How to Create a New Business

I feel like I need to address the punchline of panel three. Basic Instructions is not a political comic. I want Basic Instructions to be a place you can come to get away from petty partisan bickering. Lately, I’ve been writing occasional jokes about hospitals. There’s no reason for this. I haven’t been sick or anything. Those are just the ideas that have occurred to me.

I don’t know how it is in other countries. I’ve only ever lived in the United States. It seems to me that jokes about doctors and hospitals being expensive are as old as … jokes. Writing this comic, I felt that if I didn’t make some mention of the bill it would be more obvious for its absence. I picture readers thinking “Ha, Meyer’s trying to dodge controversy. Wuss!” On the other hand, any mention of health care costs seems to ignite a debate in my comments section. I want people to be able to speak freely in my comments section. I got into this racket because I like writing humor, not because I wanted to spend a lot of time censoring people’s comments. But, again, I want Basic Instructions to be a “no bickering” zone.

So, that’s how we get panel three. A non-sequitur that breaks the fourth wall. I hope it’s not too jarring. Thanks for your indulgence, and for using my Amazon Affiliate links  (USUKCanada).


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Reader Comments (69)

Actually, I think it's a wonderfully vague line that you could use anywhere. I'll be using it in the future: thanks!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGawain

Panel two completely got me. Nice work.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

OK, you made me post. I've been lurking for years and this is the first time I have been compelled to write something back. I hope you're happy with yourself.

Just wanted to let you know that this strip caused me to see a vision of you in a landspeeder, waving your hand and saying "These are not the politics you're looking for" to a couple of thugs.

Well done.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeon Jaworski

Forget panel 3, what about panel 4? Why wouldn't he want to be in the business of watching naked women?

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

And here was me thinking it was a reference to Bill Clinton... (but I'm Australian, medical bills are much less of an issue here - but don't start talking about waiting lists!)

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBern

Civilised countries have free public health care.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I can't really see "hospitals are expensive, man" as political humor, as long as you're not specifically mentioning Obamacare or other health plans.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterT Campbell

I have many health troubles, but would gladly laugh than bicker. Back problems being one of them. I am reminded of Sunday's comic. So I must apologize, sort of-- a bathtub, gallons of aloe vera, and a wetsuit sounds awesome to me. But for now I am very happy about the standing desk my father-in-law made me; very durable, but very inexpensively made.

Sometimes my comments seem more like "HULK SMASH!" than "Ha ha!" Apologies for that; I know a few comments of mine hit the censor fan. At the end of the day, however, I hope that most people would consider me harmless.

I'd like to be thought of more as a Rick than a Jenkins.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen

I used to follow your comics religiously but have since forgotten. Why do you not include dates in the image itself now?

You're always hillarious

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

"I don't want to get into that. I try to avoid political humor." It's the perfect non-sequitur response to give in any situation!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

About panel 3: I didn't get it until I read the text. Then again, I keep the American healthcare 'system' out of my mind for the most part. It just leads to too much headscratching and outrage.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonsensicles

I question whether a 2D work can have a fouth wall. I'll grant you can break the third wall, but not a fouth.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterarfnotz

I thought it was a sex joke, as in "we do facials and manicures and 'the Bill (Clinton)" but then again, I'm dirty like that.

Great strip anyways.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmarquez

I appreciate your desire to avoid partisan bickering. Bickering gets irritating.

I love the bit in the first panel where he says most men aren't as good at stressing out as he was - it was unexpected.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristina L

panel 3 = win

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

I actually really liked the punchline of panel 3.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Actually, that line made me laugh the most this comic. Breaking the fourth wall and still making me laugh instead of being annoyed at it. Good job.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWesley

Emergency room strip club - now there's a business plan!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdgar Cayce

Thanks for keeping the comic politics-free. Seriously. But yeah, Leon's landspeeder vision made it even better.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

Ha, Meyer’s trying to dodge controversy. Wuss

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdave

UK - theoretically medical care is free. In practice emergency medical is care is free, increasingly...... sorry

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

TBH from France the "bill" part is pretty cryptic. I know health care is a big topic in the US but I didn't realise it was so much in minds that speaking about a health bill would immediately raise controversy.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergrégory

@Henry: Think of the complications of providing health insurance to your employees, for one.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCzernobog

Think of the mess...

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

In place of the ellipses, did you mean to write "fart"?

The oldest documented joke is a fart joke: it's from almost four thousand years ago.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Why? Approval is more gratifying than titillation? YMMV.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveBro

I finally have an idea for my new business. Thanks!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJWeis

Scott, I feel your pai-- no, that's not the phrase I want to use. I empathize. I would love to have no political thoughts any more, because lately, they just fill me with despair. And whenever I enjoy the peace of not thinking about my political mortal enemies, I realize that that means that they are winning, pouring more abuse into the corpse of the Republic they've murdered. And the cycle of despair begins again. I think this comment won't pass moderation and it's okay if it doesn't. It's just frightening to think that a wealthy, powerful, determined bloc exists, dedicated to destroying a nation, and that there's nothing I can do to stop it.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

I love the idea of the strip club ER (that would really be a nice stress reliever) but I'm posting because I need your help. I can't decide who to vote for when I see both candidates as being almost equally flawed. I know you don't want to get into politics, but there has to be a way to provide basic instructions I can follow when I'm in the voting booth trying to decide who to vote for. Write that comic!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I did not think politics when I read the punchline to the third panel. It's funny because I didn't see it coming. I expected some reference to the bill not being relaxing and therefore generating more business. Your hand reached through the fourth wall and slapped some silly into me. Go job.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Henry, would you want to be in the business of watching other guys watching naked women?

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterResuna

As I began reading Missy's first line in panel 4 my brain predicted a golf joke was coming. I must be getting old. Especially since I don't golf.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

"jokes about doctors and hospitals being expensive are as old as … jokes"

I live in the UK. Jokes about doctors and hospitals being expensive are, to me, just a bit exotic. "Exotic", in the sense that mention of it takes me out of my reality and reminds me that despite the common language, I'm reading something from a very different, very foreign country. Like jokes about concealed handguns, or, y'know, freedom of speech.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Henry, the business itself isn't just watching women; it's exploiting women (and possibly men). He'd feel rotten about that.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

Why doesn't he want to be in that business? One, he's talking to his wife about it. A "HELL yeah" would be a mistake. Two, it's probably more a business about watching middle-aged men in suits to make sure they don't for instance actually touch the naked women, despite what I'm going to call all the encouragement.

If a business is fun to be in and lucrative, and reasonably easy to do, then it will fill up with people doing it, as a result of which it will be no longer lucrative. Acting seems to be rather like that; there are way too many actors around for all of the acting that society really needs to have done, and most of them spend a lot of time "resting" instead of taking the next role straight away, which, as you're probably already aware, is a super polite way to say that they didn't find a gig and they are unemployed.

So, for a business to be lucrative, it also has to be quite unpleasant to do, or, alternatively, illegal - which opens another alternative category of unpleasantness. Paying off cops is deeply sordid and offensive to a well-meaning entrepreneur. You'll also probably hate yourself for being a corrupt official. But at least it's lucrative!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

In a time when my FB wall is clogged with people's political posts, this is a really nice break. Plus, great comic. :)

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Possibly because he doesn't want to deal with the sort of men who need gyrating T&A as an emergency rejuvenating treatment... And the fact that the competition would be pretty stiff (no pun intended) from existing vendors...

The comment in panel 3 is a pretty clever way of getting around all that, and honestly I didn't notice that it was a dodge until you pointed it out in your notes.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTabbykitten13

"This man needs four DDs of boobs, STAT!"

A referral to hospital shows always saying, "...4 CCs of (blank), STAT!" And why do they always say, "STAT!"?

Stat is short for statim, which is Latin for "immediately". Although to my knowledge, a lot of hospitals have switched over to the much more commonplace "NOW!" ~Missy

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThatJeff

@Henry: here's a guess: maybe he doesn't want to be in that business because he's a gentleman and doesn't view women as objects.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeanette

Leon, your post kills me!!!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Nice Guy
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