2544: Heart-Stopping Texts
Title text: Was this your car? [looping 'image loading' animation]
Text messages have become a ubiquitous form of communication in most countries, and have become a basic part of many people's everyday lives. Conversations over text frequently jump straight to the purpose of the communication, without salutation or prelude. Some texts, particularly when delivered without context, can carry implications that cause immediate anxiety.
"Out of the blue" is an English expression meaning "to appear in a sudden and unexpected fashion". It's a shortened version of "sudden as a bolt out of the Blue", referring to a bolt of lightning out of the clear, blue sky. The implication is that something dramatic (and possibly dangerous) is has occurred without any warning signs, under circumstances where it wouldn't normally be expected.
This comic lists texts that would be worrying to receive with no context, for a variety of reasons. It seems to suggest that sending these is a good way to prank someone; particularly the title text, where deliberately sending an animated loading icon seems like it couldn't be intended for any other purpose. The different messages are explained below.
|Did you forget what day it is?||This implies that the recipient forgot some important event happening today. This could be an important day to a spouse or friend, and a relationship can be damaged by the recipient having forgotten. Or it could mean that the recipient failed to deliver on an important commitment scheduled for that day, which can create a variety of other problems.|
|I bet you're probably getting bombarded with texts right now, huh?||This implies that something of major significance has happened, that would make many people want to communicate with the recipient. There are a lot of possibilities, many of which are negative. The non-specific nature of the text leaves the recipient wondering what has happened, and how bad it is.|
|Did you mean to post that to everyone?||Implies that the recipient has made a public post (presumably on some social network, or via mass-text conversation) that was offensive or otherwise inappropriate to post publicly; so much so that the text sender is asking if they perhaps meant it to be forwarded to a more contained group or possibly not even revealed to anyone at all. This is a common occurrence as on many platforms it can be easy to accidentally post something with the wrong visibility or misclick something private into a media post.|
|Is this your house?|| CNN is a popular news outlet in the United States. This text implies that the recipient's house has for some reason been mentioned (or probably photographed) in a CNN article. This would mean that a newsworthy event has occurred there, or at least nearby. Many newsworthy events are upsetting, possibly dangerous (eg. a fire, a natural disaster, a violent crime, etc). This might also imply a violation of privacy, as many people would not want to have a picture of their house on national news.
This particular link suggests that the recipient's house was featured in a CNN article from November 19, 2021, the day this comic was published. The next part of the link is the category of the story (e.g. "US", "world", "politics"), which in this case starts with the letter "S" -- either "sports" or "style", going by the top bar of CNN's website. On the plus side, it's probably not as consequential as one of the more prominent categories, but it would still be an unpleasant surprise to find one's house featured in the news.
|You didn't click on any weird emails recently, did you?|| Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent messages to someone in order to steal information (credentials, etc.) from them, infect them with malware, or otherwise perform some undesirable action. One overwhelmingly common form of this is getting people to click on hyperlinks in emails, which generally purport to lead somewhere reputable but instead lead to somewhere controlled by the sender.
This text implies something makes the sender think that the recipient has fallen victim to such an attack. It's common for the victim of such an attack to not be the first to discover it. For example, some attacks hijack the victim's email, and use it to bombard everyone in their contact list with further phishing attempts. If the sender of this text had received such an email, they might suspect an attack. If this has already happened, it's likely to cause major problems.
|Can I call?||While this is a seemingly benign and simple request, texting someone to ask if you can call is usually a sign that the conversation will be long and serious, and the sender wants to ensure that the other party is available for such a discussion. Many such situations are negative (ranging from a breakup to the death of a loved one), and there's a great deal of tension in knowing that something is serious, but not knowing what it is.|
|Wait, do you know Joe Rogan? How does he know your name?|| Joe Rogan is a public personality, best known for his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. This message implies that the recipient has been publicly discussed by Rogan for some reason. Similarly to the CNN case, this is likely to cause worry about what possible circumstances would prompt this.
Joe Rogan is a fairly polarizing figure, so being mentioned by him could be considered negative, particularly for someone who doesn't like his positions or his personality. Specifically, Rogan has recently been in the news for his anti vaccine stance. People such as Randall, who are in favor of vaccines, may not want to be associated with him.
|Why are you trending on Twitter?|| Twitter is a social network, which – among other features – tracks and shows topics that are currently being discussed by a large number of users on the platform, or "trending". An individual trending across the entire network (unless that person is a public figure) is usually either because they're connected with a news story, or because something they did or wrote has gone viral. There are sufficiently many negative things that can cause such unexpected fame that hearing about it would be worrying.
Twitter in particular is known for frequently involving very heated discussion, and often even the targeting of individuals by mobs who perceive them to have done something wrong.
|Was this your car? [looping 'image loading' animation]||(title text) The past tense ('was') implies that your car no longer exists or has changed enough to no longer be considered a car, with the animation additionally implying an image or a video of it being damaged or destroyed. In addition, it might take a long time for the receiver to realize that the media will never load, during which they will be worried about their car without knowing what happened to it.|
- [Comic heading:]
- Most heart-stopping texts to receive out of the blue
- [A collection of light gray text bubbles in two columns:]
- Did you forget what day it is?
- I bet you're probably getting bombarded with texts right now, huh?
- Did you mean to post that to everyone?
- Is this your house? cnn.com/2021/11/19/S...
- You didn't click on any weird emails recently, did you?
- Can I call?
- Wait, do you know Joe Rogan? How does he know your name?
- Why are you trending on Twitter?
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