17 Comments

  1. His wife’s still angry at him for stiffing the waitress?

    I really can’t get anything from facial expressions in this strip.

  2. The joke is just that when they ask you if you have anything to “declare” at customs, they’re asking about goods that you’re transporting, but this guy has a different interpretation of “declare.”

    Dunno why the wife looks so angry, I think that’s just a distracting detail.

  3. I’d say she’s thinking “Stop it, you idiot, or they’ll never let us through!” Nothing to declare gets you through quickly.

  4. Heh. I***t is apparently a moderatable word. At least I assume that’s the one it’s objecting to…

  5. I think the wife is simply furious at her husband’s stupidity.
    P.S. Perhaps he should have confessed to dropping an anvil on his thumbs.

  6. There could be something slightly more subtle going on here, unbelievably. We think of “Customs” as a government border post for the checking of contraband items and duty payable goods and so on. But by stiffing a waitress our anti-hero has broken a cultural Custom and is declaring it at the Confession cubicle for breaking social mores. But probably – given the uniform and the luggage – the cartoonist wasn’t particularly going for that interpretation. (His wife is just angry at him for wasting time here, I think, whether or not she was also angry at him for stiffing a waitress a couple of days prior).

  7. The specific declaration here is new (to me), but the structure of the joke is ancient. I’m sure I’ve seen versions of this from the early days of TV, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it had been done in radio, too.

  8. @ DemetriosX – One of the better (recent) versions is in the movie “Wreck It Ralph“: when the official “surge protector” asks Ralph whether he has anything to declare, Ralph replies “I hate you!”, to which the response is “I get that a lot.”

  9. I figured out the joke but thought it was a woman doing the declaring, and the woman behind was just another passenger getting angry at having her time wasted in line.

  10. I think it all makes sense if the cartoonist made a mistake, i.e., Customs catches contraband.

    When you think of it that way, their nerves are not only understandable, but it explains the weird eyes and shake lines. Because they’re consuming product, too.

  11. I think it all makes sense if the cartoonist made a mistake, i.e., Customs catches contraband.

    When you think of it that way, their nerves are not only understandable, but it explains the weird eyes and shake lines. Because they’re consuming product, too.

  12. “I have nothing to declare but my genius.” — Oscar Wilde

    The joke is more than 100 years old.

  13. The joke can still be funny if you add a new cadence or context to it (as in Ralph Breaks the Internet). But to watch it so averagely presented and compounded with the truly painful art of Close to Home this really felt like a bowling bowl to the stomach. “Oh, god, is he really going to *that* joke and what is up with the thumbs; ack, my eyes!”

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