Spread The F Word

F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
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Aug 24, 2011

Love F Minus Style

Several weeks ago I got an email from a guy named Kevin:

"Hello Tony,

The Butter Up:
Everyday my girlfriend, Cierra, and I read aloud the comics in the Sacramento Bee. We've progressed to the point where each character has a specific voice. Specific enough that we know which strip the other is reading without being told. And loud enough that our neighbors probably hate us. Each day she says to me, "F Minus is my favorite one!" She loves your humor and she loves how short each strip is. She might even stop reading the paper if they nixed your strip. (Unconfirmed. Study pending)

The Point:
I'm going to ask her to marry me. I was wondering if it would be possible to have one strip in one days paper be the proposal. Something simple like your strips already are and something funny. Before you ask, no, I don't have any idea what I want. This is really just me wondering if it's possible. If you decide to respond to this email then all I'm really asking is this: Would you be willing? And what would be the price?

The End:
Thank you very much for the daily entertainment. It's always a pleasure heading down the line of comics and seeing F Minus lined up for the next reading.

Sincerely, Kevin"


So I wrote back:

"OK Kevin, I'm in. But if we're going to do this, we're going to do it my way.

I have always wanted to say that.
First we need to have a serious talk before I can give my blessing. Marriage is a big step. I need to know you two are the real deal before I put the F Minus stamp of approval on the marriage certificate. (Yes, I had a stamp made at Staples) Are you going to stick it out in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for Baby Blues or For Better or For Worse? I'm going to need a synopsis of your relationship. Keep it succinct, I don't have all day.

By the way, are you sure she'll say yes? If not, that could be embarrassing. For both of us. The comic proposal is not entirely unlike the Jumbo-tron proposal at a sporting event, most of which start with a "yes" in front of the crowd, but end with a "No, how could you do this to me?" eight minutes later out by the Dippin' Dots stand. I just want to be sure she's going to dig this plan.
Let's assume you two are good for each other and you're at least 70% sure of a "yes" answer. I have only two more stipulations. The comic has to be funny (or at least make sense) to anyone uninvolved in the proposal. That means only you, me, Cierra, and possibly your paperboy should realize something is up. I don't want to knowingly publish a comic that will confuse my readers, even though I unintentionally confuse most of them every day. I didn't even use the comic to propose to my girlfriend. But that was because I wasn't sure if she read F Minus anymore.
Besides, I don't like it when comics break character to deliver a message, even if it's a good one. That's why when you see other comic strips making a coordinated effort to get you to care about the environment or something, F Minus never participates. It's not that I don't care about the environment, Kevin. No one cares about the environment more than me. No one.

Anyhoo, stipulation two (or four, or whatever) is that after all is said and done, you allow me to publish your story and our correspondence on the F Minus blog. Up until now I have used my blog mainly to share the hate mail I receive, and I think my readers have earned a positive story for once, don't you?
If this seems acceptable to you, then we can start brainstorming some ideas. Right now I have to go to bed because my wife is trying to sleep and I can tell my typing is annoying her. (sigh) Wives! Am I right?

Best,
Tony Carrillo"


Kevin wrote back and filled me in on their relationship:

"We met two weeks ago on World of Warcraft. We haven't officially met, but I know she's the one! OK, that was a lie, I'm sorry. Let me start with saying this: I love her. I have never loved anyone more. I have stopped watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Firefly for her. That's hard to do. Anyway, we've known each other for about five years. We met at work. I was into her, she...was not. We reconnected after a 3 year hiatus about a year ago and have been dating ever since. She's 23 and I'm 26. We aren't religious but we are waiting to get married before living together. Statistics and all that. We did the long-ish distance (3 hours away) relationship for 5 months and came out unbruised. We've never had a fight (yet), her family loves me and mine her, and she stuck around after seeing a three foot long Lego Star Destroyer reverently placed on my dresser.
That is also why I know she's in this for the long haul. If that doesn't send a girl running then nothing will. She is cheesy, tacky, intelligent and beautiful. And now, thanks to a little help from me, a raging nerd. She will say yes, of that I am 100% certain. Otherwise, all the engagement ring link's she's been sending me are very, very cruel.
I am completely on board with making the strip funny and not in the least bit confusing for those not in the loop. We can discuss how to make it obvious to her while leaving the unaware reader, well, unaware.
As for putting our story in your blog, I would be offended if you didn't! Well, not offended. Perhaps mildly put out for an hour or so. But yes, of course you may."


I was sold.

"Kevin, if there's one thing I support, it's nerd love. I'm in a nerdy relationship myself. Let's make this happen."

Kevin and I wrote back and forth a few times, hammering out the details. I sent him the comic ahead of time for approval:


He gave it the thumbs up, so I sent it in. When the big day came I waited to hear how it went. That night he contacted me:
"She said yes, of course! She also loved the comic, laughed out loud and everything!"

Success!

Congratulations to the happy couple! I wish them a long and happy life together, built on a solid foundation of offbeat single-panel cartoons. Check out the story about them today in the Sacramento Bee.

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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

This makes me happy. Partly because I'm a romantic, but mostly because I'm a nerd.

Anonymous said...

F Minus makes my day yet again.

zbicyclist said...

Yes, this was funny, even though I figured there was a real Cierra and Kevin. Mission Accomplished!

Eric Olsen said...

That is amazing.

The only reason I suspected there might be a real story behind it when it published was because of the unique spelling of "Cierra".

Loved hearing the full story. Kevin is hysterical. And you rock for doing it, Tony.

adora said...

Great job, Tony! You're the best! Nerd love made my day!
This is how I'd like to be proposed to. I'd even say that it's a deal breaker if the guy doesn't like F Minus!

Kevin said...

I have not been an avid reader as the other Kevin in your blog, but I remember this comic and thought there must be a story. A law school friend sent me your blog link today (totally random!) and I enjoyed the story and comic all over again! Congrats, good luck, and Enjoy!
- Kevin (the one at ASU Law)

Anonymous said...

I also assume you received a picture from him, because that really looks like him.

Anonymous said...

Love the story behind this comic. Kevin is a character. So is Cierra, for that matter, with her infectious laugh! Yep, we know them - we're not really anonymous - we're Kevin's parents. Thanks, Tony. It's been fun!

Anonymous said...

That is so cool. I think the best part, though, is the story in the Bee. It contains a slide show. I was totally expecting it to have a few pictures of the happy couple. Instead, it's a picture of the comic with them in the background, a picture of the comic so you can read it, and a picture of Tony. Short and sweet, that's how I like it!

toby said...

That is absolutely fantastic! Just perfect! Wow.

Anonymous said...

My name is Kevin too and I have to tell you that this comment caused a rather awkward incident with my math teacher... who just happens to be named Cierra. You two don't own those names, you know. Now I'm probably going to fail algebra.

tony alma works said...

what a great story. you're the man tony and as always very funny...

meridith said...

I love that there is a real story behind this comic! The name Cierra caught my eye yesterday and I remember thinking that it was an unusual name to pick (though I love the name and the spelling.) Best wishes and big hugs to Kevin and Cierra!

p.s. Tony rules.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that I am now an F Minus fan!!!Thank you so much for making this proposal something they can tell their grand kids.
Cierra's parents.

Antonio said...

What an Amazing story. I definitely
liked this more than the hate mail ones, but I love me some hate mail, they cracks me up.

Heathor said...

So cute! You did a good job making it a normal F Minus comic (in whatever way "normal" applies to your comic, anyway.)