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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font><br>
 
We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
 
We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
 
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Revision as of 01:59, 30 October 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Feel Old
'How long are you going to keep this up?' 'Statistically, only four or five more decades.'
Title text: 'How long are you going to keep this up?' 'Statistically, only four or five more decades.'

Explanation

This comic is one of many in which Randall puts the passage of time in perspective by pointing out how long ago certain events took place (see 647: Scary, 891: Movie Ages, 973: MTV Generation, 1393: Timeghost and 1477: Star Wars. Also see the blag post Odd Temporal Milestones. In each case, the joke is derived from the shock that many adults feel upon realizing that events that feel relatively recent actually took place many years or even decades ago. This becomes especially acute when it's pointed out how old someone born during that time would be.

This particular strip references the destruction of the World Trade Center that took place in New York City on September 11, 2001. These attacks were, in many ways, a defining event for an entire generation of Americans. The current US Presidential election will take place in November, 2016, which is over 15 years after the September 11 attacks. In America, the minimum age for voting in national elections is 18, which means that there will be people who can vote in this election who were only three years old (or even slightly younger) at the time of the attacks, and so presumably can't remember them.

When Megan asks Cueball if he wants to "feel old", he replies resignedly, suggesting that he recognizes (possibly based on the previous strips) that she's about to make him feel his age, but claims that he's ready. However, after she makes her statement, he admits that he wasn't ready. While he's technically aware of his age, that kind of perspective still catches him by surprise, and likely causes significant emotional discomfort.

In the rollover text, Cueball asks Megan how long she can "keep this up", instead of addressing how long she can keep coming up with uncomfortable facts, she introduces a new fact: they're only likely to live another forty to fifty years (suggesting that they're both in their mid- to late- thirties), so that limits how long they can do anything.

Transcript

[Megan talking to Cueball]
Megan: Wanna feel old?
Cueball: Does anyone? But OK, go ahead, I'm ready.
Megan: This is the first presidential election in which there are voters too young to remember 9/11.
Cueball: ...I wasn't ready.

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