29 Comments

  1. Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree, but doesn’t he look a lot like the Gramps in Family Circus? Notice the drawing style is not like the one used for A&J. Not that it explains the comic…

  2. Best wishes for a happy Fathers Day, to all you fathers out there, not to forget children of fathers, parents of fathers, and wives or partners of fathers!

  3. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Arlo is having one of the many middle age moments where you look in a mirror and see an old guy who looks like your father staring back. But he says (perhaps rather missing the point of the anxiety) that even though he now looks “like a clone” of his father his father is still unique and inimitable (of which the fear that he might be is a rather weird take on the “i like like my father” anxiety.)

    And yes, that is the Gramp from Family Circus. Arlo’s father is the guy with the cigarette and drink. It’s just a comic cross-over meta acknowledgement. Very common in comics.

    (I first thought the joke was that if we all grow up to look like our fathers then we’d all die looking alike and when Arlo dies everyone’s going to say he looks familiar because he looks like his dad.)

  4. I was a little thrown by Arlo’s colloquial use of the word “kin” for “can” by which he means “I could”. “kin” mean “relations” caused me to have a hard time parsing it.

  5. That rendering is exactly Grandpa from Family Circus.
    (I acknowledge that his ghost always wore a polo shirt 🙂 . The spirit that remains on earth may be of a different nature, (e.g. in the mind), from the one greeting Arlo’s father in Heaven (in Jimmy’s universe of A & J). or maybe it is more of a Superman costume switch kind of thing)

  6. “Kin” does mean “family” as Arlo is using it: “[family] swear I’m your clone,” which doesn’t scan.

  7. ““Kin” does mean “family” as Arlo is using it: “[family] swear I’m your clone,” which doesn’t scan.”

    Not only doesn’t scan but doesn’t parse: “Now, Dad that I’m grown, [family] swear I’m your clone” makes no sense at all. It took me a few times to get that he meant “Now, Dad that I’m grown, [I kin] swear I’m your clone”.

  8. It makes sense to me. His kin, his family, think that he is his Dad’s clone. People who know both well see the similarities.

  9. Well for me, kin meaning family is the only way to make sense of that. That’s with the one word noun kin serving as the subject of that clause — not some odd attributive modifying swear, like pinky swear. Meaning is “all the folks in our family swear I’m your clone”. What’s wrong with that?

  10. In US English, I think that would require a singular form of the noun, so “kin/family swears”. I also stumbled on that in first reading. You have to individualize the family as Mitch has done to make it work out otherwise. I do think that’s what the strip was going for though.

  11. Good thinking, Brian in STL — but in point of fact kin can be plural, similar to some of those unmarked plurals for animals. So if your relatives resemble some moose …

    Both the UK and US entries at Lexico.com say [treated as plural]. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/kin (Though their example sentences don’t include one that I could find matching our case of kin as single-word subject with pural verb agreement.)

  12. “Meaning is “all the folks in our family swear I’m your clone”. What’s wrong with that?”

    Oh, I guess it could mean that. It was utterly impossible for me to parse it in that sense for some reason. Don’t know why but … well, I could have sworn that “Now, Dad that I’m grown, [family] swear I’m your clone” was utterly incomprehensible. It seemed as weird as if it had been [Sonic Hedgehog] or [Maple Tree] or [Ice Cream]. I guess because family is collective singular noun.

    Hmm….. Now I’m trying to run through my had if I ever do say “Family think” or “Family go” rather than “Family thinks” or “Family goes“. I don’t think I do but I could say “Family members think”. Of course “kin” does mean “family members” but…. I guess, at some level I always that of “kin” as a quality of being family except… there’s always exceptions.

    Okay, I was wrong.

    but somehow that line “[family/kin] swear I’m your clone” seemed really really weird to me. Now that I see it, it’s hard for me to see why it seemed so weird. But I swear I really couldn’t parse it even when I tried.

  13. ““Family” is standing in for “Family [members] think I’m your clone.” Might be an American dialectal thing.”

    Well, no it isn’t as the word “kin” is being used; not “family”. And kin can mean both family and family members.

    Look. I admit it. I was wrong and my arguments don’t have any legs to stand on. But dang, it sure seemed wrong when I thought so, and dang, if it sure seems perfectly fine now.

    It’s a really weird feeling remembering when something seemed so wrong that you couldn’t even comprehend a way it could be right, but now having no idea why is seemed so wrong.

  14. Thanks for the followups, Woozy.
    We mostly all get that feeling sometime or other. It’s what the term Aha was invented for.

  15. When you first see/interpret something the wrong way it can be quite difficult to unwind and start over, and then once you do you then usually can’t recapture the original state. Once many many years ago I was reading the directions for some piece of gadgetry and someone had mishyphenated “electronically”… causing me to latch onto the “electro-” and then try to interpret the rest in that context. (Electro-nically? Electro-nickel? Huh?) Of course this was out loud in front of people, so I remember it to this day…

  16. woozy,

    Occasionally when a student gets something VERY wrong, I will ask them their thought process. Almost invariably, they will say they can’t remember. “It made so much sense at the time…”

  17. BTW, what does the mean by ‘Thank heaven”? If he loved his dad, wouldn’t he be happy if there were more? When I hear “Thank heaven there’s only one I don’t assume the speaker is happy to see the one.

  18. “BTW, what does the mean by ‘Thank heaven”? If he loved his dad, wouldn’t he be happy if there were more?”

    This follows his observation that his kin claim Arlo is a virtual clone of his late father; Arlo is being humble and declining the honor, as he found his father (thanks to Heaven!) to in fact have been peerless.

    Or something like that.

  19. What shrug said.

    I think part of the trouble is the strip wants to do two incompatible things. Doing a goofy clueless dad trope and tie it in with a “oh, god, I look like my father next I’ll be wearing plaid pants, complaining about kids and the social innerwebbies” while also trying to homage to the great man and was a shining example whose likes can never be matched. The two attitudes, while both common, and both done by the same person in the same day, dont really mesh together as a single strip.

  20. Robert looks nothing like his father – he looks like his mom. (His sister on the other hand, looks like his aunt – dad’s sister.)

    I look not much like either parent, but my middle sister looks like me and our “baby” sister (now in her 50s,something I keep forgetting) looks nothing like us. I do sometimes feel like I am channeling my dad. I am physically a cross between my two grandmothers – both were short, and I have my paternal grandmothers body (fat) on my maternal grandmother’s frame (small boned – want to see me slide a children’s bangle bracelet onto my wrist, small boned).

  21. At first I thought the dead guy he was talking to was the German soldier he killed in the series of strips that CIDU Bill would run on Remembrance Day (or whatever you call November 11 in the USA). He said he’d be having a drink with him when he was dead. But now that you mention it, it does look like Grampa Keene.

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