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January 3, 2008

Taking the Fifth

Putting aside the fact that Les doesn’t seem to know what “taking the fifth means” means (it’s not as if he ever knew any lawyers, after all), isn’t whether or not Funky and Holly were there something Funky would already know?

(assuming Funky’s still on the wagon)

And I’m assuming “I wasn’t drinking” is a direct response to “taking the fifth,” referring to “a fifth of scotch” or somesuch. Which, see, Summer wasn’t drinking.

Personally — and let me know if I’m alone here — whether Funky and Holly would be chaperoning the party is something I’d be asking about before allowing my 16-year-old to attend.


  1. Funky has become the Gasoline Alley of our generation. the only difference is that Batiuk kills off characters and does the time warp dance every decade or so

    But I cann’t stop reading it

    Comment by Peterk — January 3, 2008 @ 10:59 am

  2. I don’t think I would have come up with taking the fifth as a reference to alcohol, but then again, I’m not a fan of scotch… In response to allowing the kids to attend a party, honestly here, she’s being way more honest than a lot of kids would be, and much more mature when she says “you and funky are friends, and I don’t want to get cory in trouble.” So, while yes, checking for parents beforehand is a good idea, he does have a daughter that seems to be able to handle herself.

    Comment by Tim H — January 3, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  3. “Isn’t whether or not Funky and Holly were there something Funky would already know?”

    “Personally … whether Funky and Holly would be chaperoning the party is something I’d be asking about BEFORE allowing my 16-year-old to attend.”
    Hence, the proper use of “pleading the fifth” as Les playfully pierces what could be thought of as Summer’s screen of protecting others.

    I totally understand why people aren’t looking for deeper humor in Les anymore. (Yes, I know he isn’t smiling and I could be wrong; I just find that my interpretation makes ME smile.)

    Comment by Kevin Andresen — January 3, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  4. Kevin, you’re saying Funky wouldn’t know whether he’d been present at the party??

    Comment by Cidu Bill — January 3, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  5. oops, I meant to write “taking” the fifth, the proper quote, not “pleading”.
    I’m not sure where the phrase “taking the fifth” comes from but it sure worked for the author here.

    Comment by Kevin Andresen — January 3, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  6. Funky: “Party? what party? there was a party?”
    is what I’m thinking. (sorry, I could have made that clearer.)

    Comment by Kevin Andresen — January 3, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  7. Summer doesn’t want to discuss the party with Les at all, so as not to put Les in the position of either lying to his friend Funky or getting her friend Cory into trouble. But of course her crucial mistake is that her statement leaves no doubt that Cory would be in trouble if Funky did know what happened at the party. And her statement that she wasn’t drinking kinda implies that other people were. And yesterday she said that the party was reaching a “critical mess” as she was leaving, so the jig is kinda up anyway, huh?

    As for whether Les should/would know in advance whether the parents were going to oversee the party… isn’t this the same guy who was insisting on riding along and personally chaperoning Summer’s first car date a week or 2 ago? So for her second date he lets her stay out late at a New Year’s Eve party – probably one of the top 3 DUI nights of the year – and doesn’t even check about a chaperone or have her call and check in with him? Sometimes a parent should buckle down and be a parent, ya know?

    Comment by L.B. Wylie — January 3, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  8. I don’t follow the strip so I can’t explain the plot points, but I found the last panel’s wordplay on the word “fifth” to be pretty humorous.

    Comment by Pinny — January 3, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  9. I take it Les is implying that Summer is declining to answer to avoid trouble for herself, as well as Cory. I’m not American, but I know that “taking the fifth” is long-established US vernacular for claiming protection under that amendment. Is it so long-established as to be obsolescent?

    A liquor bottle nominally containing a fifth of a US gallon is called a “twenty-sixer” in Canada, so the pun doesn’t work here. I understand the legal size is now 750 ml on both sides of the border.

    Certainly Les should have phoned Funky or Holly before allowing Summer to attend. Why are today’s parents terrified of their kids?

    Comment by Ooten Aboot — January 3, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  10. Is it any wonder Les is afraid of Summer? He’s probably still in agony from the high-five she gave him Sunday.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — January 3, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  11. “Putting aside the fact that Les doesn’t seem to know what “taking the fifth means” means (it’s not as if he ever knew any lawyers, after all)”

    Obviously Les understands what “taking the fifth” means – he brought it up in the legal context. And even though the joke is funny (and one I’d make to my children), I doubt Summer would KNOW what a fifth is – as #9 above says, it’s not a usual measure of alcohol any more. (I’d have to explain my joke to my children, after which they’d tell me I’m getting old.)

    Comment by dan v — January 4, 2008 @ 2:10 am

  12. Just because you know it’s a legal concept doesn’t mean you understand what it means — though Les SHOULD know it refers to the right against self-incrimination.

    And just for the record, your 16-year-old child doesn’t even remotely have the right to refuse to answer a question on the grounds that it would incriminate her. Not in anything resembling the real universe. I don’t know a single parent who wouldn’t say “You’re taking the fifth, huh? Very cute. Now answer the question or you’re grounded until next New Year’s Eve.”

    Comment by Cidu Bill — January 4, 2008 @ 2:23 am

  13. Here’s an alternate possiblity. The party was a dud and rather than just say that, say you won’t talk about it, add a wink and though nobody can ever say that you said it, you leave dear old overly anxious and ready to belive the worst dad with the impression that it was wild beyound his imagination. She could just be winding him up. Something that would be so easy to do it isn’t even sporting. Not that “I” or anybody that “I know” would do such a thing.

    Comment by Lola — January 4, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  14. OK, so now that I’ve seen the newest strip posted, this scenario doesn’t work….but it could have!

    Comment by Lola — January 4, 2008 @ 10:00 am

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