For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston for October 19, 2020


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    capricorn9th  5 months ago

    Your folks are right. Let them think you’re wearing the retainer as braces and not as a method to stop thumb-sucking. Just say, "Yeah. I gotta wear retainer so I hope it’ll straighten my teeth so I don’t have to have full braces later. My dad is a dentist, ya know. "

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    howtheduck  5 months ago

    Oh, now John gives Elizabeth a choice? She already said, “NO!” and it was because of that “NO!” he drove her in the middle of the night to his office to put them in against her will. This guy is certainly singing a different tune with Elly there. “Oh, you have a choice, Elizabeth. If you wear these, you won’t have to wear braces.” Don’t believe him, Elizabeth.

    This is a running theme with John. It’s like when he told Michael that if he got a summer job he wouldn’t have to go to the farm. We all knew that no matter what Michael did, he was going to the farm. John gives choices to his kids that are not really choices.

    By the way, this is excellent writing on the part of Lynn Johnston. Parents pull this nonsense with their kids all the time. Poor Elly has to support John’s decision to put the appliance in Elizabeth’s mouth, even if in private she is angry at John for doing it and doing it the way he did it.

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    Trilobyte Premium Member 5 months ago

    There are natural non toxic chemical products to deter thumb sucking. An appliance which potentially causes feelings of shame seems to be a much less desirable option. A dentist selling services may prefer the appliance for economic reasons though. Maybe even be truly convinced enough to subject his own family to this treatment…

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    cracker65  5 months ago

    Choices choices.

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    albertonencioni  5 months ago

    HOLY COW! But WHY “deter” thumb sucking? To increase the sales of plastic pacifiers? To assess authority and parental power? To grab a good chance of being the usual adult PITA?

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    Grace Premium Member 5 months ago

    Jeez I’m glad my father wasn’t a dentist.

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    basspro  5 months ago


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    vaughnrl2003 Premium Member 5 months ago

    Sorry kid. It sucks to be a kid. …“sucks”. Ha …sorry

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    Lisa Marie Chamberlain  5 months ago

    I used to wear glued braces its not fun I couldn’t eat popcorn or gum

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    bobblumenfeld  5 months ago

    I can just see Lynn sitting at her drawing board, holding one lip or putting something in her mouth, trying to figure out just how Liz should lisp (Lizp?).

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    rmercer Premium Member 5 months ago

    Surely there is a better term than “wearing an appliance”?! “What would you prefer dear, a dishwasher or a refrigerator?”

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    summerdog  5 months ago

    I’m bothered by this whole line. Liz’s pain and embarrassment, Mom and dad’s hard line about this “thing” they forced on their daughter. If it was me, I would remember it all my life, and it would NOT be a loving memory about my parents. These are my thoughts…you may have a different perspective.

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    dv1093  5 months ago

    I’m with Liz on this one. Get that da#m thing outta my mouth!

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    SukieCrandall Premium Member 5 months ago

    Oh, for gosh sakes! Before doing something so extreme why not see if using a bitter tasting spray or cotton gloves (or both) on her hands works?

    It is one thing when something is truly needed, like the high top orthopedic shoes which kept me out of braces, but social interactions are very important for kids.

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    flagmichael  5 months ago

    Our daughter sucked two of her fingers until she was 8 or 9. It didn’t do anything obvious to her teeth (but she needed braces anyway when she was 16). Instead the last knuckles of those two fingers were bent backward. We offered her tabasco sauce and some bitter thing made for the purpose and after a couple of months the finger sucking was done. Expecting quick results in breaking any ingrained habit is a mistake.

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    alicejo  5 months ago

    I don’t get it, if she sucks her thumb at night, why wear the “appliance” to school?

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    Cincoflex  5 months ago

    So when you give up one habit, you should have something to replace it; makes the transition easier. What will Elizabeth do to help her fall asleep?

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    Ozlander  5 months ago

    Yep, have her learn to be a liar.

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    JaneMetternichCarlson  5 months ago

    My dad, a dentist ,did this very same thing to me in approx 1956. It hurt,was humiliating, and made me feel like a failure. Loved Dad,but my thumb never recovered…and I started picking at my thumb, instead. Today, at 68, I have a deformed thumbnail on my right hand.

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    ajakimber425  5 months ago

    No, it isn’t! And there’s a lot of things you can’t eat or you’ll break bracket! Especially, candy and pop. Mainly, because of the sugar. Unless, it’s diet or sugar free. Which somethings don’t taste good without.

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    Johnnyrico  5 months ago


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    sparklite  5 months ago

    Hmmmm. “With” comes up “wif,” but she can say “mouth.” I’d expect “mouf.” A cartoonist’s life is a hard life.

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    JD'Huntsville'AL  5 months ago

    So THIS is what he put in her mouth?

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    ktrabbit33  5 months ago

    This arc really bothers me. Liz’s thoughts and feelings should have been considered before her father’s just making a decision to “implant” a foreign object in her body. She should have been given EVERY chance to try to resolve the problem ON HER OWN. Gum doesn’t count.

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    MykiTsuch  5 months ago

    It all seems a bit extreme for something she’d already outgrown once. Why not just put a mitten on her thumb? Or Wasabi.

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    USN1977  5 months ago

    Isn’t this contraption going to make it hard for her to eat? One can imagine that there will now be two messy eaters at the Patterson home; three if you include April!

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    gigagrouch  5 months ago

    No, sweetie, you do not want braces!

    (Don’t ask me how i know)

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    summerdog  5 months ago

    I’ve taken the time to Google today. Using a device like Liz now has, is usually done only after trying other ways to break the habit. And, there are many ways and things to use that are less invasive. There are pictures of the damage to the mouth and teeth from sucking the thumb. There are items to buy to try and stop the habit. There are pictures of the types of “appliances” the dentists use, that look like tiny little torture devices from Medieval times. If you have some spare time, it’s an interesting search just to learn more about this hot topic.

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