DAMN YOU WILLIS.
The Willis Giveth, And The Willis Taketh Away
Hey, at least it’s not another Evil Dad
but it’s a vocally abusive granddad, also if he’s as bad as she said he is, why’s howies first words to her not something like “Sis, run! take your lesbo girlfriend and jump out the window”
Maybe he treats Howie better? Or maybe Howie’s just clueless.
then that make the granddad worse, if Howie’s completely unaware than he has to plan out the abusive actions, and maybe even doing things like subtle actions Howie thought was harmless when ruth new it’s real malevolence.
If he treats Howie better then that makes Howie a terrible person on the bases that he doesn’t stand up to their granddad for her, he’s 16-17 meaning he’s at an age that he ought know that’s wrong. if he treats Ruth like shit and in that same time praises Howie and he’s just so caviler about it he’d be as aweful.
But surely Howie couldn’t be that naive that he’s totally, blissfully unaware, because if so then Ruth would essentially keep *everything*from him. She wouldn’t sort of maybe admit to him that she’s a lesbian or that she’s having problems (as she did when he visited) because she couldn’t take the risk that that would go straight back to the grandpa.
She hasn’t told Howie she’s been having problems because he’s just a kid, and she (rightfully) told Howard she wasn’t a lesbian (She’s bi).
And in fairness, my brother has something of a… confrontational relationship with our parents, whereas I tend to get along well with them. Sometimes it CAN boil down to conflicting personalities – keep in mind, we’ve only heard Ruth’s side of the story thus far. That’s not to say she might not be right, but unlike Amber’s POS father, we haven’t seen any of Ruth’s family in any continuity.
No, she told him that she might be a lesbian but wasn’t really sure. Which on top of expressing an interest in Billie is more than enough to get her in trouble with a homophobic authority figure, but she doesn’t show any concern that Howard might tell him. So either she doesn’t think her grandfather will care or she trusts Howard not to tell him stuff.
@ Stu – I really, really don’t think this is going to end up being a ‘surprise, the abuse is all a misunderstanding in Ruth’s head’ kind of storyline. Mostly because those are never done well and I doubt Willis is interested in writing it. Same reason we’re not going to learn Sal really was making shit up and the Walkertons aren’t really racist or that Amber is actually a weak ball of rage destined to be like her dad.
@ Greenygal – That’s true. If Ruth was telling Howie about it, he probably won’t care or Howie knows when to keep his trap shut.
Ruth could also be taking the brunt of the abuse to protect Howie. She may feel she’s strong enough to take it, but he isn’t.
I’ve looked back on Howard’s past appearance, which has confirmed what I suspected: Howard is very close to being a complete idiot. I can well believe that he’s entirely clueless about family drama, not because Grandpa hides it especially well, but because he doesn’t notice anything.
And Ruth has no reason to worry about what he might tell their grandfather, because that would have been a stream of gibberish about secret lesbian babies. If it wasn’t just whining that he had to miss Game of Thrones because of the sportsball.
idk i’ve known people who took decades to realize *they* were being abused. “This is normal, right? This is how all families act?” Especially with the older kids. “Sure, I get punished more harshly, but I’m a role model for the younger ones.” It’s not unrealistic for Howie to realize he’s being treated better without fully realizing “no, this isn’t normal one-kid-is-the-favorite or babying-the-youngest-child or insisting-the-eldest-be-a-good-role-model, this is straight Golden Child vs Abused Scapegoat”.
On the other extreme there’s golden children who *know* the other kid(s) are being abused but are so genuinely terrified of what will happen to them if they stand up for their siblings as to suck up to the abusive adults instead. Being intentionally complicit in abuse is a very different thing from being too scared to do anything, and now that Ruth is an adult she at least has better chances of being able to run away without the police bringing her back. Howie *might* be able to pull off being a teenage runaway but his odds of success are way lower. Yeah, being a Good Brother would require him to stand up for his sister the moment he realizes she’s being abused, but there’s still a bit of a leap from “reasonably scared teenager” to “terrible person”.
Depressingly, this is way more common than you might think. Often it’s a bit of both–one sibling ~does~ get picked on / treated worse than others, often in ways that are more subtle, or only feel so hurtful to people with certain personality traits*. And there is often a sort of willful denial on the part of the other siblings, a mixture of genuine oblivious and not wanting to believe that a person who is good to them is not automatically A Good Person.
*for example, I know people who make a distinction between “loud arguing” and “yelling;” to them, “loud arguing” is fine, because both parties blow off steam, and usually there is laughing or no hard feelings afterwards, whereas “yelling” is mean because it involves hurtful things like personal insults and requires an apology at the very, very least. Whereas I and some others do not feel a difference between the two. Raised voices always read as threatening to me, and I’m liable to exit right away or, if I’m stuck, burst into tears as soon as any yelling happens, whether it’s insulting or not.
So, among my friends, those who make such a distinction felt often that we were too sensitive, or were trying to police their tone, whereas we felt often that the “loud arguers” were being mean or aggressive. Ultimately, I have been able to remain friends with a few “loud arguers” because we have come to respect each others’ POV–they make a valid effort to tone it down around me, and I myself try to use my words as soon as I start feeling uncomfortable. But, unfortunately, most of that friend group broke apart for those reasons.
I, personally, would *hate* to grow up in a family of “Loud Arguers,” and would have much lower self-esteem if I did (and was called over-sensitive because of it). This does not mean loud, argumentative people are necessarily abusive, but it is easily the kind of personality clash that I could see building up into abuse over time, especially if the timid person is a child.
Maybe, whenever Howie says “Game of Thrones!” it’s the only way he has left to express that the world is a brutal and hideous place controlled by wicked, manipulative torturers? That’s how I read it, anyway.
I read it that Howie wants to strip naked and ride around on dragons.
..It’s a legitimate interpretation, that’s all I’m saying.
Damn you, Willis,
You paved the way
For other madmen
To make us pay.
Lots of madmen
Have had their say-
But only for a day.
Listen to the stories.
Hear it in the songs.
Don’t write the rules
And trucks don’t right the wrongs.
Hurts a while,
But soon the comic’s
Back where it belongs,
And that’s the way.
Still and all,
Damn you Dave~!
*snaps with much vigor*
AA, is that you? I didn’t know you liked DOA too. That’s so cool
P.S. Just random guy named Master Aquatosic on the Onyx Path Forums
I love you forever for this reference.
If Darkseid isn’t sitting in her chair, I’ll be vaguely disappointed.
preferably with a glass of wine
Although I would also settle for him handing Ruth a Big Mac.
OMG I’m saving both images for my screen saver.
He’ll be showing up with a video of her girlfriend in a porno.
HOWARD TOOK THE BUS
or a plane, maybe
My bet is we’re about to meet the parents.
Well grandparents but still
Yep, contrary to popular opinion, he is exceptionally good rollerskater who received nation attention for being the first boy to cross the US-Canada border on rollerskates. The dude with him is a mountie, just because.
The Mountie got his horse into the hall because the hall RA wasn’t very attentive.
Err,… Don’t they count as “service animals”? Not like seeing eye dogs and Real service animals. … But they are in service to the RCMP, the Raison d’nom “Mounted Police” is that they are on horseback and not in cars, QED= service animals; that would make them Squaddies? No?
Just start playing the imperial march music.
He flew down on Falkor. Lucky him, having a Luck Dragon.
You should never have an adventure without a luck dragon.
Oh no. Shades of Sarah’s backstory! PARENTS HAVE BEEN CALLED!
Well, not literal parents, obviously, but still…
wait, who alerted (presumably) sir?
Think they kinda have to notify you when your kid’s been brought in for suicidal urges.
Not adults, though.
I’m pretty sure the school doesn’t? The hospital might have, if he’s her next of kin.
Emergency contacts are a thing tho.
That doesn’t mean they needed to invite him to this meeting though – she’s not even in the hospital anymore. Would that even apply here?
Who said he was invited? He might have just decided to go see her on the day that happens to also have the meeting.
In that case, if he’s not been invited to it, he really shouldn’t be in the meeting. That’s a thing between Ruth and her boss, not him.
Well then we’ll just wait until we cut back to this scene in a month for an explanation.
Yes, but as much as she hates her grandfather would he be hers? I suppose Howie may have been hers and he told their grandfather.
Untrue when she’s a legal adult. And that was days ago – where’s he been, if that’s the case
She hasn’t lived in Canada since her parents died. About 4 years ago. If Sir lives there, Ruth’s been on her own for 2 years.
Does Sir live in Canada though? Ruth has said to Howie’s face that American sex-ed has messed with his head when he made some outburst about lesbian sex babies. Unless Howie’s at boarding school, Sir is probably in the U.S. too.
That’s what I said – Sir doesn’t live in Canada, or Ruth would’ve been in a foreign country alone for 2 years, unnecessarily.
Try telling that to hospital that treated me.
I’m so sorry that happened to you. And yeah, just because they don’t legally have to doesn’t mean they won’t.
Unless the student is a minor, most states expressly forbid colleges from telling even parents or guardians ANYTHING about the student without the student’s permission.
Shit shit shit
When a family member is part of the cause of clinical depression, do not involve said family member without discussing with the patient and the treatment team
shit shit shit
Because Ruth opened up to the clinic staff, right?
even so, situations like this are why it’s just not a good idea to bring in a relative unless you know for certain that they’re a safe person
She may have – group therapy. And she strongly implied she’s got a family member not allowed in the building.
Wait. Aren’t Ruth’s parents dead?
As far as she knows
Yes, but Sir is most likely her grandfather.
Was this implication in the Blaine arc? I think I vaguely remember it.
Literally the reason I never went to the counseling center at my college, even when I was hurting myself. They could prescribe any type of treatment they want and make going through with it a condition of being able to stay enrolledl. Including group therapy with my family, which would only have made things much worse.
It was at best weakly implied (what was implied more strongly was that she had personal experience with the concept of someone’s relatives not being allowed in the building, which could have just meant she’s kicked someone out before) and today’s strip kind of puts the final nail in it doesn’t it?
Since I seemed to recall Willis saying that she hadn’t been RA for very long, I was under the impression she was referring to Sir. Evidentially, that is not the case.
alsotooplus damn you willis
I think the School has a obligation to notify, because they have they legal status of en loco parentis To the students.
Not colleges in the US. We have to follow FERPA, which means that I can’t discuss a student with ANYONE outside the school except the student themselves.
It’s amazing that so many people who’ve been to college don’t know the laws that restrict how colleges can share information with anyone, including the parents of an adult student.
An adult doesn’t need en loco parentis. If Ruth were 17, that’d be one thing, but she’s 20.
Oh, balls. WTF did you do, Chloe?
I know, right?!? Like how do you fuck this up to the point where you’re inviting an abusive family member of an adult to sit in for an already stressful meeting with someone you know is suicidal.
All the positive hopes I had for Chloe are in the bin until further information redeems her.
This is par for the course if she wasn’t checking in enough to notice what was going down in Ruth’s dorm, so completely unsurprising if it’s her.
Do we know it was Chloe?
Like, maybe if Sir was paying for her college, perhaps the cashier’s office contacted him to say that the part of her tuition that her job was covering was no longer being covered?
Not 100%, but we pretty clearly know who she meant by “everyone we need”. Even if she didn’t know what an asshole “Sir” is, not at even informing her that her family was coming was a bad decision.
Yeah, Chloe really fucked up here in a major way. Not giving Ruth the head’s up. Inviting him in the first place (potentially). Not being extra careful with a suicidal person and playing it safe even if you have to deliver bad news.
It’s kind of bad all around here on her part. Bad pudding head.
For it to have come to this point even beforehand, she was ragingly incompetent and not awake at the wheel; it is extremely amusing to me that folks are surprised by this.
Do we know he’s even going to be at the meeting, though? If he found out, he could have showed up without knowing about the meeting and without Chloe ever having heard about it…
…. but yes, agreeing with the core point of “If Chloe arranged this, or even knew about it without warning Ruth, very bad Chloe”. I just like to keep straight the categories of “certain” “likely” and “speculative”.
I don’t think it is Chloe’s responsibility to tell the students under her care when their family is in town. The job generally sits with the family.
When there’s a meeting involved then things are different, and when (obviously: highly confidential) medical treatment is involved things are different still.
Chloe shouldn’t need to be involved if a family member is visiting. And a staff member’s family shouldn’t know anything about that staff member’s employment (there’s some very specific HR requirements here), hence absolutely shouldn’t be involved with any meetings to do with employment unless specifically requested as a support person by the staff member.
Sir has no business getting involved here. And Chloe damn well knows this.
As far as I understand it, that’s still not a condition that allows the college to disclose information about an adult student.
How did he get past the Border Patrol/ Customs/ whichever acronym??
The Canadians were coming from inside the country!!!
I know other people explained it, but I feel like this was already the perfect answer.
As I recall, “sir” lives in Indiana, and Howie and Ruth had to move to the States after their parents died. I think Ruth was in high school at the time.
Howard lives with their grandfather in Carmel, Indiana: http://www.dumbingofage.com/2013/comic/book-3/04-just-hangin-out-with-my-family/carmel/
We don’t absolutely know that he’s living with his grand father. Howie could be going to boarding school.
But yeah, that’s probably the safest bet.
Damn you Willis – it’s “Sir”, isn’t it.
“sir evil lessick,” as he’d like to be known.
This is exactly what I didn’t want -.-
I’ll see your “OhshitohshitohshitohshitOHSHIT” and raise you an “OhfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckOHFUCK!”
Which is actually what I was thinking anyway before I saw your post. Thank you for breaking the ice.
yeah, I think we’re all pretty much on the same page.
*soft whimpering noises while rocking back and forth in a panic*
Actually, I think Cerb is a couple chapters further into this dark, sad story. We’re coming, buddy.
I refuse to panic until the identity of the off-panel person is revealed.
Oh, c’mon. Panic a little. All the cool kids are doing it.
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK WE’RE GONNA SEE THE OLD MAN OH NO
Why does it always have to be da-… surrogate dads?
(Also, hoping I haven’t lost my Walky grav here…)
Okay, fixed. Phew.
I swear, tech support that has you delete your browser cache and cookies….
It’s because it works all too often, especially thanks to the horrible monsters out there still using not just IE, but older, outdated versions of it. *angry fist shaking*
“Dads frighten me. It’s time my enemies share my dread.”
“Why does it always have to be dads?”
Except when its mums but they usually go for the psychological warfare first before going for the WMD.
Ruth, the light at the end of the tunnel is always the oncoming Train.
Who’s the Road Runner in this scenario?
Speaking of Road runner, doesn’t the delay between ‘Hi Howie’ and ‘did you drive here yourself?’ And Ruth’s expression in the next panel remind you of the three steps of Wile E going off a cliff? Zoom, look down, realization. Next step is sudden plunge.
Don’t be so sure.
Sometimes it’s a fire blocking your exit while simultaneously consuming all your oxygen and replacing it with smoke, toxic fumes, CO2, and other lethal stuff.
Or in this case, maybe the family sedan.
So, any bets on how long before Joyce decks another pseudo-parent?
I think it’s more likely to be Billie doing the violence this time. Or maybe Carla.
I’m still hoping that Ruth’s perception of her grandfather is grossly distorted by her condition. I think it’d be a nice contrast from the parade of terrible parental figures.
More likely, her grandfather is part of the reason for her condition. But in public he will seem like a good guy.
“Game of Thrones” tho, really? Why is THAT your catchphrase, Howie?
“Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver!” is kind of a mouthful.
But the mouthful is still a better catch phrase. (I regret nothing.)
You’re biting off more than you can chew?
He just thought that was what Ruth was talking about.
Apparently Howard is still determined to see a booby. Maybe he doesn’t know about Attenborough.
What’s the running odds of this having all been a fakeout, and Grampy Canada isn’t actually that bad?
Certainly Howard’s demeanor suggests that either Ruth has a far worse impression of Sir than Howard does, or Howard is really damn good at hiding his pain.
I suspect he’s a bit like Walky – he’s ignorant to and doesn’t understand the situation, but he doesn’t really WANT to. He’s okay with paying attention to his fandoms and avoiding thinking too much about it.
I mentioned further down that Ruth has mentioned, albeit offhandedly, that Howard’s also on the receiving end of Sir’s bullshit. Walky, at least, has the benefit of not being the wronged party.
Given what Howard put up with without complaint in the other universe, I would believe the latter.
Never ask a question you don’t want the answer to.
I do want the answer tho
Unfortunately, very very low.
Isn’t that bad RELATIVE TO WHAT?
Because you know, the bar’s been set pretty low already.
The only way it could possibly get lower is if “sir” is literally Donald Trump. Or the reincarnation of Ghengis Khan, Benito Mussolini, Vlad the Impaler or literally any infamous person from history who died before 1950.
tbf, none of the parents in this strip have even suck down to the level of present-century individuals like Deanna Laney.
… wait, that’s still worse.
you forgot hitler
Sir is Serpentor.
Being punctual when being fired for incompetence beats the point of being fired.
and oh shiiiiiiii, the grandfather is here, I legit did not see this coming (I hoped he would be the obscure background Canadian who didn’t care about Ruth). Let’s hope there aren’t any sharp objects in that room, as the struggle will be real. o-o
*plays Ides of March’s “Vehicle” on the hacked Muzak*
Yes, but it relates both to the comic and the date.
… let me guess, “You Spin Me Right Round” was yesterday? Or “Circle Game.”
and here I was thinking “The Rains of Castamere”…
Never before have I seen a more “Oh shit…” face from anyone in this series. I can only imagine the hell Ruth faces over the next 5 minutes/(7 days).
Calm down it’s just his uber driver.
Well I guess now that Mary is pretty much defeated, someone worse has to take her place.
AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA wait no that’s not quite right
Too late, it’s now five people’s headcanon minimum.
No tag on the off-panel voice, drat.
Off-panel voice is Howard, answering Ruth’s question, 99%. Ruth’s reaction is about what that implies, I figure.
Or….and hear me out here, she just stepped on a thumb tac!
Damn you Willis, it’s “sir” isn’t it? I really hope I’m wrong and Howard just took a bus or something.
I’m hoping “Sir” prefers to be called Patty.
You can’t swing a cat in this comic without hitting a terrible authority figure.
Multiple times? In the nose? Or the groin? Or the FAAAAAAACE? 😀
I was gonna go for the cheaplaff about how terrible authority figures are the ones we’d expect to swing a cat, but imdont wanna jinx anything. DofA has enough abuse of people without Willis deciding to give us an actual “kick the dog” bad guy.
Yeah, it’s pretty realistic. Slightly more superheroes than one encounters in reality, though.
Game of Thrones, Howie!
*read in muffled shout as if from across a silent crowd* Game of Thrones sucks.
Game of Thrones to you, too.
Preserved for posterity, the current top tweet from Willis:
“meanwhile a few folks are probably going oh shit shit shit and scrambling over to see tomorrow’s strip on patreon”
Joke is on him. I look at Patreon before this site because it updates sooner.
So you already know what happens. Also, aaawwww that means you come here for the commentary and actually like (some of) us.
Yes, and I will not be sharing because it is both against the rules and a dick move. I’m told most people prefer their media spoiler free.
Also because I got used to coming here and I am a creature of habit.
….Which means I don’t hate this place enough to find a better habit, and not toxic enough I feel that need, so I guess I’ve proven your point. So, yes! 😀
Methinks Howie is too happy for “sir” to be involved. Then again, I’m a person who just used “Methinks” unironically. Maybe it’s “sir’s” wife?
It turns out that Howard is faking, and has been planning his revenge for years.
Howie may not be aware of the way Ruth and Sir… don’t get along. Ruth does seem likely to shield him, and a lot of skeevy stuff can happen between family members without the rest of the family knowing.
Get a license Howie
He has one. He drove here for Freshmen Family Weekend.
I’m assuming this is the introduction of Sir, but I’m quite suspicious of Howard’s chipper attitude
Howie could just be a really good Stepford Smiler. Or “sir” might be horribly sexist and is abusive towards Ruth solely because she’s a woman.
Or Howie’s delighted with his unexpected job offer?
That’s not uncommon. Abusers are really good at seeming “not that bad” to some folks in order to better gaslight the folks they are awful towards.
And abuser plus sexist is not an uncommon combination.
It is kinda doubtful, though–Ruth said at one point that she’s considered killing herself because Howard’s sister dying might get Sir to be nicer to Howard. Which implies that, at least from Ruth’s perspective, Howard isn’t exempt from whatever Sir’s particular brand of bullshit is.
Abuser + sexist is definitely plausible. But some other possibilities:
Abuser + no patience for family member’s psychological condition
Abuser + wasn’t graceful with a teenager’s anger over losing parents
Abuser + Ruth deliberately and intentionally made herself the target to protect Howie
Abuser + Ruth (unlike Howie) has qualities reminding Sir of unliked in-law
Abuser + all of the above is my guess.
Put my money on Abuser + all of the above + a disturbing amount of sympathy from the comment section to point that at the very least Willis eventually has to start blocking in droves again
Honestly, I’d probably add alcoholic to the list, mainly because I’ve known some real mean drunks and that abuse victims I’ve met have seemed to imply that it’s also an excuse the abuser uses to keep the target passive saying stuff like, “It wasn’t really me it was the alcohol that made me do it” or “I wasn’t in control of my actions, I’d never really hurt you” which is a load of bullshit so deep they can drown in it. There’s also the possibility that if “sir” uses alcohol to deal with his problems, then Ruth’s alcoholism could be partially learned behavior.
Ruth said she first tried alcohol to cope with her depression when her parents died. Sir’s stash maybe?
It’s always possible that “sir” is super-strict and pushes the kids hard, but he’s actually a caring individual and realizes his errors after Ruth was hospitalized.
Of course, it’s Dumbing of Age so that ain’t gonna happen, but it IS possible.
IMO, if it takes one of your kids being hospitalized to realize you were pushing them too hard, then you’re a shitty guardian and you probably shouldn’t have kids in the first place.
WHy did he say game of thrones? Is that just something he says? Like when Becky says “I’m a lesbian” ?
He’s a pokemon!,,,..and come to think of it so is Becky now.
Gameofthrones, use Red Wedding!
this is my headcanon, but if howie is suffering under sir’s roof, i imagine he might’ve latched onto game of thrones to help deal, or maybe even avoid confronting ruth’s pain
If I recall previous strips, he’s not allowed to watch it at home, and thus is obsessed with binge-watching it whenever he’s [i]not[/i] at home.
And so it made sense on his last visit where his priority was getting Ruth to let him watch it, but it seems a little…misplaced…here. I wonder what he’s been told about why they’re there?
Because in the old strip he used to say “Star Trek!” because it was like 40 years ago so Willis wanted to use a more current show that teens geek out about in an unhealthy way now.
Surprise, abusive patriarch!!
Worst surprise birthday gift ever.
Eh, I can think of worse.
… Maybe we’re wrong? Maybe Ms. Bishara drove him there? Maybe he hitch-hiked? Maybe it’s Ruth’s birthday and he got the party clown he hired to drive him there?
… Actually I think Sir might be preferable to that last one but it would still match Ruth’s expression soooo…
Maybe it’s not her grandpa! Maybe it’s just Toedad!
…Oh god that would be so much infinitely worse
…I think, I don’t know much about Sir
Oh shit. I hope that wasn’t what the manager meant when she said ‘everyone who is needed,’ and that she can tell them ‘I’ve got a meeting bye.’
Blaine, ToeDad, and now this guy, the dark triad is complete.
…. wait, we’re stopping at three?
We can only pray.
Dargon has yet to show!
Plus we’ve still got Charles, Randall, and Saul on the shitty dad list.
Wait, who’s Randall?
Blaine at the hospital: “Yeah, yeah, I get the drill. Scoot over, fatty. They will fit another patient in here soon.”
Not to mention their leader, Sidney Yus.
Eh, Sydney’s not a parent or guardian. Maybe a univ trio with Mary and …Raidah? Idk.
Ok, let’s save the worst for last.
Panel 1: Ah, gallow’s humor. I have no idea how I’d cope without it.
Panels 2-3: That is sometimes the case. When you’re in a really shitty situation, sometimes a dramatic change, even a bad one can shake things up for positive change. It took my relationship falling apart for me to fully accept that my family was never going to love me and was just going to keep trying to angle me into reparative therapy. And while that hurt, it really helped me install a much more independent and positive life in a lot of ways.
I’m happy to see Ruth internalizing that and looking forward to a future, especially since I know how hard it can be to envision the idea of even having a future when you are that deep in the hole and especially Billie’s soft joy of seeing her partner claw at a way out…
Oh, fuck, Howie’s here. Please don’t let that mean what it looks like it means…
Panels 5-6: Nooooooooo… :'(
Like, this is every ounce of awful possible. Ruth is just beginning her recovery and finding a piece of a life she genuinely wants to build. An abusive encounter with “sir” is not what she needs right now to recover and could push her into another attempt if he decides to go in hard on her “failures”, which he is very likely to do.
And you see that in her terror pose in that last panel. All the fight she had, all the confidence evaporates in a second to Howie’s oblivious answer. This is her greatest nightmare and given how much a two second phone call has fucked her up in the past, I’m despairing to see the fallout from this shit.
Though it is baffling why he would be here and especially implied to be here in a disciplinary meeting. Like, there’s literally no reason for that shit that I can think of and it’s such an unnecessary risk for the school given the hospitalization for suicidal intent. Unless they are hoping to give her a push off campus with the “sir” in order to have the liability occur “somewhere else” (not uncommon, sadly, on some campuses).
And I fear this comic has a doom clock of physical visits by abusive family members that goes off every week or so in comic. But then, people starting to escape and gain independence from their abusers is why so many abusers are so violently against college in general and makes them get itchy feet trying to make sure their victims don’t fully escape their control.
But mostly, my real reaction is curling into a fetal position and crying for Ruth. She was just starting to recover. She so doesn’t need this shit.
At least I hope they had an hour of public make-outs
CERRRRRB WE CAN CRY TOGETHER
Panel six leaves me personally torn between a huge amount of sympathy for Ruth and an intense amount of anger and contempt towards “sir”. On the one hand, I wish I could give Ruth a hug, on the other I wish I could beat in “sir’s” face. And all of this without even seeing the character. Here’s to hoping against hope that “sir” doesn’t show up tomorrow. Also, how are you doing Cerberus? I’m personally a little worried about the 16th but I hope you and your loved ones are safe and happy. Also, I hope I’m not being intrusive in asking how you’re doing.
During the storyline with toedad i had to stop and lie down for a few days. Is this going to destroy me too?
“ABUSIVE PARENTAL FIGURE WARNING – SOMEONE CALL THE RA SO SHE CAN FEED HIM TO WILD DOOOOOGS!!!”
“This IS the RA.”
“NEW PLAN, WHOEVER FIRST GETS HIM AND HIS FEMURS OUT OF RUTH’S LIFE GET TO BE THE NEW RA. GO!”
Unwanted guardian! Possible abusive, possible indifferent to mental distress, woohoo!
Also is Howie a goddamn pokemon?
If he were he’d only be able to say his name.
Not if he was nicknamed by his the trainer.
You’re right. I’ll chalk this up to me thinking the alt-text was part of the regular text while I was being sleep-deprived.
The college summoned him didn’t they. For fuck’s sake.
“Howie?! Did you drive yourself here?”
“Well, I did drive the last part, after I kicked grandpa out of the car and fed his femurs to a wild DIRE-DOG.”
“Game of thrones!”
There is NO WAY Howie would have done that.
… he knows they’re called Direwolves.
That is very true.
I really want to post a comment of nothing but sad faces but that might be more appropriate for tomorrow.
Next up in “chronicles of the shitty parents” Episode 3, The Invasion of the Ruthlessly Abusive Asshole
Or the person that Ruth, through the lens of her depression, perceived as being ruthlessly abusive. I have no doubt that Ruth’s grandfather is emotionally distant in a way that was not at all healthy for a bereaved young woman who possibly had a pre-existing vulnerability to depression. However, this is the first time that we will have direct evidence how he will react to a Ruth whom he nearly lost to depression.
I’d argue that a parent/guardian being extremely emotionally distant from the child in their care IS at the very least a mild form of emotional abuse. Emotional support from their caretaker is a super important part of a child’s life.
Unfortunately, it is also some thing that some people, especially males from older generations, feel culturally and socially constrained from doing. Too often, it is a gender role that they have had pounded into them their whole lives and is nearly impossible to break unless in the face of an emotional trauma of their own (which they would almost certainly consider to be an unforgivable personal shame).
Well, it’s good to see we’ve already got the “We can’t trust the abuse victim to know how bad the abuser is” crowd in place.
You’re right that this will be the first “direct evidence” – and he’ll likely be on his best behavior in public, so there will plenty of excuses to keep dismissing Ruth.
Our previous evidence did seem to go a little beyond “emotionally distant”, but we only saw Ruth’s side of the conversation and her reaction, so we can’t give too much credence to that, right?
Okay, I actually don’t agree with them on the balance of probability, but… A) She’s a fictional character, so this is fundamentally a discussion about what kind of story Willis is likely to be telling rather than whether a real person is really being abused. B) If the full breadth of human experience weren’t wide enough to include situations that feel like abuse from the inside but involve no actual wrongdoing, then no-one would doubt these kinds of things (real or fictional) in the first place. C) Fundamentally, this comes from a place of wishing for Ruth to not have to suffer any more than is absolutely needed to be consistent with the established story.
I agree that (C) is the case, but (B) is completely wrong. Personal experience is far from the only reason people doubt without evidence, especially when it comes to stories of abuse. They doubt when the possibility of truth makes them uncomfortable. When it would mean they themselves have done something wrong. When it would make someone they dislike more sympathetic. When belief now would lead to feeling guilty about the times they didn’t believe someone in the past.
All kinds of petty, crappy reasons with no basis in that person’s personal experience.
Though I think the most common reason for excessive doubt is “That’s too far outside of my own experience to seem credible”
A) isn’t a relevant point given that Willis is a responsible storyteller who’s aware of the messages his stories send. Nothing is ever “only fiction.”
See also: Why the end result of Sal’s storyline is not going to be ‘and the racism was all a misunderstanding in the black woman’s head’.
B) People are reluctant to accept that abuse is real because it makes them feel bad so they’d prefer it wasn’t happening. Nobody wants to admit they’ve been wrong about a person they thought was good or safe and acknowledging that someone is abusive also obligates they actually do something about it, which most people don’t want to be bothered with that kind of hassle. It’s easier to just silence the victim.
See: Global warming, the continued existence of racism, the fact that maybe if you voted for a Nazi it’s your fault a Nazi is President
When’s the last time they showed up – when AG was around, or when Linda and Charles just went along with the school’s victim blaming horse shit regarding Marcie?
I’m kind of assuming that nearly every parent in this comic is shitty, in no small part because of the creator’s own history of shitty parents as he’s told us before.
Some of them are good. Like Dorothy’s, and Dina’s, and Sierra’s and Mike’s. But yeah, quite a few are bad.
guesses for names: hart lessick, saul lessick
Wait, I take that back.
People LIKE pancreases. Pancreaes. Pancrei?
That was unhelpful.
Pancreata! (Or pancreases.)
Oh come on, Room for Ruby was just last week! You can’t murder my emotions again, Rebecca Sugar already did that!
It was interesting to see Steven’s urge to “save” everyone and give everyone the automatic benefit of the doubt backfire on him for once.
I can’t think of another time when it’s turned out so negatively in the end, because someone took complete advantage of it.
There’s always the first time he encountered Peridot. If he hadn’t revealed the presence of the gems, Jasper probably wouldn’t have come with Peri to Earth, which would have simplified a lot.
Prepare for incoming shitstorm in 3…2….1….
Okay, so it looks like Ruth’s grandfather is here. Was he summoned by the college administration?
This might be me but I’m wondering if this coming confrontation is going to be both worse and better than Ruth imagines. I have a feeling that she’s never really known her grandfather and, in a way, he’s never really revealed himself to her in a way that is clear.
He’s revealed himself to be enough of an asshole that Ruth worries about her brothers safety. We’ve got no reason to doubt her perception of him.
His own granddaughter is deathly afraid of him, despite being a hardass who body slammed someone else’s abusive dad. That should say enough about him.
Howard reminds me of Lego Movie Robin.
There’s her fists. In the grandad’s face.
It’s all built up to this punch in the FAAAAACE!
Well, this is gonna be bad. Atleast it looks like Ruth might end up having Billie with her. I have a feeling she might prove a good person to have around when confronting authoritarian jerkwads.
Toedad 2 – Toegramp
So what are the odds Howard hitchhiked?
He… really doesn’t seem like that kind of guy.
My thoughts EXACLTY
I’m morbidly curious about what new type of shittyness will be visited upon us by this newcomer. Every parent that has appeared in DOA except Dina’s and Dorothy’s seems to be a case study for a different form of abuse.
Sierra’s parents are pretty chill, too.
Let’s see here
Joyce – Emotionally abusive mom using religion as a reason, dad who formerly contributed to said religion based abuse but has since been learning.
Dorothy – Good parents
Walky and Sal – Emotionally abusive and negligent (to Sal) parents (PLURAL. Yes, people, Charles is as well, despite Linda being more in your face about it), preferential whiteness out the wazoo, of the ‘ditch the kid when you can’t make her play ball’ variety
Billie – Neglegent parents of the ‘kid, what kid?’ variety
Amber – Good mother, verbally, emotionally and physically abusive dad
Danny – Emotionally abusive parents of the ‘haha, just teasing, oblivious to their harm’ variety
Sarah – No information either way, though she’s implied a few times she’s not got a good relationship with them.
Ethan – Emotionally abusive parents of the homophobic jackass variety.
Dina – Good parents
Becky – Good, but deceased, mom, physically and emotionally abusive dad based on homophobia and religion
Ruth – Parents are dead, emotionally abusive guardian of the ‘everything you do is a failure’ variety.
Joe – Divorced parents who yelled a lot and his dad seems to ignore him for nookie, but he doesn’t seem to have a bad relationship with them (though he does seem to wish his dad wasn’t so gross)
Roz – A mom who drives her daughters nuts though not quite a bad relationship with Roz, her mom’s boyfriend she doesn’t seem to hate, and her dad seems like the same as the Walkyverse – a cheating bastard who just dropped out of the kid’s lives one day. So I guess negligence? No word on child support?
Mike – Good parents
Carla – Wonderful parents, like, lifetime achievement award winning, good shit right here parents.
Jacob – Seems to have a pleasant relationship with his family, or at least his brother. Parents uncertain, but based on how he talks about his family and community growing up, I’m willing to hedge my bets they’re positive.
Marcie – Not much info. She seemed to get along with them as a child and worries about them being deported, but she also had no compunctions about moving out and following Sal so things may be more complicated than that.
So on the cast list, we’ve got
Good parents – 4/18 (Dina, Dorothy, Mike, Carla)
We don’t know, likely good – 1/18 (Jacob)
We don’t know, implied bad relationship – 1/18 (Sarah)
We don’t know either way – 3/18 (Joe, Roz, Marcie)
One good parent, one lousy parent – 3/18 (Joyce, Amber, Becky)
Bad parents – 6/18 (Walky, Sal, Billie, Ruth, Ethan, Danny)
“Nope!” doesn’t seem like something an Angry Grandpa would say. Too informal for someone who apparently insists that Ruth call him “Sir”. It’s a red herring. It’ll be Ruth’s nice therapist lady or Roz trying to suck up to the RM or Dana returned as some kind of depression councilor or HA…
I’m probably wrong, but that’s what my gut is saying.
I think the person saying that is Howie.
You may be correct, but abusers are often master manipulators as well. He’ll have a likable persona that he shows the outside world, and a far darker persona that he shows to those he wishes to control. A big friendly grin for Billie, and a threatening look in his eyes (when no one else is looking) for Ruth.
Once one of my friends was going to meet my family. I spent like a day reiterating everything I’d ever told her about my mother. I specifically brought up how she’s manipulative and gets people outside her direct control to like her.
20 minutes after they met, I get “Gosh your mother’s so nice!”
I managed not to smack her.
…I later came to the conclusion that the friend in question and my mother are basically the same person, which may have been why I latched onto her when I was completely lost in my first experience with freedom. I don’t know how, or if, that ties in to this story.
I’m expecting an elderly redhead to walk in with three groups of six freckles instead of the customary groups of three.
Having just been through the “we have to tell your parents/guardians you’re suicidal” thing myself, I am…not looking forward to this.
(And mine aren’t abusive.)
The worst part is that they didn’t even need to tell Sir. Ruth is a legal adult. There is no legal obligation here. If they did, they chose to.
Unless he was her emergency contact.
I’d assume that if he’s the one paying for everything then they may have contacted him to discuss options. It’s not like they’d know if he was abusive if she never told anyone.
Again, unless something has changed in recent years, it doesn’t work that way. “But we’re paying for it” doesn’t so anything to get parents or anyone else around the school’s legal obligation to protect an adult student’s privacy. Once someone is 18, the school cannot discuss their grades, their finances, their status, or anything else, with anyone other than the student, unless they have that student’s permission.
“FERPA gives parents access to their child’s education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student’s consent prior to the disclosure of education records after that student is 18 years old. ”
I was 18 my entire senior year of high school, and it caused some tension between the school and my parents when the school had to get my permission to discuss a relatively minor and inconsequential matter with them.
Something changed — it now appears that parents or guardians who can show that an adult student is listed as a dependent on their tax returns, can file to gain access to the educational records of that student, without that student’s permission.
Also for health or safety emergencies, which is maybe the STUPIDEST exception I’ve ever heard of.
Welp, I assume that’s gotten some people killed?
From the preview panels that Willis has put on Tumblr, I’m wondering if we’re actually going to see Ruth’s grandpa or if he is going to be ‘shown’ in the way Charles Schultz always showed adults in Peanuts – Off-panel and probably silent; we only being able to infer their words by the words and reactions of the characters on panel.
On the one hand, he shouldn’t be here and this is going to rapidly go downhill.
On the other hand, we finally get to learn his proper name and people will stop using “Sir” to refer to him. It’s giving the asshole more respect than he deserves.
Sir can be said disrespectfully. Hell, I’ve never respected anybody I’ve called sir.
That’s…that’s not…that’s…that’s not…
Default is now “No”.
Being that this comic provides a lot of wish fulfilment for people (and that’s not a bad thing) I see Ruth as representing all the bullies I had to deal with growing up so seeing her like this is…pleasing because they got away with it but Ruth isn’t
Everything she is experiencing is due to how she treated others on the floor (probably because of how she was treated of course but it was still her choice) so its all on her for her decision making
Of course after she goes through an appropriate amount of c**p and shows proper contrition for her actions I’ll be able to change my opinion of her but until that time I’m not feeling bad for her at all
Are you seriously posting this on the strip where she is finding out her abusive guardian is here?
Holy shit is that inappropriate.
I don’t want to see her get abused but I do want her to see and feel the real repercussions of her actions against the people she was in charge of
Yeah she’s a victim but she’s also a bully and I still remember what those bullies did to me, how they made me feel, what that lead me to do and the issues it caused within my family so probably after this storyline I’ll change my opinion of her but not before
If that’s inappropriate then so be it but that’s how this storyline is making me feel
Wanting that is fine, but posting about how ‘everything going on here’ is her own fault and everything she’s experiencing is due to her decisions, when you know damn well that is not true as there are at least three things going on with her now that are not (her grandfather, depression, and alcoholism) is inappropriate as FUCK.
And the other twist is that actually nothing going on here is “due to how she treated others on the floor”. Unless there’s more going on we haven’t seen of the administrator’s concerns, she’s in trouble for alcohol and Billie and might get removed anyway due to concerns over the suicidal depression. The bullying has barely come up so far.
Are you saying that she had no control over her actions? Because I don’t buy that at all.
No, I’m saying that pretending that everything bothering Ruth right now is a consequence of something she’s done is not true because her grandfather being an abusive prick, her having depression, and her being an alcoholic are all things bothering her right now that are NOT a consequence of something she’s done. One is an unfortunate trick of relations and two are mental illnesses.
My point is I don’t think shes apologised enough for her actions. I’m not saying she can’t have her redemption but, for me, I want to see her do a proper apology, not a “Everyone I’m sorry. You deserved better”, that’s too easy.
And my point is you phrased it badly. Very VERY badly.
And that’s fine. Perfectly legitimate way to feel. But it’s not at all the same thing as “everything she is experiencing is due to how she treated others on the floor”, which is simply not true and comes off particularly badly as a response to this strip. If you think Ruth hasn’t been redeemed for her actions, just say that; don’t tack on that having an abusive guardian is somehow her fault.
None of it has any relationship at all to any of her behavior towards the students under her care.
It couldn’t be more disconnected.
Oh, I can’t WAIT to finally meet Ruth’s no actually I CAN wait, like forever. There’s no one else in the room, Howard didn’t drive himself there BECAUSE HE TOOK THE BUS.
In case you’re not following…
We were just watching what was going on with the others in math class/the lobby…. so we’re not going to jump back to someone else tomorrow, right? This isn’t going to be more of a cliffhanger than it is already, right??
Some part of me expects that it’s not her grandpa that drove Howie but someone else, like a neighbour or sthg like that, just to throw all of us off (however unlikely that seems)…
*plays ominous pipe organ to imply “Sir”s presence*
After days of looking I have found the begining of the hover text, I am super proud of myself. Carry on.
Nope, that’s just the beginning of regular hovertext. There’s at least one more earlier! Better keep looking.
Winter is coming.
no san diego comic-con, the sorries
Who should be doodled inside Book 6?
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