39: Bowl

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For the moment it's a standoff
Title text: For the moment it's a standoff

[edit] Explanation

The comic roughly parodies a situation in which two characters are seeing who can wait longer to get the result they want. However in the comic, the model sailing ship is not alive and doesn't experience time (except perhaps if it absorbs water and falls apart, or beaches once the water in the bowl evaporates). The comic compares the patience of a boy with that of an inanimate object. Also, it could imply that the boy has too much time on his hands.

Like many of the earlier comics, some of this comic's humor comes from the surreality of the situation. The gravity of the boy's statement is juxtaposed with the insignificance of a child's toy floating in a bowl of water. On one level, the absurdity of this is funny in itself; on another level, the audience is invited to imagine what might possibly be going through the boy's mind to make him take this toy and bowl so seriously.

Alternatively, the comic can be taken to recognize the mortality and ultimate fate of death/decay for both the boat and the boy, creating a grim moral. But, if one goes deeper into meaning, one could realize that the comic itself is humorous for trying to make a fatalistic statement using a boy and a toy boat, still making the comic ultimately humorous.

[edit] Transcript

[A boy is glaring at a model sailing ship floating in a bowl of water.]
Boy: Sooner or later, my friend, one of us will run out of time.

[edit] Trivia

  • Original Randall quote: "This is not the barrel boy. Current Mood: Final Exam-y"
  • This is the forty-first comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous was 43: Red Spiders 2. The next was 45: Schrodinger
  • This comic turned out to be the last that was only posted on LiveJournal.
    • The next comic was first released almost a month later.
    • After new year 2006 the xkcd site aired for the first time and 45: Schrodinger was the first comic posted directly on xkcd as well as on LiveJorunal
    • The same went for the next ten comics until LiveJournal closed at the end of January 2006.

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How do we know that there isn't someone on the boat? They may be waiting for the boy to go to sleep before trying to escape. 01:43, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
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