23 Comments

  1. I assume she’s concerned he’ll forget the safety word because his memory’s not what it was.

    But writing it down won’t do any good if he doesn’t think to look. So my answer makes no sense.

  2. Unless Janis is fully restrained, she could also point to where the card is. Also, having the reminder token (the card) could, itself ensure he doesn’t forget it. I used to compete in public speaking contests. I’d always have a copy of my speech in my pocket. Never needed it, but I would not have been comfortable without it.

  3. I thought I knew something about Arlo and Janis’ sex life but I was never aware that they were up to anything that required a safeword.

  4. Is the concept of a safe word sufficiently mainstream now that general audiences would be expected to think of that explanation? Especially since there’s nothing in the comic to suggest anything sexy, let alone kinky.

  5. It’s probably a safe word thing, yes, though I’ll admit that didn’t occur to me.

    I was thinking of a scenario in which Arlo has a habit when half-awake of mumbling something which, when he has fully awakened, he has forgotten but has the feeling it’s the Secret of the Universe sort of thing. This time Janis wrote it down at the time to prove to Arlo that his universe only has silly secrets.

    Compare the legend of the origin of the “Hogamous, Higamous” jingle:
    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/03/28/hogamous/

    But on reflection, I’d have to go along with the ‘safe word’ explanation as more likely.

  6. The missus will write out the grocery list for her spouse, and my rule is, if it’s not on the list I don’t need to get it*. And, I am forgetful, so I read this a bit more innocently. And marshmallow sounds like a nice morning snack :^)

    * of course, if the list omits pickles, or cookies, or such, I can optionally pick up if I want them!

  7. As I got the story, the great man, could have been William James, wrote down the secret of the universe, which, upon inspection in the morning, turned out to be “The smell of petroleum pervades throughout”.

  8. Alternative:
    Arlo woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to remember some key aspect of a dream that contained a brilliant idea. He woke Janis up because the idea was so inconceivably brilliant. He pestered her for writing materials so he could preserve it. Then, in the light of day, they go back to see that it was… either nothing brilliant, or nothing memorable, or both.

    Yeah, weak. But I don’t buy the “safe word” explanation, either.

  9. @ CIDU Bill – … do they really look like they’re about to do anything that might require a safe word?
    Well, this is Arlo & Janice, and that is a bed, so the answer has to be “Yes!” – It doesn’t have to be anything “kinky”, perhaps they have a safe word just to allow Janice to say “No!” in the (apparently unlikely) event that she decides to do that.
    @ Berber – I would have bought the shopping list theory if the word had been listed as plural. It’s not like anyone ever buys (or eats) just one of them.

  10. My answer was tongue in cheek. Because they *really* don’t look like they were going to but the strip made no sense and Arlo and Janice has a reputation so it’d be funny my mind went there. But other than how they look mundane it made sense.

    Maybe it’s a meta-joke that even their S&M nights have become boring and middle-aged

    Or maybe it would have been pushing the censors too far to depict it.

    “Is the concept of a safe word sufficiently mainstream now that general audiences would be expected to think of that explanation?” Oh, good grief Yes! It’s exceeding mainstream. “Especially since there’s nothing in the comic to suggest anything sexy”. This is Arlo and Janice. That sex occurs regularly with nothing directly suggesting it is the universe.

    “Unless Janis is fully restrained, ” And if she is…. Of cousrse, having been reminded of the safe word simply saying “marshmallow” should trigger enough memory.

    ” It doesn’t have to be anything “kinky”, perhaps they have a safe word just to allow Janice to say “No!” ” In non-kinky context a safe-word that would allow Janice to say No, would be … “no”.

    “I was thinking of a scenario in which Arlo has a habit when half-awake of mumbling something” I like that explanation. In fact it might be more likely.

  11. There’s at least two of you having trouble remembering that Janis isn’t named “Janice”. I hate getting old, too.

    ” I would have bought the shopping list theory if the word had been listed as plural. It’s not like anyone ever buys (or eats) just one of them.”

    Except when it is. Marshmallow cream is both singular, and an item someone can buy (or eat). And even marshmallows can turn singular if you choose to buy, say, 1 bag.
    Finally, the wildly overused gag of “I dreamed I was eating a marshmallow, and when I woke up, my pillow was gone” is built around eating just one.
    After finally… and sometimes, “marshmallow” is a typo for “marshmallows”.
    (all YMMV).

  12. What I thought:

    Janis wrote down something as a reminder. Arlo’s ageing eyes read it as “Marshmallow.” He realises that this is unlikely. He comments that he hates getting old because it makes his eyes fail.

    It doesn’t matter what Janis actually wrote. It just wasn’t “Marshmallow.” The humour is in the absurdity of that particular word.

  13. I was thinking “marshmallow” as in “marshmallow creme”, which is something he likes to eat off of her, but he couldn’t remember the name, and now they’re out.

    I can’t imagine Arlo and Janis being the type to need a safe word. You need a safe word when you’re going to be saying things like “no” or “stop” when you don’t mean “no” or “stop”.

  14. I agree with Pete. That’s how I read it when I saw it, and was about to make a very similar comment until I got to his. Go Pete! I’m with you, man!

  15. I also agree with Pete, but mostly because it’s less unlikely (to me) than any of the other explanations. She’s sitting at her dresser, so she might have written down something like “mascara”.

    OTOH, this doesn’t seem to be enough of a joke to be worth all of the conclusion-jumping required to understand it, regardless of the intended meaning.

  16. But remember in NYS – Full size marshmallows are candy and subject to sales tax, but mini marshmallows are baking items and therefore a food item which is not candy and are not subject to sales tax.

    Accountant and former supermarket checker.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s