Title text: He continued, "Okay, Bernanke is uncontaminated. Find a crossbow and get him into position behind one of the columns at the Fed entrance. This is gonna get ugly."
The comic refers to the phenomenon of hearing half a conversation from a stranger on a cell phone and, not noticing the cell phone, imagining that that person is talking to you and responding in kind. The chart gives a plot of the frequency that this occurs (for Randall here represented by the Cueball to the left) against the amount of time that passes before the error is discovered. It also implies that Randall's second relationship was in reality just a particularly long instance of this occurrence, suggesting that his 'partner' wasn't even aware of the relationship.
On September 23, about a week after this comic, Randall posted a short story to his blog, featuring Ben Bernanke breaking into the Federal Reserve building with a crossbow.
- [Caption above the panel:]
- Sometimes my conversations with strangers go on for a while before I realize that they're talking on their phones.
- [To the right above a graph, Cueball is standing next to a Cueball-like guy with a backpack.]
- Guy with backpack: Hi!
- Cueball: Hi.
- Guy with backpack: What's up?
- Cueball: Uh, not a lot...
- Guy with backpack: Shit. Does Bernanke own a crossbow?
- [To the left and below these two guys is a graph with the axis labelled. The graph looks parabolic towards the left-hand side, but as x approaches infinity, y approaches zero. A vertical dashed line runs through the graph, slightly to the right of the peak of the graph. To the right of the dashed line, there is an arrow pointing to the right that is labelled. The x-axis has a broken scale, and to the right of the break, there is a very small increase in the graph that is parenthetically labelled with a small arrow.]
- Y-axis: How Often This Happens
- X-axis: Length of conversation
- Arrow: Awkward Zone
- Small arrow: (My Second Relationship)
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