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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 11 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Adult
(1) That shopping cart is full of AirHeads, and (2) I died at 41 from what the AirHeads company spokesperson called 'probably natural causes.'
Title text: (1) That shopping cart is full of AirHeads, and (2) I died at 41 from what the AirHeads company spokesperson called 'probably natural causes.'

Explanation

In this comic, Cueball performs several mundane 'adult' tasks, namely shopping for groceries, buying furniture, and applying for a mortgage. In each instance thought bubbles show his apparent surprise or bemusement at the fact that he is behaving like an adult.

In the last panel Megan is reading Cueball's will. Instead of containing standard legalese, the will instead captures Cueball's surprised or bemused thoughts when he wrote the will.

Alternate explanation: The idea of adulthood is grounded in society's scripting that adults "do such and such" or behave in a certain way. Despite numerous studies showing that those aged past 21 still have trouble accepting they have grown up. Lacking any real milestone that adulthood has been achieved, we (like Cueball) convince ourselves of our adulthood all the while retaining an identity that could conflict with the image of an adult (death by overconsumption).

AirHeads are a tangy, taffy-like, chewy candy, predominantly known for its sweet taste and texture. The title text suggests Cueball still retains some more childish instincts, namely using the freedom of adulthood to indulge in AirHead candies, to fatal consequences.

The title text shows the AirHead marketing spokesperson trying to downplay their involvement in from Cueball's death. Referring to an obvious case of (AirHead) overdose as "probably natural causes" is duplicitous, though understandable, since the company of course would want to avoid the press coverage as "killer candy"

See also 905: Homeownership and 616: Lease, where Cueball similarly has difficulty accepting the reality of his adulthood.

Transcript

[Cueball is holding onto a shopping cart.]
Cueball (thinking): Haha, look at me grocery shopping! I'm such an adult.
[Cueball is standing in front of a sofa.]
Cueball (thinking): Buying a sofa! Ooh, look how domestic I am!
[Cueball is sitting at a desk writing something with another Cueball on the opposite side of the desk.]
Cueball (thinking): Applying for a mortgage! As if I'm a real grown-up.
[Megan is reading from a piece of paper in front of a desk with Hairbun, Hairy, and White Hat behind it.]
Megan: ...And I, being of sound mind and body, am totally writing a will right now!
Megan: Can you believe this?



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