530: I'm An Idiot
|I'm an Idiot|
Title text: Sadly, this is a true story. At least I learned about the OS X 'say' command.
Cueball, locked out of his dorm/apartment, is trying to get his roommate's attention so that she'll unlock the door. He tries various increasingly obscure ways of contacting her: calling her cell phone, IRC, the window, and finally remotely logging into their downstairs Mac computer (via SSH) to make it shout at her, which involves working out a way to turn up the computer's volume. Ponytail informs him of the most obvious solution—the doorbell—which prompts a moment of realization. The content of this realization—"I'm An Idiot"—is stated in the title of the comic. The humor of the comic derives from the rhythm of the panels: a long buildup followed by a short quip, then a sudden, silent pause for the implied realization moment.
The humor of this comic also derives from the reader's familiarity with the behavior shown in the comic, since most every person who likes solving problems has experienced a moment of realization similar to Cueball's at one point or another. They, like Cueball, get distracted by solving an interesting problem because solving problems is fun, and fail to notice that the problem has an easier solution that they haven't considered. This same issue of getting lost in a sub-problem [in this case, the-sub problem of how to remotely control text-to-speech in OS X] at the expense of overall problem-solving ability is further covered in 761: DFS.
The title text of the comic mentions that, although missing an obvious solution can be humiliating, one often learns a lot from trying new solutions, which would explain why the behavior persists.
- [Ponytail approaches Cueball, who is sitting on porch steps, laptop in lap and backpack open.]
- Ponytail: Should I ask?
- Cueball: I'm locked out, and I'm trying to get my roommate to let me in.
- [Unplugged cell phone on table.]
- Cueball: First I tried her cell phone, but it's off.
- [Cueball sitting on steps, laptop in lap and gesturing.]
- Cueball: Then I tried IRC, but she's not online.
- [Cueball standing in front of house and looking up at window.]
- Cueball: I couldn't find anything to throw at her window,
- [Living room with couch easy chair and computer set up.]
- Cueball: So I SSH'd into the Mac Mini in the living room and got the speech synth to yell at her for me.
- Computer: Hey I'm locked out downstairs
- [Megan sitting at table with laptop open.]
- Cueball: But I think I left the volume way down, so I'm reading the OS X docs to learn to set the volume via command line.
- [Ponytail facing Cueball, who is still sitting on the porch with his laptop.]
- Ponytail: Ah.
- Ponytail: I take it the doorbell doesn't work?
- [Beat panel.]