Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Simply put, the narrator's insomnia, combined with small bright lights in an otherwise pitch-black room, is causing him to hallucinate. Furthermore, the narrator is well aware he will be unable to distinguish the hallucinations from reality.
A clock can never read "72 minutes" as there are only 60 minutes in an hour. While a clock can read "13 hours" on a 24-hour clock (which is common on most digital clocks in Europe, but not in the US), the thirteenth hour obviously does not occur immediately after the fourth hour.
The title text shows the narrator has indeed "succumbed" to his visions, and is assigning gibberish values —an alarm clock with a "cinnamon" setting, the time of day "25 hours and 131 minutes", and "levitation class"— to an otherwise normal monologue.
- [It is black, except a few blue and green lights, and red numbers from a clock.]
- [The clock shows 4:31]
- Lying awake at night I realize how many little lights there are in my room. The alarm clock is the brightest. Can't sleep I'm alone with those glowing red numbers
- [The clock now shows 4:32]
- Time slows
- Does time even exist here?
- Thoughts churning in on themselves
- [The clock now shows 4:33]
- The madness can't be far away
- Ah yes
- [The clock now shows 13:72]
- There it is.
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We know it must not be a 24-hour clock. On that setting, 4:31 would be in the afternoon, not at night.22.214.171.124 15:11, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
- I cannot tell if you are misguided, trolling or just hallucinating in the style of this comic. So - well done! 126.96.36.199 18:18, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Quite the opposite. 13:00 is 1 in the afternoon, and 4:31 would be 4:31 at night. 188.8.131.52 04:48, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I know it's quite a long shot, but polish writer Bruno Shulz wrote a novel "Cinamon Shops", which surprisingly have a style of insomnia-crazy visions. More : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Street_of_Crocodiles
184.108.40.206 11:48, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
A typical situation with insomnia is when you blink your eyes for just a moment, then look at the clock and find that in reality a couple of hours have passed (with you asleep though all this time even though you didn't feel like it). Focusing the eyes on the clock afterwards is not an easy task either, so the creative readings are not unusual. Overall, the situation is much more realistic than it seems at first. 220.127.116.11 22:27, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
This happens to me all the time actually, I wake up in and check my watch, but since I'm not really fast at waking up I fall asleep for a few minutes before actually checking the watch, and I dream about it. So maybe I've dreamed that it was 6:30 when in fact it is still 4:30. But only real numbers so far (Miguelinileugim) 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Once it's not only real numbers, prepare for the most confusing 4.71 - 2.38i hours of your life. Promethean (talk)