2581: Health Stats
Title text: You will live on forever in our hearts, pushing a little extra blood toward our left hands now and then to give them a squeeze.
Cueball's has a smartwatch that tells him a new health statistic. It is clearly either a new watch or a newly discovered feature added to his existing one.
It seems to monitor the volume of blood currently in his left hand (specifically the one the watch is being worn on the wrist of, implying it tracks the inflow and outflow and maintains a running tally) and conveys this quantity in milliliters (ml). It also tracks other stats like his pulse, as seen later, but this is not what currently interests Cueball. Instead he studies the blood volume information and finds it changing from moment to moment. This may be from a combination of his pulse (misaligned to the frequency of the updates) or the vertical position and attitude of his hand (he subtly changes the hand's position from panel to panel). It could just be inaccuracies in the data, an issue with all scientific instruments but more so for consumer devices used without practiced expertise - it is unlikely he has strapped the measuring device tight enough onto his wrist to give scientifically consistent results, even with such slight arm movements as he makes.
He reports his thoughts on this to someone off-panel, who is heard replying to all his comments. At first, Cueball just voices the assumption that the small change is normal, and accepts the movement away from a number he had no reason to disbelieve as realistic. But then two measurements in a row both increase. Although all the changes are slight, compared to the magnitude of the numbers themselves, this freaks him out. He may be extrapolating these two data points into the future - if this rather selective trend continues, his hand may explode from its ever-increasing volume of blood. Either this, or Cueball noticed that the variation in the first three data points was ±0.025, but the final variation suddenly surpasses this level by ten times this range, massively redefining his evolving expectations.
For whatever reason he becomes anxious, a consequence of this is that his pulse also begins to rise, as also documented by the watch. This could simultaneously increase his blood pressure (not noted as being another monitored statistic) and in turn causing another rise in the volume of blood in his hand. Knowledge of the pulse increase makes him even more alarmed, which will cause a positive feedback loop at least in the short term.
The total difference between the maximum (22.09 ml) and minimum volume (21.81 ml) of blood in his hand is only 0.28 ml compared to an average of 21.9 ml, so less than 1.5% difference. This can realistically be assumed to be a normal fluctuation from heartbeat to heartbeat and/or with change of posture. For that matter, neither Cueball nor ourselves may have any idea what a normal volume of blood in his left hand would be. His comment in the first panel is that he's "not sure how to interpret" the initial measurement, and it might need rather uncommon medical knowledge to do so - even those who have learnt how much blood a typical human body should contain might be stumped by how much of that is just within a typical (or specific) human hand. However, he seems to have assumed that 21.83 ml was a normal measurement simply since it was the first one he saw (a stereotypical preference for early information).
Just before his anxiety reaches breaking point, his off-panel friend begins to tell him to stop looking at the watch all the time, but is interrupted mid-sentence by Cueball actually freaking out. This final outbreak causes his off-screen companion to tease him by saying that "We will treasure your memory", thus joking that Cueball will soon die from the blood loss when his hand explodes.
The title text continues with this teasing where the friend jokes that after his demise he will live on forever in his friends' hearts. From there he will thus also be responsible for pushing a bit more blood into his friends' left hands, now and again, so they can feel this as a squeeze to remind them of how they lost their friend to a left-handed blood explosion.
This is likely meant to parody the tendency of people to monitor minute details of their own health, pandered to by possibly misguided developments in personal meditech, without having a clear idea of what any of the data means. This is arguably much more common today with health devices readily available, which can give the average person data about their own body but often don't offer useful context. Cueball is apparently sufficiently fixated on data that apparent changes to any metric causes him to panic. He doesn't know what the blood volume of his hand means for his health, or even whether it's a useful metric, yet he obsesses over perceived trends in the data. The irony is that his very focus causes a more important metric (his pulse rate) to elevate. This may be intended to suggest that excessive fixation on one's own health can cause elevated anxiety. Ironically, this stress can potentially be more harmful than the things that the person has become upset about.
- [Cueball is looking down and to the right at his bent arm, where a small device is radiating as shown with several small lines. Above him the message from the device is shown in a frame, that is divided in two by a line. The top part has one line of text, with a x at the end for closing the message. And below in the second half are two lines of text. Cueball is speaking to someone off-panel, who replies from a starburst at the panel's edge.]
- Box title bar: New health stat!
- Box: Left hand blood volume: 21.83 mL
- Cueball: Oh. Cool. Not sure how to interpret that, but good to know, I guess.
- Off-panel voice: I guess!
- [Same setting but Cueball has turned to the left, still looking at his device on his bend arm. The message on the device is now only showing the message part, so it is no longer divided into two parts.]
- Box: Left hand blood volume: 21.81 mL
- Cueball: Huh, it's going down. I guess that happens.
- Off-panel voice: Mhm.
- [In a frame-less panel, Cueball now has both arms bent with his hands close together in front of him. He has once again turned toward the right, and is still looking at the device.]
- Box: Left hand blood volume: 21.86 mL
- Cueball: Oh weird, now it's going up higher than before.
- Off-panel voice: Maybe you shouldn't look at-
- [Cueball now holds his arm with the device outstretched towards the right, with his other arm bent in front of him a finger raised.]
- Box: Left hand blood volume: 22.09 mL
- Cueball: It's going way up! Is my hand exploding?!
- Cueball: And now my pulse is rising! Aaaaa!!!!
- Off-panel voice: So sorry. We will treasure your memory.
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