293: RTFM

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 19:52, 12 September 2013 by Mynotoar (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Life is too short for man pages, and occasionally much too short without them.
Title text: Life is too short for man pages, and occasionally much too short without them.


The title is an acronym for "read the fucking manual", which frustrated software users tell newbie users when confronted with a simple question (most likely answered in the manual).

However, Cueball encounters a similar situation with a 911 call, in which the 911 dispatcher hangs up after Cueball states that he has not read the toaster's man page (an unreasonable request as man pages only exist on *nix systems and only describe commands and C functions, not hardware). The 911 dispatcher ignored an obvious medical emergency (the toaster stabbed Cueball in the face), an unusual action for emergency dispatchers but not unusual for Black Hat (perhaps he got a job as a 911 dispatcher).

The title text refers to the popular phrase "Life's too short", which asserts that because we only have a fixed amount of time on Earth, and that time can pass by quickly, we should make the most of it. However, Randall goes on to take the statement literally: as Cueball has been stabbed in the face, his life will be very short in that he will die soon as a result of the injury to his head.


[Cueball with a knife sticking out of his heavily bleeding face stands in front of a toaster, which has an arm extending from the top of it. He is holding a telephone to his ear.]
Cueball: Hello, 911? I just tried to toast some bread, and the toaster grew an arm and stabbed me in the face!
911: Did you read the toaster's man page first?
Cueball: Well, no, but all I wanted was--
911: click
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


No comments yet.
Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?