Short Story Month: A bugatty devotchka goes bezoomny

For Better or For Worse (Short Story Month #15)

Dude! Whazzup!? Mobility! Random words??! Awesomesauce! Droogs! Splortch!!!

So far ahead of its time that reading it legitimately counts as a form of time travel, For Better or For Worse was a blistering exposé of the many subversive elements that, to this day, seek to destroy the Canadian way of life. Superficially resembling a family-oriented dramedy, FBoFW cunningly employed an overly polite cartoon family to reveal the fecund political discourse that lies beneath the idyllic facade of Canada. Employed by the Canadian government as “societal moles,” the Pattersons sneakily infiltrated Canada’s pop culture landscape to warn the reader of the oblique perils of nonconformity.

At first, eldest sibling Michael Patterson was the sleeper agent who provided a glimpse into Canada’s lost teenage wasteland. After he embraced his destiny and became Canada’s bestselling equivalent to Mitch Albom, younger family member Elizabeth — or as she was known in the teen underground, “Lizardbreath,” “El-Patz,” and “The Quaker” — served as the “fish out of water” guide into the unknown world of teenage angst. When she ultimately succumbed to ennui and decided to teach, youngest daughter April took on the mantle of the cartoon page’s only true teen spy.

Sadly, as shown here, April proved herself the strip’s ultimate downfall. A sheltered white Canadian female, April has as little knowledge on how to relate to fellow teens as an evangelical homeschooler. The incomprehensible teen lingo of the age drives the shy neophyte agent further into herself; the strip as a whole reads as if April has just stepped into the pages of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, the last panel showcasing her bulging glazzies (an ongoing personal trope that would, in future strips, result in April’s unfortunate nickname “Eyeballs McGillicutty”).

Soon, this bugatty devotchka, attempting to fit in, will take up smoking cancers and shooting up synthemesc, driving her bezoomny. As punishment for this transgression, the malenky ptitsa, rather than be sentenced to a year in the stripey hole, will opt to be “cured” through lengthy sessions of the Ludovico technique.

She’ll then be cruelly shunted off to become a supporting player in Crankshaft.

And it’s just as well; after Farley died to save the ever-whinging April, the strip lost its heart.