227: Color Codes
Title text: It's the TMBG Dial-a-Song line, to save you some time.
Resistors are electronic components carrying color-coded bands indicating their value (measured in ohms) and tolerance (e.g. 5%). Cueball has been hunched over his work for so long that, when asked for his phone number (by his Cueball-like friend), he absentmindedly reads out his phone's area code as a sequence of colors found on the aforementioned resistors (each colour corresponding to one of the ten decimal digits, in this case 718 – see Resistor color-coding). He realizes his mistake after these first three digits, and begins again using numbers to state the entire phone number. His friend points out that such a mistake means it's a good time to take a break, and Cueball concurs.
It's not uncommon for readers to try calling phone numbers they see inside a book or a comic strip, just to discover what it actually goes to. Randall foresees this, and in the title text he simply tells you what the phone number is.
TMBG is They Might Be Giants, a popular beat combo responsible for toe-tapping chart-topping "Birdhouse In Your Soul." At one point, they recorded individual songs on an answering machine and advertised the phone number so people could call and listen to the song on the machine. Hence, Dial-A-Song. However, at least as of August 31, 2020, if you dial this number, you get a busy signal.
Resistor color codes was again mentioned in 1604: Snakes.
- [Cueball sits hunched over his desk, which is littered with objects. His Cueball-like friend holding his cell phone talks to him.]
- Friend: Hey, what's your cell number?
- Cueball: (Violet Brown Gray)— Uh, I mean, (718)-387-6962.
- Friend: Okay, you are putting down those resistors and going outside for a while.
- Cueball: That's probably a good idea.
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