1746: Making Friends

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Making Friends
"This seems more like a way to attract turkey vultures." "My mom always told me a turkey vulture is just a friend you haven't met yet, usually because you don't smell enough like decaying meat."
Title text: "This seems more like a way to attract turkey vultures." "My mom always told me a turkey vulture is just a friend you haven't met yet, usually because you don't smell enough like decaying meat."


Ponytail is complaining to Cueball that it is hard to make new friends once you are out of school. She even has problems just meeting new people, let alone making those new people her friends.

This is a common problem, or maybe rather an advantage of going to school. In school you are forced together with a group of people you have to see everyday and work together with in groups. This is a great catalyst for making new friends. In the early grades the kids haven't had time to form many friendships so they are ready to make new friends, and later in college the young people often move away from their home town, and thus have no friends in their new town, and are again ready to make friends. Later in life it is rare to be put in a similar situation, and the people you do meet might already have several friends; for most people there is usually a rather low limit on how many friends it is possible to keep close. Thus many feel it is hard to make new friends compared to when they went to school.

Cueball has a solution, but it is very weird. He says he pretends to be injured, and then, as if he were a weak animal on the savanna, he expects other people to begin circling around him, not directly to eat him, but to take his food, shelter and nutrients. This is a weird formulation as nutrients is what you get from your food, so either he is referring twice to his food, or he actually refers to his value as nutrient (i.e. food) for another being. Also it is unlikely for a person to steal his shelter, unless this refers to his clothing, as "the shelter" would usually be seen as a normal person's house, which is rather hard to take [citation needed], especially if the person is renting and it belongs to someone else.

He then talks about these possible future friends as if they will descend on him, making it sound even more like they are birds hanging above him like vultures. But his plan is to start telling these people who are ready to rob him of his life support cool facts about space before they get a chance to descend, and then make them like him based on this knowledge. And then before they know what hit them, they are instantly his friends. If this were actually about vultures, his method could be used to trap said vultures, a trick that might be used to try and capture vultures by tricking them to come down in order to eat them yourself (if stuck in a desert, etc).

Cueball seems to think this is a fantastic idea, as shown by his arm gestures. But Ponytail seems to think otherwise. Her comment this explains a lot is probably a reference to other strange habits of Cueball that she has observed. Or his lack of other friends. Or there was a story about how they met that had confused her until this conversation occurred...

The logic of Cueball's "friends" could be that Cueball is extremely rich. If he pretends to be near death, some cynics might try to become closer to Cueball to gain at least some of Cueball's wealth upon his death.

In the title text Ponytail mentions that what Cueball has just described fits well with the behavior of turkey vultures rather than humans. Turkey vultures are a type of bird of prey which feeds on carrion. They are known to identify and circle weak, injured, dead or dying animals so they can eat them (take their nutrients).

As they are animals they would not care about cool facts about space, but Cueball did seem to talk about other humans in the main comic. The title text, however, goes even further out this line and have Cueball cite his mom: "My mom always told me a turkey vulture is just a friend you haven't met yet, usually because you don't smell enough like decaying meat." This is a reference to the old saying: "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet", and the action of the vultures eating dead animals.

Smelling of decaying meat would be likely to attract the vultures but it should be noted that this is likely to drive away most other potential (human) friends, as most people don't like the smell of decaying meat. [citation needed] Also, there is very little reason to believe that you could become friends with vultures , although if you get up and show that you are not really injured, they are likely to give up and fly away rather than attack you, unless they are starving.

Vultures hanging in the air over prey that is about to die, was also the subject of 926: Time Vulture. Saying cool things about space, hoping that people like you, was the subject of 1644: Stargazing. The comic 1485: Friendship, was not about friendship...


[Cueball is walking with Ponytail holding her arms out while talking.]
Ponytail: Making friends is so much harder once you're out of school.
Ponytail: Everyone's so busy. And how do you even meet people?
[In this frame-less panel Cueball raises his arms in front of his chest while they walk on.]
Cueball: Here's what I do:
Cueball: I pretend to be weak and injured, and wait for others to start circling, hoping to take my food, shelter, and nutrients.
[Cueball stop walking and lifts both arms straight out as Ponytail turns towards him.]
Cueball: Then, before they can descend, I start telling them cool facts about space until they like me.
Cueball: Bam, friendship!
Ponytail: This explains a lot.

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Does something like this happen in one of the Star Wars films? *headscratch* -- 06:32, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

I guess I can take that to mean you don't know what he's talking about? It's too bad I'm going to bed now, this is finally a comic where I'm early enough to provide the explanation AND I understand the comic enough to do so! LOL! The method Cueball is suggesting in the second panel is how animals (or a person) might try to lure in a/many vultures, mostly in cartoons. Vultures are notorious for feeding on dead bodies, and for flying in slowly-descending circles above a dead body they find (presumably to ensure the body IS dead and abandoned by whatever animal might have killed it) before feeding from it. If an animal or human wanted to trap or hunt a vulture, pretending to be dead or about to die on your own would be the way to do it. Actually, the other day I was reading a joke where an oversexed rooster was doing exactly this, attempting to lure in some vultures by pretending to be dead.
The joke here obviously being that humans don't tend to act like vultures. The alternate behaviour - taking Cueball's things instead of eating him - seems to me to be a nod towards video games where you exhibit such vulture-like behaviour, retrieving useful supplies from dead bodies you find (and create), such as in the Assassin's Creed games. - NiceGuy1 08:01, 14 October 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:19, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
"Humans don't tend to act like vultures"? Did you never saw an ad for refinancing loans? -- Hkmaly (talk) 13:53, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
I said "don't TEND to", :) Hey, if you want people acting like vultures, I believe I gave the best example, and the one which most fits the comic: looting dead bodies in games like Assassin's Creed. :) - NiceGuy1 03:32, 19 October 2016 (UTC) So's this! NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:19, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

My daughter's friend, on starting at high school, was telling me she was making new friends. My response: Cool! They're teaching robotics. Mlv (talk) 09:48, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

When I read the title of this comic (before reading the actual content) I fully expected it would be a play on "making friends," with Cueball actually building robots.
Although I'm a little disappointed that it turned out otherwise, at least the replacement was worth it! 16:15, 14 October 2016 (UTC)
I think you two just wrote Making Friends, Part 2, LOL! I think this needs to exist as an xkcd! :) - NiceGuy1 02:59, 15 October 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:19, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
I thought of the same thing too, after seeing the robot-building version of "making friends" in an early episode of MLP Loops - was surprised that the phrase wasn't taken literally. -- 00:33, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Am I the only one that sees Cueball's strategy as "I act like a nerd until I attract people (who want to [steal my lunch money]) and then I act like a nerd (by talking sciency) until they're my friends"? This, of course, relies on stereotypes (and a somewhat dual/split meaning of "nerd"), but seems to fit pretty well. Taking it one step further, it could be described as "[I'm a nerd.] I be myself, and eventually I make friends." Which is actually a rather valid plan. So I must retract my statement, because Cueball is never that practical.  ;-) 16:15, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

"Also how do they steal his shelter, unless this refers to his clothing, the shelter would usually be seen as normal peoples houses, which is rather hard to take." Just steal his house keys? -- 17:11, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

Pup tent? Miamiclay (talk) 23:59, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

If anyone is familiar with RvB this reminded me a bit of "Caboose's guide to making friends". I don't think it is a direct reference to that as he is not literally building friends.XFez (talk) 18:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)