downcasing it, but in the comic itself we can’t really tell.
I think he was expecting brownie points simply for having helped bring in the groceries. Janis’ comment seems to be made rather lightheartedly (note the smile while she says it), so brownie points can still be expected, until Arlo makes his retort.
I don’t know whether Arlo should be accused of being lazy or cheap for not purchasing a cart or backpack to assist in carrying the groceries. I carry a whole week’s worth of groceries into my apartment with just one trip but I use a backpack and then hand carry whatever doesn’t fit in the backpack.
I’m with Dan W. and NitricAcid. Arlo is lending a hand, earning “brownie points” and Janis made a wisecrack about how he did it. The fact that she used her father as the reference doubled down on the insult to Arlo. Arlo has a short fuse (for whatever reason) and strikes back, and realizes that he was a fool for doing so because now Janis is mad at him.
I LOL’d because this is my wife and I (and probably a lot of other couples too). The only thing I didn’t know was the phrase “lazy man’s load”, so I had to read up on it. But I completely identify with this portrayal of a couple.
@Mitch4, “BTW, is it supposed to be capitalized, Brownie points? In the comments we’ve been downcasing it, but in the comic itself we can’t really tell.”
I would say “brownie points” is correct.
The etymology of the phrase is unclear. There are a number of proposed theories. One is that it is a reference to the badges earned by young Girl Scouts. In that case, “Brownie points” might be justified, given that “Brownie” (in this context) is a proper noun. However, I think the theory that it comes from military slang (as a derivation of the “brown-nose” concept) is more likely, although it is certainly quite possibly both of these theories played a role in the popularization of the term.
fj, imagine that there are unseen forces surrounding you, in particular, elves which can only been seen occasionally and through the corner of your eye. They are always watching you, they know when you do something good, and they know when you do something bad, and when you do do something bad, they punish you in small ways like moving your car keys from where you left them when you’re not looking. On the other hand, when you do something good, they hold off on such punishments. If you do enough good things, it may keep them from punishing you for something bad. Now… these secretive, hidden, unseen creatures are called “brownies”.
The moral of the story is that you should do something good even when you think no one is looking, because some thing will be watching, anyway. Then Christianity came and substituted its own version of “be good because someone’s watching”, and the old tales were pushed almost, but not completely, aside.
Nobody enjoys being compared unfavorably to - or criticized by proxy by - any relative, either on their own side of the family, or - even worse - their in-laws. That was actually a pretty passive-aggressive statement by Janis, pawning off the criticism as being said by her absent father, who might not have openly criticized Arlo to his face, anyway. Trust me, I come from a long line of passive-aggressives, they LOVE passing off criticism as either being from someone else’s mouth or being just helpful advice. Besides, Arlo wasn’t really angry, anyway, because he was totally over it by panel 3.
I am certainly familiar with the brownies of English/Scottish folklore. However, my impression is that they were traditionally viewed as mischievous, unless bribed with food (and particularly cream). That impression seems to be consistent with the description provided in the Wikipedia article.
I do not believe lexicographers give any significant credence to the concept that the idiom “brownie points” is based on the bribes offered to brownies. I’m not sure that there is any evidence the phrase existed before the 20th century (they earliest reference in print is from 1951). However, the division of Girl Guides/Girl Scouts known as the “Brownies” do indirectly draw their name from the brownies of folklore, via a bowdlerized version of the brownie concept in a book called “The Brownies,” written by Juliana Horatia Ewing in the latter half of the 19th century.
The brownies of folklore seem to have peaked in their popularity after the Christianity had spread to Great Britain, so I’m not sure it’s correct to say that they were supplanted by Christianity.
Other folk etymologies for “brownie points” include the suggestion that the term comes from a merit/demerit reward system used on railroads by an American railroad superintendent named “Brown,” and variations of an idea that the name came from trading stamps. I was just sticking to the two concepts that seem to be the most reasonable.
Danny Boy (London Derriere)
Oct 20th 2012 at 01:44 pm24
And what about those baked goods, that are like a dense chocolate cake with fudge?