Some 20 years ago now, the brother got me hooked on The Furry Freak Brothers, the adventures of a trio of California hippies whose motto is, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” It’s not quite subversive enough to make it a true underground comic, but it’s unlikely to appeal to a very large segment of the American population. I was therefore delighted to find that it had managed to rub off onto the spouse a little bit. That I can credit mostly to a single, one-page Freak Brothers episode that has spawned no fewer than three Things We Say in Certain Situations.
Here it is—click on the thumbnail for a large, readable version (a transcript appears below1):
You’ve probably been in a situation in which you really want some material good, and have the money to afford it, but no way to actually acquire it. So have we, and at those times we exclaim, “All this money—worthless!”
The next one is a bit obscure but comes up surprisingly often. Whenever we encounter something with prominent green and purple colors, one of us will say, “There’s one big cap left for you, Fat Freddy!”, and we’ll both chant, “It’s green and purple!”
Finally, whenever someone looks sick, overly tired, or otherwise horrible after boasting about having done something healthful, whether exercise or diet or whatever, we’ll offer the gibe: “Pick up on the health freak!”
Astonishing how many good laughs can be found on that single sheet. But the pinnacle of humor isn’t any of those quotes, but Franklin’s and Phineas’s appearance in the last panel. I guess that’s what you’re supposed to look like when you’re tripping: you either have five eyes (some located well to the side of your face) and a groovy, zigzag pattern down your right side, or three pupils in each eye.
Okay—I’ve got another one. The following comic only half qualifies for a Thing We Say in Certain Situations, because Katheryne has yet to warm up to this one. I expect she will, eventually, give me time, give me time. It appeared in an issue of National Lampoon, circa 1975 (according to Phil Foglio, “when it was funny”).2
To this day, I never see, smell, or hear about honey without muttering, “Bee poop.” I’ve told several acquaintances about the story of Bee Poop, and despite their better judgment, a couple of them have become my friends. I especially like the term coop for hive. But the best bit is, of course, “But he doesn’t overcharge them—he sells the bee poop to YOU!”
1The scene: a typical evening in Chez Freeque.
Fat Freddy: We’re totally, completely out of dope!
Freewheelin’ Franklin: And there’s none for sale at any price!
Phineas: All this money… (sob!) Worthless!
Franklin: The time has finally come to unearth the dreaded Surprise Stash!
Phineas: You mean the leftover stuff that no one would ever take, for some reason or another!
Freddy: What do we have?
Franklin: Three caps of something!
Franklin: This looks like acid! I’ll take it!
Freddy [just as Franklin pops the acid]: …Say, that kind of looks like that batch of bad acid that caused all those people to freak out!
Phineas: This tastes like mescaline! I’ll take it!
Freddy [just as Phineas gulps down the mesc]: …Say, you don’t suppose that was part of that bad batch of mescaline that gave all those people strychnine poisoning, do you?
Franklin: Well, there’s one big fat cap left for you, Fat Freddie!
Phineas: (It’s green and purple!)
Franklin: [trotting down the street] Aw, naw, I ain’t gonna risk my health on some dangerous unknown drug! I’m gonna go drink beer at the corner bar! Shoot some pool!
Franklin [to bartender]: Gimme a beer!
Franklin [checking out the jukebox, while Dick Tracy, Popeye and Daddy Warbucks watch TV at the bar]: (Wow, I gotta hear some music!) (Johnny Cash?) (Elvis Presley?) (I wonder what Dean Martin sounds like?)
Dick Tracy [watching TV, which says “Drink MORE BEER”]: Hey, shut that damn thing off! We’re watchin’ the World Series!
TV [as Fat Freddy racks up the pool balls]: The bases are loaded with two outs in the last of the ninth inning with the score three to nothing!
TV [as Fat Freddy winds up and breaks, pool balls flying everywhere]: …the center fielder is going back to the fence…he jumps…
The 13 ball shatters the TV screen, with a Pop! Sputter! Crackle!
Fat Freddy returns to Chez Freeque. He looks terrible: bruised, disheveled, and obviously freshly beaten up by irate baseball fans. Franklin and Phineas are well into their respective trips. Franklin has five eyes, and his right size is zigzagged, depriving him of his right arm. Phineas is staring at Freddy, open-mouthed, and he has three pupils in his visible eye.
Franklin: Pick up on the health freak!
Freddy: Hey, gimme that cap! Maybe it’s codeine! (Moan! Groan!)
2Roving reporter Cub Calloway is walking with an acquaintance, Eddie the Health Food Hippy.
Cub: [Thinks] There hadn’t been a murder for over twelve hours…the town was dead! No news…I was killing time with Mad Dog Eddie, champion copy boy…
Cub: It’s cold today…I need a cup of coffee…
Eddie: Come on up to my place…
Cub: I didn’t know you health food fascists used coffee…
Eddie: A drug is a drug is a drug…besides, I’m in the news biz now…
Cub: …Got any sugar?
Eddie: Sugar is bad! Evil! Ugly!!
Cub: …And just what am I going to sweeten up this caffeine with?
Eddie: It’s good for you…
Cub [staring into his cup] Bee poop…
Eddie: What? What do you mean, “bee poop”?
Cub: Your mother never told you about bee poop?
Cub: …How the bees go around from flower to flower gathering pollen…
Cub: …And then they all fly back to their bee coop and have a big feast…and they eat so much they get the Green Apple Quickstep…and it’s a mess!!
Cub: …And when the bee trainer sees the bee poop oozing out of the coop, he comes up to clean it up…but he has to wear a mask…
Cub: ..because all the bees think he’s a plumber and he’s going to overcharge them…so they try to sting him…. But he doesn’t overcharge them…he sells the bee poop to you!!
Eddie: That is certainly an amazing story…and before you tell another one, the sugar is in the cupboard…
Cub: Thank you.
Eddie: Yer welcome…