Monday, February 05, 2007

For Better or For Worse

No, I am not going to write a homily on the estate of Holy Matrimony. For Better or for Worse is the name of a comic strip I have read with enjoyment for at least sixteen years. It chronicles the lives of the Pattersons of Toronto: dad John is a rather dull dentist, mom Elly is an erstwhile bookshop owner and coffee drinking mother. Son Michael is a budding author, married to pharmacist Deanna. They have two kids, and in the period of the last couple of weeks, they have been burned out of their apartment and Michael has sold his first book. Daughter Elizabeth is a newly qualified teacher with some bumps in her road to romance and her sister April suffers from the normal teenage angst. There’s grandpa Jim and assorted hangers on. Anyone who wants the low-down on them all can go to the official website, where I admit I learned a lot more than I really cared to know.

As I noted, I enjoy this comic strip. There are a number of comics I do not enjoy (and their numbers are multiplying), but I simply ignore them. I do not get vituperative. I recently discovered, however, that there is a whole cottage industry dedicated to bashing the Pattersons.

Now I admit that Anthony is a bit of a wuss, but I can’t believe someone went to all the work to write a whole article entitled “Why I hate Anthony,” using a lot more research than the writer ever used for a college essay on The Faerie Queene. So what if Anthony has a creepy mustache. Only a sick person would think “porn star”.

The insiders tell us that Lynn Johnston, the creator of the strip, is not well and the Patterson saga will soon end. I’m not much of a dog person, but when smelly old Farley went to the big kennel in the sky, I choked up a bit. So I go on record. If we have to say good-bye to the Pattersons, I for one will shed a tear.

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