1710: Walking Into Things
|Walking Into Things
Title text: A childhood spent walking while reading books has prepared me unexpectedly well for today's world.
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 interests in astronomy, optical phenomena, weather phenomena and kites).
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?"
Walking actually is a difficult task, as can be observed when trying to teach a robot how to walk, or the time it takes for children to learn it and the way that a baby's first steps are celebrated as an achievement and a milestone in their development. Of course, walking is much easier (for most people) once they've mastered the basics.
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 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?
The second word in the first panel looks like "UFE", but it's actually "LIFE" with bad 1015: Kerning.
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).
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