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October 13, 2007

Quarter ex Machina

I thought I was kidding about that.

Actually, Lisa having given Les that quarter years ago and his having had it around his neck all this time is all a lot more probable than Les finding a working pay phone in the lobby of this fleabag hotel (though I will say this: If this first first panel actually did appear years ago, I’m suitably impressed).

Bottom line, though, I can’t imagine anybody not being willing to accept a little deus ex machina for the sake of bringing Les’s New York Adventure to a quicker close.


  1. Since when does a pay phone work on just one quarter?

    Comment by Charlene — October 13, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  2. Awesome. He’s discarded a precious and irreplacable momento given to him by his newly-dead wife.

    Because he has apparently never heard of a collect call.

    This comic is so ridiculously stupid, it’s not even funny anymore.

    Comment by Brian — October 13, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  3. To answer both Charlene and Brian: A quarter will get you the operator and enable you to make the collect call, and quarter will be returned to you.

    Even if not, Lisa gave him the quarter as a talisman to get him out of a jam: This certainly qualifies.

    (Please note that none of this justifies any other aspect of the storyline)

    Comment by Cidu Bill — October 13, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  4. Doesn’t dialing “0” get you the operator and enable you to make a collect call?

    I’ve always wondered what you do if you lose your wallet while traveling. Even if you have your ticket, how do you get on the plane without photo I.D.? Maybe I’ll soon find out.

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — October 13, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  5. Long ago pay phones wouldn’t even give you a dial tone unless you put money in.

    Remember in 1983’s “War Games” when Matthew Broderick’s character is at the truck stop and the phone doesn’t work? He uses an old trick of shorting out the handset to the phone’s ground in order to trick it into giving him a dial tone. From there he makes a collect call.

    Comment by Steven Hunter — October 13, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  6. You don’t need money to call anyone collect.

    Dialing 0 + area code + number will make an automated collect call.
    Dialing just 0 will connect you to the operator, who can help you make a collect call.
    If you happen to remember those very irritating commercials with Carrot Top, you could dial 1-800-CALL-ATT to reach the AT&T collect service.

    In none of those cases do you have to deposit a coin. That would rather defeat the purpose of calling collect in the first place.

    Comment by Brian — October 14, 2007 @ 12:08 am

  7. Poetic license, people – poetic license! Yes, the lucky quarter is precious, and in the real world, he probably wouldn’t drop it in a pay phone – but this is a comic strip, and the author/artist is very limited, space-wise, and is going to use poetic license and its bastard cousin, the dreaded cliche.

    Just relax and enjoy the strip.

    Comment by O.B. Dan — October 14, 2007 @ 2:56 am

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