476: One-Sided

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One-Sided
He continued, "Okay, Bernanke is uncontaminated. Find a crossbow and get him into position behind one of the columns at the Fed entrance. This is gonna get ugly."
Title text: He continued, "Okay, Bernanke is uncontaminated. Find a crossbow and get him into position behind one of the columns at the Fed entrance. This is gonna get ugly."

[edit] Explanation

The comic refers to the phenomenon of hearing half a conversation from a stranger on a cell phone and, not noticing the cell phone, imagining that that person is talking to you and responding in kind. The chart gives a plot of the frequency that this occurs against the amount of time that passes before the error is discovered. It also implies that the author's second relationship was in reality just a particularly long instance of this occurrence, suggesting that his girlfriend tended to be more interested in talking on her phone than talking to him.

The title text is the continuation of the phone call, which involves a fictional conspiracy involving the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and a crossbow. It may be a reference to the video game Fallout 3, in which you eliminate mutated or "contaminated" denizens of the "Capital Wasteland" — a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. Ben Bernanke does not appear as a character in the game.

[edit] Transcript

[Sometimes my conversations with strangers go on for a while before I realize that they're talking on their phones.]
Guy with backpack: Hi!
Cueball: Hi.
Guy with backpack: What's up?
Cueball: Uh, not a lot...
Guy with backpack: Shit. Does Bernanke own a crossbow?
[Background is a graph, with x-axis labelled "Length of Conversation" and y-axis labelled "How Often This Happens". The graph looks parabolic towards the left-hand side, but as x approaches infinity, y approaches zero. A vertical dashed line runs through the graph, slightly to the right of the peak of the graph. To the right of the dashed line there is an arrow pointing to the right that is labelled "Awkward Zone". The x-axis has a broken scale, and to the right of the break there is a very small increase in the graph that is parenthetically labelled "My Second Relationship".]
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Discussion

Could the Bernanke in question be Ben Bernanke, American economist and currently chairman of the Federal Reserve (i.e. "The Fed")? I assume the crossbows are a reference to something topical, but have no idea what. Might it be a video game of some kind? --MisterSpike (talk) 09:04, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Indeed. As for the crossbow and "uncontaminated" thing, and tying it all together, there was some big video game set in a post-apocalyptic Washington DC, but I can't for the life of me remember what its name was.

--79.222.56.250 12:41, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

I think the Fallout 3 reference is a bit far-fetched to be anything more than speculation, especially since there's no mention of Ben Bernanke, or any Bernanke, in said game. The "contamination" aspect of the title text is most likely used because it's a simple, commonly-used "disaster' plot that justifies the use of a crossbow and doesn't require much context or explanation, if any. Also, Fallout 3 does not have crossbows. Codefreak5 (talk) 20:15, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
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