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)

Ah, I was wondering about the third panel, and it seems reasonable to do this, at least to me it does. Also, since you asked about other countries: In the Netherlands hospitals are free when you've got health care, which you have to, so it's free.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoris

Honestly, the punchline in panel 3 was awesome. I loved the break-the-fourth-wall thing that you never do.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Scott is the bar that is set for women's rights.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Warlock

The third panel broke the fourth wall? Huh... I automatically read into it my own interpretation: character-Scott was making a joke about how you can't talk about hospital bills without getting embroiled in some political debate.

Which is what author-Scott was saying in a serious manner... I guess that works out. The explanation doesn't hurt anything, but I thought the comic worked well on its own.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Wouldn't a guys' ER/Spa have to be a sporting event, with guaranteed 90% mortality? And no politics, of course ... that'd put it up to 100%.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

@Leon, DAMNIT now I'm seeing that, too!

@Henry, one word (or two, I don't know), cleanup (or clean up).

@Scott, I assume those EMT's would also be licenses masseuses? Like EMT training...

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Probably because running a strip club has to be a lot less enjoyable than patronizing one.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSock Puppet

Well played explanation, and great comic.

You could link to this BI and explanation (below the instructions) as a reminder any time things get out of hand.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

I love panel four. I feel your pain. Sadly, lucrativeness is usually the hallmark of businesses I do not want to be in, either.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz G.

panel four - last line - story of my life

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Basic Instructions a "no bickering" zone? Isn't 4 panels of bickering the very essence of Basic Instructions?

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMurr

Why on Earth wouldn't someone want to be running the business where an ambulance arrives and 2 EMTs strap a guy to a gurney as one of them shouts "this man is under STRESS! We need to get him to a strip club, STAT!" and the other says "I'll start the tequila IV..."?!?!

I can think of no prouder legacy...! (Well, cartoonist, maybe... ;)

Of course the siren is blaring _The Stripper_... <G>

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlie

That...might actually work as a business model.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCdub

Ha, Meyer’s trying to dodge controversy. Wuss!

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Thank you for leaving politics out of your strip (and this site). Although I am a "politics junkie," I come here to laugh and forget about it for a bit.

the other day, I (re)saw the How to win at Risk strip. When I got to panel 3's poke at the "Bush Doctrine," I thought "oh no, here we go." But panel 4's poke at the "Clinton Doctrine" balanced it out and made it all good.

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermstrange

Also, I would imagine a 'Man's Spa' would be one with comfy seats, video games/table top games in abundance and food & beer of the most exquisite and tasty kind...
Well, my perfect spa would be like that... Mmmmmm...

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLars Panzerbjørn

I guess the only thing left to not talk about is religion. All hail His Lordship, The Flying Spaghetti Monster! I've been touched by His Noodley Appendage!

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheMortallyWounded

Alex, no county on earth has free health care.

You simply have a different method of payment.

You pay a doctor directly, you pay a doctor and an insurance company, or you are taxed by a government.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody pays.

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I liked dave's post the best...

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzerausener

@Me: Thank you!
After reading several euro-commenters referring to their "free" health care, this was my thought too. The providers (doctors, nurses, etc) must feed their families as well, so they are not performing this service "sans compensation".
Out of pocket costs matter. But so do waiting times, quality, and certainly the decision-making ability as well. From what little I know of euro/scandinavian-care, these items can often be lacking, and the overall tax rates definitely outstrip (oops, accidentally made a relevant reference!) the ones on this side of the pond. Jus' sayin'. ;-)

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMyself

I've never seen a thread with so many people actively discussing NOT discussing politics. Or anything else, for that matter.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M

loved the third panel and like one of the other comments, I thought it was a joke in and of itself. Health care is already such a joke i thought that was a very funny way for the character to avoid talking about the bill.

About running a strip club - I bartended at a couple of places for over four years total. It's no fun to be in the business. It's rather sad and depressing really. Most of the women that work there are messed up psychologically, abused in some fashion and take a lot of drugs (both legally and illegally). The customers are horrid. Friday and Saturday nights were better because then the crowd usually had a lot of drunk college kids blowing off steam and spending money. But the rest of the time the "patrons" were older nasty men who liked to pay some youngish girl to act out a fantasy for them (this usually being - "You're so successful and sexy" ).

It's not a business you want to be in if you want to keep any illusions about humans.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeth

Kudos to Scott for this policy.
I come here to laugh because of his creative skill.
I go to CNN/Fox readers posts to laugh at stupid political comments.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNH Brit

Ha, Meyer’s trying to dodge controversy over his dodging of controversy. Double Wuss!

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat

As a person from a country that adopted free universal healthcare 30 years before I was born I guess jokes about doctors being expensive don't make much sense to me and certainly don't seem old. I just thought I'd let you know I have a differing perspective.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThomas David Baker

From reading old fiction (Austin, Twain) it seems that while doctors were usually respected members of the community, they were often quite impoverished. So maybe health care wasn't always expensive, esp. when it was pretty pointless/harmful.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeric

Isn't "fourth wall" a reference to stage plays, set in 3 dimensional space? In this case, I'd suggest you're breaking the third wall.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertunlaw

Panel 3 was not lost on me, and I thought it was clever.

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStevieB

The Bill? Just high enough to cause repeat business due to stress, and just low enough to encourage repeat business because of its affordability.
Meh. I took a shot, if belatedly. :-)

October 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Toddman
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