647: Scary

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I'm teaching every 8-year-old relative to say this, and every 14-year-old to do the same thing with Toy Story. Also, Pokemon hit the US over a decade ago and kids born after Aladdin came out will turn 18 next year.
Title text: I'm teaching every 8-year-old relative to say this, and every 14-year-old to do the same thing with Toy Story. Also, Pokemon hit the US over a decade ago and kids born after Aladdin came out will turn 18 next year.

[edit] Explanation

Rob is telling his eight-year-old nephew a ghost story, employing such stereotyped devices as a flash light-lit face and stock ghost story endings.

Rob's nephew thus characterizes the ghost story as "lame," meaning that it was unimpressive or unconvincingly feeble. His uncle Rob asks him if he can come up with something scarier. Sure he says and offers the much scarier notion that even though he has been born after 9/11 he is already old enough to be able to have this kind of conversation. In 1686: Feel Old released about 7 years later this even was once again used to make people feel old (first time this phrase was used in a title). At that time the scary part was that some of the people who could vote in the next presidential election would be too young to remember 9/11.

No hidden meaning here, but this sure is scary for many adults. What's being implied here is that time seems to be moving really quickly and we're getting older faster than we think. Events that seem like they "just happened" have happened long enough ago for a whole other person to come into existence, grow up, and learn to carry on a conversation. Every time we get reminded of this fact, it can be scary, as you then realize that you are now closer to your death...

9/11 was a terrorist attack in the United States in 2001, on September 11th. Major events such as the assassination of Kennedy, the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 or 9/11 are easily memorable. It is often said that "everyone remembers where they were when they first heard...". In consequence, these events act as milestones in our memory. They are recalled more vividly, and seem more recent. Today this is maybe also topping the Attack on Pearl Harbor happened in 1941.

The title text mentions that Randall is teaching his 8 year old relatives to say the same as in the comic — presumably to the annoyance of his older relatives who will be reminded of the fast passage of time. He does not stop here, but teaches the 14 year old's to say they are born after Toy Story — a major block buster hit from Pixar which came out in 1995. A movie many people will remember fondly and feel just came out the other day... He continues with these scary thoughts by mentioning that Pokémon (1996) came out over a decade ago and that kids born after the big Disney hit movie Aladdin from 1992 will turn 18 next year (i.e. in 2010 a year after this comic was published).

Randall has both before and after this comic tried to make people feel old several times.

[edit] Transcript

[Rob and his nephew (also drawn like a Cueball, but smaller) are sitting on the ground facing each other. Rob is holding a flash-light up to his face and leans back on the other arm, while crossing his legs. The nephew is sitting forward resting one arm on his lifted knees and leaning back on his other arm.]
Rob: But they never found the ghost's head!
Nephew: Lame story, Uncle Rob.
Rob: And you could do scarier?
Nephew: Sure.
[Rob has removed the flash-light from his face and the nephew leans more back and has shifted a leg down so only one knee supports the arm which are now more straight.]
Rob: Try me.
Nephew: 9/11 happened before I was born, yet I'm old enough to have this conversation with you.
[Rob has dropped the flash-light. The nephew has taken the other arm down on the ground. Beat panel.]
[Rob has curled his legs up to his chin and wrapped his arms around them while the nephew relaxes eve more,]

[edit] Trivia

  • From 2017-11-05 on, the time between 9/11 and this comic will be smaller than the time between this comic and the present.

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Not wishing to detract from the gravity of the 9/11 events (expounded at very great length), but the first thing we read, "...never found the ghosts head", is perhaps a lighter parody of the kind of endings that accompany "It was a dark and stormy night..." at the start. Usually in a ghost and/or a horror story (headless ghosts aside) it's usually a newly-found corpse whose head is missing. Hence there's strange imagery involved in the concept of a decapitated ghost (as opposed to a ghost of a decapitee). It could have been an interestingly compounded set of tropes, of course, but given its apparent lameness it probably wasn't. 17:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

They never found any traces of firemen in the ruins of the twin towers did they? No fireproof, extremely hardwearing clothing, nor axes, gas cylinders etc.? Horrific or what?
And the layer at the top of the mounds should have contained some traces of human DNA. Right?
That's more horrific. -- Weatherlawyer (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Using movies as a reference for making people feel old and scared about how fast time flies was used also in http://xkcd.com/891/ -- 12:03, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Children born after xkcd first came out are now old enough to have this conversation. 19:12, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

I was born after 9/11, yet I am old enough to read this comic.

Two years from now, people born after the turn of the millennium will start to graduate high school. International Space Station (talk) 05:16, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

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