Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Cueball is presumably asked to answer the typical career counselor question: What is your dream job? Rather than going with the more common answers that are designed to increase the chances of landing that particular job, Cueball talks about unrealistic jobs that are whimsical, and so well compensated that a little over one hour on the clock would provide enough wealth for a luxurious retirement; of course, you can have such a job only in your dreams. He makes jobs out of tasks that people do when they are bored, whether the tasks needed to be done or not. Therefore, if he did not get the job he probably would have done them at some point anyway.
Peeling lint off dryer traps can relieve boredom, but it gets tedious soon, so Cueball wants to do that only for 5 minutes, followed by an hour of holding the handle of a lightsaber against things and switching it on. The energy emitted by this fictional weapon will probably burn, melt or cut the object it is touching as demonstrated in a scene from Star Wars Episode I, where Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn uses his lightsaber to cut through a wall. In Cueball's mind these are probably high paying jobs, because after this he would like to retire to a life of luxury.
The title text is poking fun at Hollywood films, particularly stories about violent professions (like mobsters, hitmen, detective or spies) where the hero is retired, but some unforeseen circumstance has forced them out of retirement to do "one last job." Usually in these films, the jobs are overtly, improbably dangerous, often with the suggestion that they may lose their lives doing it, but the reward for doing the job (saving the world, a ton of cash, an unresolved debt) is just too great to refuse. However, in this comic the joke is that his "one last job" is also a mildly amusing task designed to relieve boredom.
- [Cueball stands facing a desk, behind which another person is sitting in a desk chair.]
- Cueball: It would start with five minutes of peeling lint from dryer traps, followed by an hour of pressing a lightsaber handle against things and switching it on. Then I'd retire to a life of luxury.
- When people ask me to describe my dream job, I'm never sure how realistic to be.
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Come on ... those tasks can't be random ... someone find out what is Randal referring to ... isn't Luke Skywalker doing something wiht dryer traps at start of fourth movie? -- Hkmaly (talk) 11:10, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
- I think this whole comic is a double entendre; it's a metaphor for sex. "Peeling" involves removing a thin layer, like clothes, off of something much thicker. Then in the next sentence, "pressing a lightsaber handle against things and switching it on" is like putting a penis into a vagina, which constitutes sex.* The title text is likely referring to oral sex (performed on the vulva). The difference is that oral sex does not involve biting. If Randall had used sucking instead, it would have been less subtle.
- And finally, what about the durations? The "peeling" lasts 5 minutes because it's not just undressing, but foreplay. And what about the hour of sex? According to the Randall's earlier comic "Fermirotica" (), sex lasts, in general, about 30 minutes. And, back to "Career" (): this comic is describing a dream job. Following the metaphor, it's reasonable to assume that this dream job represents dream sex. Dream sex would be longer than average sex, to prolong the pleasure, and an hour is twice as long as 30 minutes. I also looked up the typical duration of sex, and it looked like it's about five minutes. That said, part of the joke of this comic is having an unrealistic dream job, so the dream sex should last an unrealistically long amount of time.
- \*The similarities between "pressing a lightsaber handle against things and switching it on" and sex are as follows. 1) "Pressing" involves pushing, as in "pushing one's penis" (not with one's hands, as with a lightsaber, but with one's pelvis). 2) There is mention of switching on a lightsaber handle. The transformation from a lightsaber handle to a switched-on lightsaber is analogous to that from a non-erect penis to an erect penis. Specifically: a) You're starting with a small version that's more convenient for storage, and transforming it into something that is capable of fulfilling the object's purpose; b) A short object is transforming into a long object; c) This transformation does not change the shape. 3) Consider the aforementioned shape. All four objects are the same shape: a long and narrow, like a tall cylinder. 4) The switched-on lightsaber performs the same action, in the comic's description, that an erect penis performs during sex: penetration. When you press a lightsaber handle against (for example) a wall and switch it on, the blade of the lightsaber goes through that wall by creating a hole, where there was no hole before. Similarly, a vagina is initially closed, but when an erect penis, like a switched-on lightsaber, is pushed into it, the act of pushing the penis into the vagina causes the labia to part, and allows the penis to travel inward like the blade of a lightsaber. Kinase (talk) 10:49, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
- The answer to your question may depend upon which movie you think is the "fourth movie" (4th episode? 4th movie produced? If it's 4th movie produced, do you count the Holiday Special? Also, should anyone, anywhere, for any reason ever count the Holiday Special?) -- Brettpeirce (talk) 12:25, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
- Im sure he is refering to The Phantom Menace, and the comic could describe Anakin, however im not sure what "lump of slight soft wax" would refer to. Spongebog (talk) 14:49, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
- I believe Hkmaly is referring to Episode IV. However, I think he's reading too much into this, and the tasks really are random. You simply can't connect them in a way that makes sense. NealCruco (talk) 16:38, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
- Yes, I was refering to Episode IV. Hint: I mentioned Luke Skywalker next. What Holiday Special? -- Hkmaly (talk) 11:11, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
- You did, indeed, mention Luke Skywalker. Thus, if you were asking about the fourth movie produced (ignoring the
Holiday Special, which Lucas tries hard to do), then the answer to your original question would be an emphatic "No". If you were asking about Episode IV, then I'd have to check the movie or at least a transcript, but the answer would still probably be 'no'. Now, as for the Holiday Special, it was "broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978 [...and also in New Zealand and Australia, and a few other select places later]", according to Wikipedia... Lucas has apparently said "Right. That's one of those things that happened, and I just have to live with it" (Also according to Wikipedia, but with no citation...). It included Leia and others singing, comedy routines, and animation introducing Boba Fett. Brettpeirce (talk) 14:13, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
- If you don't know about the Holiday Special...consider yourself lucky.--Dangerkeith3000 (talk) 15:14, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
- Don't go down that road. It's a dark road that leads to a dark place and that dark place involves a Wookie, virtual reality, and horrific subtext.
- And no, Lukes a moisture farmer. What would he use a dryer for? 22.214.171.124 03:24, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "it's impossible that anyone would pay someone for peeling lint from dryer traps" as someone in the commercial laundry mats has to do it at some point...126.96.36.199
- Sure, but that's surely not the worker's only task. No one will pay someone just to peel lint. NealCruco (talk) 16:38, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
If you had enough lint to remove you may need to hire more than one person to do it. If I needed lint peeled I would pay a reasonable wage for someone to do it. 188.8.131.52 18:46, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you think Randall would draw some cartoon just to mess with the people here at explainxkcd? I know I would! Bigfatbernie (talk) 19:01, 24 March 2014 (UTC) (talk)
biting into soft wax could also be stated as 'leaving an impression' 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I can see why peeling lint is fun (at least for 5 minutes) as it's soft and it feels good and you can play around with it and its a rather relaxing task. The light saber stuff obviously is fun, too. But I really don't see why anyone would want to bite into a lump of slightly soft wax. Does anyone do that in real life? Sounds pretty disgusting to me. -- 220.127.116.11 19:53, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's random at all... work my up from the bottom, to cutting edge science, resulting in amazing breathroughs, then come back to leave a lasting impression18.104.22.168 19:54, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
- I like that assessment - I do wonder if that was Randall's big idea behind his choices... Brettpeirce (talk) 13:33, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
The prior comic was about sleeping. Is this one actually about dreaming? The "dream" job tasks sound like the random events one might encounter in a dream. Pondy
Biting into wax is actually pretty stimulating to the teeth, and is quite entertaining. Try biting that soft wax they put around cheese.
22.214.171.124 23:39, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
- I think this should be mentioned in the explanation. "Dream" cam mean an aspiration or goal or something of unreal excellence to HR people and to Cueball it means a succession of images passing through the mind during sleep. 126.96.36.199 22:18, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Lightsaber handles certainly do exist right now (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Icons-Darth-Vader-lightsaber-James-Earl-Jones-Signature-Edition-265-of-1000-/191106490913?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c7ed5a221), and you can put lightsaber handles up to any and all kinds of objects. You can even switch them on, or at least flick a switch ... it's the next part that sadly doesn't exist -- the actual lightsaber. Putting a lightsaber handle up to objects and flicking a switch would get pretty boring pretty fast though since the crucial lightsaber part is missing...188.8.131.52 20:14, 25 March 2014 (UTC)larK
I think that he is talking literally about jobs that you dream about. Because dreams can be random and make no sense or have any logical timeline, he is describing what cueball is dreaming about. --Sirkha (talk) 04:40, 26 March 2014 (UTC)----
- That make sense, but doesn't match the text below (I'm never sure how realistic to be). -- Hkmaly (talk) 11:13, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
It does match that text. He is too realistic in describing his dream job, because he tries to decribe a job as it could actually happen when he is dreaming during sleep. 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I think he is referring to the question asked in interviews: Can you describe your "dream job"? The interviewer expects a realistic answer after specifically requesting for a dream job. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- A realistic answer? Or do you mean an answer describing a realistic job? to me, those are different things... Brettpeirce (talk) 13:35, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Is she supporting all her weight on the desk with her hands? She's not even touching the chair. 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Let's start to improve this explain
What is an "HR interview question"? As an non US citizen I just do not understand. --Dgbrt (talk) 21:55, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
- HR probably means "Human Resources". It's the name of the department in a company than manages employees, does job interviews and so on. However I'm not a native english speaker either.-- 22.214.171.124 12:21, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
I updated title text explanation126.96.36.199 03:06, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
The connection between dryer lint and lightsabers seems to far-fetched. Remove? Does there actually have to be a connection between those activities besides them being entertaining? Condor70 (talk) 14:20, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Removed"Biting in slightly soft wax will create a dental impression that can be used to form dentures, which is often associated with old age, and therefore retirement", as it says biting the wax multiple times (which would ruin the dental impression. 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)