1. Not familiar with the strip. If there is a reason we should understand why the kid hates the birdhouse and wants to destroy in the most violent way imaginable then this makes sense and Arthur has it.

    However if the kid and we the readers are supposed to be sane and normal… it makes no sense.

  2. Elliot (the kid) is not thoughtful or capable of careful planning in most situations. He’s also prone to respond to anything his dad asks with sarcasm.

    I interpret it as him intending to do something useful to the birdhouse, but doing it incompetently (using the wrong tool). Then when questioned about it, giving a smart-mouth reply. (Although he probably would use a flamethrower if one were available).

    That fits best with my understanding of the strip, but doesn’t leave much for a joke.

  3. The equivalent of “Why are you taking the SUV when you only have to go next door?” “Because we don’t have a Ferrari”

  4. He’s annoyed with the birds, and since he can’t set their home on fire, he can ruin it with a power drill?

  5. Kids are destructive. This has nothing to do specifically with the birdhouse. Dad thinks there’s some higher purpose to using the drill, but no, it’s just the most destructive thing available.

    See also: this Calvin and Hobbes strip

  6. The fact that power drills are used to screw things in as well as make holes makes this harder to understand. It’s a perfectly useful tool when building a birdhouse.

  7. And why is the dad a bird in the title panel? You’d think that would tie it in somehow to the destruction of a bird house, but if its just random destruction, why bother with the whole bird theme? When I first read it, the fact that the dad was a bird primed me to think he was annoyed with birds, specifically the one seen cowering up in the tree as he has at it at the birdhouse, and that dad asking stupid questions extends his annoyance to dad as well. But that wasn’t much of a joke, unless there was some expected background knowledge I don’t have, so I was hoping someone who knows the strip could provide it. So far, it seems pretty pointless, and the dad being a bird all the more so.

  8. He tried to build a birdhouse, but rather than the simple and fun activity he expected, he’s found it a frustrating and disappointing chore, resulting in an off-kilter mess with too many holes. At this point he’s fed up, and would get more satisfaction from destroying his project, since it’s going to turn out to be garbage anyway. The dad’s question is just an unrealistic set-up for the punchline.

  9. “The equivalent of “Why are you taking the SUV when you only have to go next door?” “Because we don’t have a Ferrari”” and “Q: “Johnnie, why did you kick your brother in the stomach?”
    A: “Because he turned around!”

    Those would work if the question were “Why are you damaging the birdhouse with a power screwdriver” The way this is phrased just seems psychotic.

  10. Seeing the Calvin & Hobbes strip that Powers linked to above reminded me that there was another strip which mentioned a flame thrower. However, when I looked it up, I discovered that Calvin (or Watterson) seemed to quite like them. I discovered four references that appeared over a span of five years:





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