Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 23:11, 7 August 2012 by Waldir (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have 11 comic explanations!

(But there are still 1693 to go. Come and add yours!)

Latest comic

edit this explanation!

Walking Into Things
A childhood spent walking while reading books has prepared me unexpectedly well for today's world.
Title text: A childhood spent walking while reading books has prepared me unexpectedly well for today's world.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Still not complete. Still needs a review.

Cueball comments on the rate of his walking into things while distracted by various stimuli, comparing it to a controlled study where the aim is to research whether he is most likely to bump into something while looking at a book, at his phone, or staring at the sky (something Randall does a lot with his interest in both astronomy, optical phenomena, kites, and weather phenomena).

Megan replies that if this is the case, the rate of the "control group" colliding with things is also weirdly high. In Cueball's metaphor, the "control group" would be his walking around without being distracted, so you would expect him not to collide with anything when able to give his full attention to where he's going. Thus, Megan is implying that Cueball is simply clumsy or easily distracted by other events or his own thoughts, and that his walking into things has little to do with whether he's looking at his phone, in a book or at the sky. Cueball responds defensively, saying that "walking [without bumping into anything] is hard, okay?"

Actually walking is hard as can be observed when trying to teach a robot how to walk.

At the time the comic was released, Pokémon Go has been gaining popularity, with many people raising concerns about the dangers of walking around while staring at a phone screen. (See 1705: Pokémon Go released two weeks before this).

In the title text, Randall remarks that his childhood spent walking around with his nose in a book has prepared him "unexpectedly well" for today's world. Years ago, walking around while staring at something in your hands - such as a book - was considered odd, antisocial and dangerous, and was mostly the province of bookworms and nerds. Yet now, it's commonplace for people to walk around staring at their phones. This, ironically, makes those "antisocial" people who grew up used to walking around while reading the best-adapted to navigating while using a smartphone.


[Meagan and Cueball, holding a smartphone in his hand, walk through a landscape with patches of grass. They are just passing behind a stump of a tree, a small bush is in front of them and there are two rocks on the ground which extends to rolling hills in the distance under a clear sky with three small white clouds to the right and two seagulls drawn as lying down 3 to the left with four more birds further left and much further away.]
Cueball: My life is basically a big controlled trial of whether I'm more likely to walk into something while looking at a book, my phone, or the sky.
[Zoom in to Megan and Cueball while they're still walking, no background is shown. Beat panel while she ponders his statement.]
[Megan and Cueball still walking.]
Megan: The weird thing is that the rate for the control group is so high.
Cueball: Walking is hard, okay?

New here?

Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to—and helping everyone better understand—xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Explain xkcd logo courtesy of User:Alek2407.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?