2808: Daytime Firefly
Title text: Mr. Jones, watch out for Ms. Lenhart! She's from genus Photuris!
Some things are associated with being seen so much in a given context that it can be surprising to see them anywhere else. This comic starts with the initially trivial incident of a famously night-time outdoor insect, a firefly, being discovered indoors and during the day.
This quickly becomes another typical observation, that of the experience of a schoolchild seeing someone, whom they normally only encounter in the classroom, 'in the real world'. This may not be strange in small, close-knit communities, but can still be seen as extraordinary, and is sometimes an event that happens after the child (and/or teacher) has left the school, after several years have passed, and is a sign that they are now more equal citizens rather than tutor and student with vastly different non-overlapping lives outside of education.
Unlike fireflies, teachers, or indeed humans, generally do not bioluminesce, or flit around in the open air. But that scenario is where the analogy quickly turns, imagining Mr Jones (named as the teacher concerned) behaving like such an insect. Such an encounter would be at least as awkward as bumping into them in a semi-social situation, and the conversation you'd be having could be terribly stilted.
The idea of an outdoor, night-time encounter often involving the deliberate flashing of lights could also bring to mind another activity where car lights can be used to signal participation, with perhaps a not too dissimilar motive to that of fireflies in the mating flights, in which it might indeed be... 'awkward'... for students and teachers to unexpectedly encounter each other.
The title text continues the conversation with some sage advice, to the firefly-teacher, to avoid Miss Lenhart (presumably, but here with the honorific of Ms.), another teacher of their acquaintance whom they believe to belong to an aggressively mimicking genus of predatory firefly, and thus a potential danger to his existence. The females of those species are known to copy the blinking mating patterns of other firefly species in order to lure the males of those species with the promise of mating but with the true sole intent of eating them. The speaker is clearly concerned that Mr. Jones, while acting out the life of a firefly, will be fooled by Ms. Lenhart's firefly persona and then consumed.
- [Cueball is pointing at a flying insect to the right. Megan is walking towards it.]
- Cueball: There's a bug in here.
- Megan: Oh, it's a firefly!
- Cueball: Wait, really?
- Megan: Yeah! I dunno which species. I'll let it out.
- [Cueball is standing to the left. Megan has caught the firefly between her hands.]
- Cueball: ...I guess it makes sense fireflies have to go somewhere during the day.
- Cueball: I had just never thought about it.
- [Megan is walking to the left while holding the firefly. Cueball is standing to the right.]
- Cueball: It's like seeing your teacher at the store.
- Cueball: "Oh, weird, you exist in other contexts, too."
- [Megan standing on a grass field has released the firefly.]
- Megan: Or when you see your teacher hovering over a field at night giving off flashes of light.
- Cueball (off-panel): Yeah, also weird.
- Cueball (off-panel): "Sorry Mr. Jones! Uh, have...fun? See you Monday."
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