TOM THE DANCING BUG: The Education of Louis





  1. I do not wish to comment of the above comic strip, which I found charming, if difficult to follow. Rather, I have traveled back in time to protest, in the strongest possible terms, the comic strip which will be conceived, written, drawn and published in this space five weeks hence. To label me an “idiot” simply because, in a good faith effort to kill Genghis Khan, thus preventing the needless slaughter of millions of innocent lives, I mistakenly caused the poisoning of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is not only callously insensitive, but certainly libelous. One does not have to be a time traveler, idiotic or otherwise, to know that Mr. Bolling WILL be hearing from my attorneys. -Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler From 1909

    1. Sir:

      A number of us are still angry at you for breaking Tecumseh’s Curse by tripping over John Hinckley, thus eventually causing George W. Bush to conquer what would have been a fatal head-cold. As we have already met again and you died in the plane that crashed into the Empire State Building, I can only wish you godspeed to get to that point with all due haste.

      (signed) Some of the members of the Occasional Ambivalent Time Travelers Assoc.

    2. Have you not perceived, sir, that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is your father?

      By poisoning your father, you do the world good service: had he lived, he would have invented Disco, many centuries before the proper Era of Disco.

      As for Genghis Khan, rest assured that your attempted poisoning did cause him acute flatulence.

      Your (as yet unborn) Son

    1. As did I, and I recently lost both of my parents to natural causes in a short time. This strip perfectly describes my wish to wake up and find them still around.

      Thanks Ruben!

  2. I didn’t see that ending coming (the need for scrolling very definitely works in this strip’s favor), but of course like so many other things Louis does, it seems uncannily typical.

    I have often thought that it would be cool to one day see Louis mature and break free of the burdens of adolescence, but that’s still a ways off, I guess.

    1. I get a red X “broken image”

      Am I the only one? Everyone else seems to be able to see it . . .

      That’s it! We are all commenting on a red X.

      it is a metaphor for Louis’ broken dreams.

  3. My grandparents are known for their practical jokes, but my favorite was their version of this comic. On some random Friday afternoon, instead of going home after work, they went to visit some friends. By the time they returned home the next evening their three teenage children were on a first name basis with every hospital and police department switchboard operator in the DC Metro area. After that they had very little difficulty getting their kids to come home on time or check in with them.

  4. Can’t remember which one, but there was a This American Life partially about the romantizing of orphanhood. This seems to fit that pattern pretty well.

  5. I have heard that laughter was originally a signal to other humans that a perceived danger was not really a threat. At the end of this comic I laughed mostly in relief, and it reminded me of the aforementioned likely fact.

    1. Not only that, but laughter also causes (or leads to actions that cause) such perceived threats being neutralized, that might actually be threats to the humorless. Because the well-humored take the right course of action, if such a course is called for; but simply laughing at supposed threats is one course of action that is nigh effortless, and quite effective, at neutralization. — Misquote from Mark Twain, because he’d totally say this if he were still with us physically. (It is my prediction that he will return physically, somehow, soon enough; maybe on Halley’s comet, along with his own crazy-cool spacecraft, for coming into or outfrom planetary surfaces, because, after all, he came to us on that comet to begin with, and left us on the very same.)

  6. When I was a small boy I used to worry like that about my parents when they went out. It’s not a phenomenon of 21st century angst – I am 68.

  7. Louis is like Jimmy Corrigan but less hopelessly cruel. I’d love to see a graphic novel about his some day.

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