Peak Friend

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Today's Bobbins — another "peak X" sighting:

John Allison's "Bad Machinery — Volume II: The Case of the Good Boy" is now available for sale.

P.S. — for some relevant context, the previous strip was:


  1. Hugo said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 6:23 am

    Here's a "peak thumb drive":

  2. leoboiko said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 6:47 am

    It's interesting that they felt the need to use quotation marks around 'peak friend'—a plain "You're at peak friend." feels garden path-y.

  3. Randy Hudson said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 7:14 am

    The language mystery in this one for me is 'BORF'. Acronym? Alternative form of 'barf'?

    [(myl) I thought of it as an alternative form of "poof", with the difference in meaning appropriate for the ideophonic substitutions (for which note that this is a depiction of a non-rhotic variety, I think.]

  4. languagehat said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 7:57 am

    It doesn't sound at all like "poof," rhotic or non-. I wish someone would solve that mystery; Google tells me only that borf is "a graffiti campaign seen in and around Washington, D.C. during 2004 and 2005," which doesn't seem releveant.

    [(myl) Think of peep, beep, pop, bop, boop, bap, … Or the much more systematic ideophone patterns in Korean, Japanese, Yoruba, etc.]

  5. Abby said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 8:56 am

    I'd never heard BORF either, but here's a tech term from that works:
    borf definition
    To unceremoniously (sic) disconnect someone from a system without prior warning. BBS Sysops routinely "borf" pest users by turning off the modem or by hitting the "auto-borf" key sequence.
    You can also be "borfed" by software dropping carrier due to a bug.
    The origin of the term is unknown but it has been in use since at least 1982.

  6. Eurobrit said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 9:02 am

    Could this be be a reference to Boring Old Real Friends or something else from Boring Old Real Life?

  7. leoboiko said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 9:30 am

    I'm a regular reader of Allison's idiolect & I agree with myl's intuition of it being an onomatopœia/ideophone.

  8. J.W. Brewer said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

    Apparently some recent Bobbins strips are set in the late 1990's while others are set in the present day. I have no idea which category this falls into, although I suppose it would be interesting if the writer thought the "peak X" snowclone fit cromulently into the earlier time period. The geographical setting is apparently supposed to be West Yorkshire, and "go off to college" strikes me as an Americanism (in BrEng one typically goes to "university"), but maybe that's a regionalism? Or for all I know this character's backstory explains why she might speak with Americanisms.

  9. Greg said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

    I'm a British English speaker, born in Liverpool. I think BORF here is the character's pronunciation of "barf"; she's talking to a fourteen-year-old so she's going with the early-teen thing of how yucky love is.
    Also, going off to college isn't (for me) an Americanism, though assuming that college meant university definitely would be. There are technical colleges, sixth-form colleges and colleges of Higher Education in Britain, all of which are referenced for me by that phrase.

  10. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

    Certainly, Brits only say 'university' when the institution actually has 'University' in its name, though nowadays an increasing number of institutions do. (Indeed, while we certainly have sixth-form colleges and technical colleges, all the former colleges of higher education seem to be turning into universities.) If it is called a College, people call it a college.

    Still, the language here does sound American to me; first because 'you go off to college' implies it's something you leave home for, which wouldn't fit sixth-form college, the primary meaning for a lot of people; and secondly because it's an impersonal 'you', with a suggestion of 'this is a stage in life which everyone goes through', which wouldn't fit the British use of the word.

    But I don't know. I frequently say 'In Britain we don't say….' only to find that some people do. Recently I've noticed people talking about 'last names'. Kids these days…

  11. Bob Ladd said,

    May 26, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

    @ J W Brewer
    This may help identify the time period of the strip: the car in the last panel has a 2001 registration number. Here you will find more than you ever wanted to know about UK vehicle registration plates.

  12. Hans said,

    May 27, 2014 @ 4:04 am

    As a long-time John Allison reader, I can confirm Bob Ladd's conclusion – Shauna is one of the "present day"*1) characters, not one of the 90s set.
    *1) With the caveat that the "Bad Machinery" stories, with which the "New Bobbins" stories are contemporaneous, originally were supposed to take place "4 years in the future", and since one of the past stories all this is taking place in a timeline that was slightly altered in ca. 1960 (leading to female Beatles, If I recall correctly). Umm – I've been reading these comics too long already, apparently.

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