The comic begins with a grainy pencil-drawing of Megan on a ship. This is a clue that things are not as they appear.
As the point-of-view pulls back in each successive frame, we see that "Megan on a ship" is really a thought-bubble belonging to Cueball, who is sitting at his desk. He apparently is day-dreaming instead of working. This is presented in the standard, crisp format, as if drawn on a computer. This suggests it shows us our "normal" view.
However, as the perspective continues to pull back, we see that "Cueball thinking of Megan" is actually a thought-bubble belonging to Megan. In the final frames, the ship sails out of frame. However, since the final frames are in the same grainy pencil-drawing format, it suggests that this is still Cueball's thoughts, rather than an actual image of Megan.
The title text, "Or so I hope," shows us what this recursion really means: Cueball hopes that Megan realizes that he misses her, but suggests he's not entirely certain she does.
But, the comic can be interpreted in a different manner.
- Alternative explanation
The comic starts with Megan on the bow of a ship, but in following panels, it turns out that Cueball (presumably in a relationship with Megan) is thinking about about her, sitting afar from her. As we move forward (or downwards) in the comic, it turns out indeed that Megan is thinking that her partner Cueball might be missing her and thinking about her while she is on a voyage, or at least she hopes it to be that way, as the title text suggests. This also explains the title of the comic "To Be Wanted," which Megan expects from Cueball.
Both of the above explanations could be true without conflict. But as the title text is most often assigned to Randall himself or to a Cueball character, the "Or so I hope?" is most likely written by the guy who drew the comic. This would then indicate that it is Cueball/Randall who wishes to be wanted by Megan - but he also hopes that Megan knows/hopes that he wants her.
- [Megan stands looking out on the bow of a ship.]
- [Scene backs up. More of the boat is shown.]
- [Scene backs up. The boat with Megan is within a thought bubble.]
- [Scene backs up. The thought bubble comes from Cueball sitting at a computer in an office.]
- [Scene repeated for the next frame.]
- [Scene backs up. Cueball is within yet another thought bubble.]
- [Scene backs up. The thought bubble with Cueball in it belongs to Megan at the bow of the ship.]
- [The thought bubble disappears, showing only Megan in the boat.]
- [The boat sails out of view.]
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The previous explanation was:
The comic is about perspective. The person on the ship dreams of working in an office while the person in the office is dreaming of being on a ship.
The ship and office are perhaps metaphors for freedom and structure. The comic may be trying to convey that those people who have a highly structured life desire more freedom while those with too much freedom desire structure.
While interesting, I felt it missed the boat.
--MisterSpike (talk) 05:19, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
Seems that Randall has invented a new rigging system for boats. A triangular foresail on a bowsprit with a large sqaure sail just behind it blocking its wind. The square seems attached to the mizzenmast behind. Wouldn't quite work I don't think. Deliberate symbolism? Kevin McCready (talk) 12:47, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
- The foresail appears to be attached in a similar way as jib sails in small boats. Should work well enough if the boat is on a beam reach. RedHatGuy68 (talk) 00:47, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
- Random thoughts
The grainy background does not have to suggest something is not right. Randall has gone with different backgrounds several times. I took it to show the difference between how Randall sees a representation of himself and a representation of the girl he likes. He sees himself as a nerd working in front of a computer in a monochrome setting. He sees Megan sailing, wind blowing in her face, full of contrast and texture. I believe he wanted both of them to think about each other.
To be wanted also includes wanting others to be wanted by you. Relationships are cyclic, much like the panels.
On a completely different note, it seems like Megan sailing off screen in the last panel might have something to do with the act of moving on. This is a complete ass pull, but I think it might have something to do with Randall's actual relationship with whoever Megan represents. It is hinted that they broke up. Perhaps Randall is hoping that even as she moves on (sails off the screen), she still thinks about him and knows that he still thinks about her.
Flewk (talk) 22:59, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Is there any sort of consistency between strips, since it was just two weeks prior that we had a strip of Megan leaving Cueball 366:Your Mom.
So could this entire strip being one of them wishing that had not happened as one of them, it could be either depending on whose thoughts you believe are being portrayed is doing nothing but thinking of the other that they just lost? 220.127.116.11 11:53, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
I didn't interpret 366:Your Mom as Megan leaving the relationship entirely, necessarily - just that she was leaving that specific situation. I interpret this one to mean that Cueball is thinking of Megan, and hoping that she is thinking of him, too. L-Space Traveler (talk) 17:41, 26 August 2022 (UTC)
Ok, now that I'm up to 379:_Forgetting, I think that she did, in fact, leave him entirely. L-Space Traveler (talk) 13:01, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
- Further comics suggest they are still together . . . L-Space Traveler (talk) 03:09, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
It's really beautiful imo how this comic can be interpreted both ways as both people missing each other dearly. AzureArmageddon 10:40, 4 October 2023 (UTC)