105: Parallel Universe

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Parallel Universe
It's possible. Better to be on the safe side.
Title text: It's possible. Better to be on the safe side.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball has (by some ritual, judging by the pentagram) summoned himself from a parallel universe. Hairy suggests that Cueball should take advantage of this rare opportunity and make out with his other self.

In the third panel, Cueball seems to turn his head in response to the unexpected response. Hairy suggests that Cueball should make out with him instead, since he could also vanish at any moment. This indicates Hairy may be attracted to Cueball, and he may have made the previous suggestion with the ulterior, voyeuristic motive of observing two attractive persons making out with each other.

The title text is ambiguous. It could mean that Cueball should not risk his other self disappearing, or it could mean that the risk is Hairy disappearing.

Alternative explanation

By a very big stretch of imagination, we can think that the other person is Megan instead of Hairy (i.e. a female instead of a male).

If the character is Megan, the third panel is her having reconsidered that she would rather Cueball not make out with anyone other than her, by threatening that she would leave him.

Supposedly the title text does not help in deciding this if this alternative is correct or not. If it is Megan, Cueball should stay safe and not make out with himself. If it is not, he should play it safe and make out now, before his alternate self goes back to the parallel universe.

All this ambiguity suggests a third joke. Perhaps there are two universes that this is playing out in, in one of them the character is Megan, the other is not.

It could also be noted that the universe the parallel universe that the comic takes place in is not of the normal comics, and that the Cueball summoned could be of the standard comics. In this universe, Hairy could be the replacement for Megan.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball and Hairy are standing next to a large pentagram with candles at the points. A figure is hovering above it in a wave of energy.]
Cueball: Sweet. I summoned myself from a parallel universe.
Hairy: You know, he could vanish at any moment.
Hairy: You should take this chance to make out with yourself.
Hairy: . . . You know, I could vanish at any moment.

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Rikthoff (talk) The issue date might be off. All files since 101 have been created on April 11th, 2006. Anyone with an actual issue date?

I have verified that the date is correct now. lcarsos (talk) 22:10, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

A comment, and a question:

  • First off, I don't think the hairy character could possibly be a woman (or that it should matter anyway), otherwise it would be made clearer in the drawing and the transcript. Compare for instance with previous comics 102, 93 and 84: each time it is made clear in the drawing as well as in the transcript. So in my opinion it's just another random guy.
  • And now, not being a native English speaker, I don't understand what is meant by "make out" here (and I think this should be part of the explanation). "Make out" seems to have multiple possible interpretations, and if it is the semi-sexual meaning (as in Making out on Wikipedia) here, then I don't see the point of "taking this chance to make out with oneself"... a quirky fantasy? and a homosexual one, which doesn't seem in the xkcd style to me...

What I understand is that in the last panel the hairy character realized he could use the same argument for him as well; but apart from that, this comic remains pretty obscure to me. More explanation would be appreciated :-) Cos (talk) 17:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

  • My interpretation: It's a classic course of action to make out (or even have sexual intercourse) with one's duplicate in the event that the two meet. Hairy suggests this to Cueball, pointing out that the duplicate may disappear at any moment because of the potentially tenuous nature of the spell keeping the duplicate in this reality. Hairy then realizes that, hypothetically, he/she could also spontaneously disappear, and uses this as a way to hint that he/she would like to make out with Cueball. The joke is the same regardless of whether Hairy is Megan or a male friend of Cueball, but if it's a male friend, there is an added layer of intended humor in the homosexual nature of the suggestion. Either way, Hairy is making the self-serving suggestion that Cueball forgo a rare chance (making out with his alternate-universe duplicate) in order to take advantage of a common chance (making out with an acquaintance from the same universe) because of a superficially identical pressure (spontaneous disappearance; in alternate-Cueball's case, because something would cause them to revert to their universe of origin, and in Hairy's case, because of some unknown hypothetical factor). JET73L (talk) 06:44, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
    • I like this explanation the best. It's really the clearest out of all of them. --Jimmy C (talk) 23:44, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
    • I agree with Jimmy C and JET73L -- mwburden 20:33, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

I kind of figured Hairy's line in the last panel was a "I just said something really untoward and will now leave the room before you hurt me/I embarrass us all further" sort of thing. Am I alone in this? 19:04, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Yeah, that's what I always thought too. Or that he was suggesting he could leave to give Cueball and Cueball some privacy. 01:44, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
    • I agree, these were the two options that came to me when I read it, first that he was offering to leave the room, perhaps even because obviously there was no other reason to summon your parallel self, and he needn't have even said it, or second, that suddenly he realized it was a strange idea, and that he felt like "sinking through the floor" with embarrassment. Kind of "Umm....yeah. Right. I'll...just, like, go now...bye!" Of course, after reading the previous comments, I think the idea of the person hinting that THEY could vanish as well has merit too. I don't think it's Megan. He knows how to draw female characters; he wouldn't leave it ambiguous. That said, I never knew that it was a "thing" to think about making out with yourself if you ever met yourself...if you're not attracted to other males, why would you be attracted to yourself? What is it "it's not any gayer than masturbation, because it's both YOU"? I guess so, but I'll pass. I was also curious, this is one of several cartoons I've read now that are very ambiguous about sexuality. It makes me wonder, is Randall bisexual, or is he just trying to be open-minded and inclusive? (I guess it would be too confusing to make stick figures "ethnically diverse", and certain people would get offended anyway.) 03:20, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

The alternate is missing from the parallel universe. It would be easy to imagine a parallel universe in which the other individual who is present did the summoning, causing themselves to vanish from a different universe, which could be the one depicted in the comic. 05:40, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

I don't see why the alternate explanation assumes this particular Cueball would be dating Megan and not Hairy. It seems a bit heteronormative. I do think the regular explanation is correct, however. It's an argument by analogy. "If your alternate-universe could vanish at any moment, you should make out with him. I could vanish at any moment. Thus, by analogy..." 02:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I kind of thought this was supposed to be our Cueball, summoning another one. But I guess it could be either. 03:20, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

I had always assumed that Hairy argument was that he could disappear, since the alt- cue ball disappeared for HIS universe, and alt universe Hairy could summon current Hairy away. 06:13, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

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