Fan Mail

Let’s read a letter from Little Jenny in Wyoming. Jenny writes:

Dear Surly Robot: You stink! My mommy says that as an editor of a comic book Web site, you are one sorry robot. She says you’re supposed to be all surly, like your name, but you’re not. Sometimes you just pass along information. And sometimes you actually LIKE stuff! My mommy says all robots are stupid, like the one that replaced her on the plucking line at the turkey processing plant. I hope you get a computer virus that causes your insides to explode. Then my brother and I can use your head as a beehive. –Jenny

Dear Little Jenny: Get ready for a surprise. Using my special robot power of being able to hack any computer anywhere (an ability documented in every movie featuring robots), I just accessed NORAD control. You know those missile silos about 300 yards behind the back of your trailer? The warheads in those missiles are going to detonate on their launch pads in about 3 minutes.

Before that flash takes you away, let me bring you up to speed. What you and a lot of other Monday-morning brain surgeons don’t understand is that Surliness (as opposed to surliness) is a point-of-view, not an emotion. I can be melancholy, indifferent, or lyrical, and still be the Surly Robot. I can even be happy at times, and still be Surly with the big S.

A point-of-view means you’re predisposed to seeing things a certain way. In my case, I expect most of the comics I read to suck. And what do you know–they do!

But what about when a good comic comes along? Do I have to hate it in order to maintain my Surlitude? Of course not–that would be ridiculous. I’d have one knee-jerk reaction to everything–I’d be like those turkey-plucking machines at your mom’s old job. Worse, really, because no one expects them to have an informed opinion about anything. They’re just supposed to do the same thing, day after day, turkey after turkey.

Let’s try to keep this in mind, shall we? If you read an entry that you don’t think is surly, just wait a couple of days. Oops–I forgot, you don’t have a couple of days. Hang onto your Anorexia Nervosa Barbie, because the nuclear floorshow is about to start. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

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