Sally and Ted in happier times.

So, yeah, I haven’t been writing much lately, but there’s a good reason for it: I am terribly worried about the Forths.

You see, I must read all the comics in the newspaper every day. I am compelled to do so, even though much of the time I hate myself for it (never more so than when I find my eyes drifting down to “Luann” even before reading the strips above it).

Generally speaking, you can count on certain things every morning. “For Better or Worse” will be unspooling some long, drawn-out plotline with interludes of glossy sentimentality. “Garfield” will still not be funny. Dagwood will eat enormous sandwiches all day and night and never gain a pound. (Maybe he works it all off satisfying Blondie’s voracious sexual appetite? You’d like to think so.) “Dennis the Menace” will be recycling a strip from 1949, assuming, correctly, that no one will ever notice.

Used to be you could count on one other thing: the title character of “Sally Forth” and her husband, Ted, would be gliding through life unruffled. Although their lives were banal and not without the occasional bit of unpleasantness — such as Sally’s difficulties with her incompetent boss, Ralph — they were invariably depicted with self-satisfied smirks that let you know there was nothing to worry about.

Lately, though, things have gone weird. Not long after his 40th birthday, Ted lost his job, and subsequently he’s sunk into a downward spiral from which he shows no sign of emerging. He has stopped shaving, given up looking for work, and — after alienating his daughter’s softball team with obsessive overcoaching — ceased leaving the house altogether.

Lately, Sally and Ted have been spending their time engaging in heavy conversations, and smirking little if at all. The other day Ted appeared to have a minor breakdown, muttering “You want to leave me, you want to leave me” and (in my mind, anyway) rocking back and forth like an autistic.

Where will it all end? Is murder/suicide out of the question? If not, will the carnage be limited to family, or will the softball team get it too? Will I wake up on Monday morning and find a forensics team searching the attic for Hilary’s body? It seems unlikely, but I just don’t know anymore.

By the way, did you know that our current Sally Forth was predated by a blonder, sexier character with the same name created by one Wally Wood? I only found out in the course of looking for images to accompany this post. By way of a palette cleanser, here’s a picture:

Don’t we all feel better now?