When I was a boy, I read a sci-fi story about space travelers who arrived on a planet populated by giant reptilian creatures that lived for tens of thousands of years. The creatures moved so slowly that the earthlings thought that they were inanimate rocks. For their part, the reptilians were only dimly aware of the spacemen, perceiving them as transitory flicks of light moving throughout their world.
Something of the same eerie sensation applies to my dipping into the Mary Worth comic. Nothing seems to happen. Or rather, things happen, but in some other sort of time. Comic-glacial, comic-geological time. It seems that this is part, maybe all of her appeal. Dropping in for the long haul. La durée or la temps profond as the French sociologists and historians call it. Perhaps it is real time.
I knew about Mary Worth when I was a boy reading the Sunday comics, but after a glance or two, I consigned her to the realm of entertainments reserved for people from planets different from the one I lived on. I guess that’s the point – that space travel theme again. Which brings us inevitably to time and time travel.