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F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
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Feb 7, 2011

Hate Mail! A History of Nonsense

On Super Bowl Sunday, while everyone else was enjoying the company of friends, family, and barbecue, someone was crafting an email.

But before I get to that, I have to take you back four years. In January of 2007, I received an email from a gentleman (we'll call him Norman) pointing out a discrepancy in this comic:
Norman said:
"If the guy has 75 cents and only three coins, the only possible combination would be three quarters. Therefore, all three coins in his hand should have at least to be the same size..."


I replied:

"Are you making the assumption that this is American currency they are dealing with?"

Norman- "Are you telling me that it's not?"


Tony- "Anything's possible! Plus there could be some smaller coins hidden beneath those larger visible coins in his hand. Or they could be small stones made of some valuable mineral, with a black market value totaling
75 cents. The sad thing is that we may never know the truth...
Thanks for reading F Minus!"


Norman- "If your editor made the same observation, would you give him the same line of B.S.?"

Tony- "I dunno, they don't usually make pointless observations... but yes, I guess I would!"

Norman- "I guess a "pointless" observation is only fitting, given the equally pointless
nature of your strip."

At this point, the conversation ended. I can't remember why I didn't reply again, or why I neglected to post this exchange for you to read.


It doesn't really matter, because I got a reminder on Super Bowl Sunday, 2011. This email refers to this comic from a few days earlier: "I've let a lot of your strips pass by without comment since pointing out how the coins in a character's hand, based upon relative sizes, did not conform to the aggregate amount that was supposed to be represented thereby. (Your response to this was pretty dismissive, so I'm not expecting much more in ths case.) However, Your panel of January 31st, while very funny on its face, contains yet another jarring inconguity that detracted from the intended humorous effect.
The panel plays off the fact that the word "dolly" has multiple definitions, one of which is a girl's plaything and another is a piece of hardware most typically employed by movers. The problem is that the hardware pictured in the panel isn't a "dolly," but a "hand truck."
But I don't blame you exclusively (now or previously), because I know that cartoonists also work with editors, who, in my opinion, bear the greater responsibility for ensuring some measure of accuracy or verisimiltude (where appropriate). So feel free to forward this to him or her."


I set down my potato salad and registered my reply:
"Good to hear from you again, Norman. First of all, please do not hesitate to point out any incongruity you come across in my comic. I value your input. As to the matter at hand, it's true, the hardware pictured is most commonly known as a hand truck. However, it is known by several other terms, including dolly, two wheeler, stack truck, trolley, trolley truck, sack barrow, sack truck, tea-bagger, bag barrow, dung porter, goat roller, and a "poopsie". These terms vary based on region and time period. For instance, "poopsie" is a seventeenth century term.
Clearly the character in this comic is from a region and era in which referring to this tool as a dolly is common. It is likely the daughter learned this from her father. I'm not sure where the father learned it. To be honest, I haven't developed the character enough to be certain, but I'm thinking he may have got it from his uncle.
Incidentally, I did forward your email to my editors, per your instructions, and they asked that I let you know that you misspelled "incongruity", "verisimilitude", and "this". Don't feel bad, this is what they do.
Stay vigilant,
-Tony Carrillo"

This morning he wrote back:
"Clearly, you have WAY too much free time!"

No arguments there, Norman.

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18 comments:

Eric Olsen said...

I LOVE that this guy has been sitting back for 4 years waiting for his shining return!

Anonymous said...

I call it a dolly, and that was hilarious. Keep up the good work, your comic strip always makes me laugh.

Heather M said...

You need to respond one last time and say, "Touche, Norman, touche!"

Anonymous said...

Norman clearly has no sense of humor, Tony. Best to just leave him be. He's gonna make you squirrely otherwise.
Btw, that bit about the email? Yep. I actually got a chain letter on Super Bowl Sunday! Who takes time to do that on that day?? Yeesh!
- Jenn (hiding out in Cali)

Kristin said...

YOU have way too much free time? Who is writing pedantic emails to cartoonists again?

Lucky said...

"Clearly, you have WAY too much free time!"

Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot. You are both black.

Tony - you come up with the most awesomest replies to "hate mail". Please continue to reply and also to post said replies.

By the way - I've always called that piece of hardware a dolly.

Anonymous said...

yes

Jake Lunemann said...

This guy would probably correct his own grandmother on her personal memories of the great depression.

Lydia said...

Your "hate mail" responses make my life complete. Thank you.

Morrigan said...

I want you to make a Hate Mail book .... nothing entertains me more than these Crazies!!! And he says YOU have too much time on your hands ..... Raise your hand the last time you emailed a cartoonist about incongruencies .....

Anonymous said...

Obviously a jealous old boyfriend of the wife.

PipeTobacco said...

Tony:

You handled Norman beautifully!

As always, I think "F - minus" is the best comic out there!

PipeTobacco
http://frumpyprofessor.blogspot.com

Renny said...

Ahahahaha.

I have been secretly stalking your blog for awhile.

Seriously, why do some people even READ comics if they're going to get so antsy over something that DOESN'T MATTER at all.

I love all of your email responses to hate mail. You made me laugh out loud here at work (first the comic did, then your response to his insipid email did), which made everyone think I was weird, which made my morning significantly more awesome.

Thank you.

Please pass my thanks on to Norman as well.

Clay said...

At least he didn't give your comic with an F-Minus.

By the way, I love all of your comics and the "dolly" one is no exception.

tony alma works said...

your respond to hate mail is too funny. do we sense a site for just your hate mail and responds? one could hope so. keep up the great work...

Generic Dave said...

Classic Carrillo! So good.

Jeff said...

It still is my #1 Comic. I have mine From July 27th '09 posted in our Weather office.

sack barrow said...

Hate mails are funny