560: Lithium Batteries
Title text: I'm normally a pretty frugal person, but I still compulsively buy any R/C aircraft that's less than $30. In the last few years, this has become a problem.
Randall muses that his life would have been better if he aged in reverse; this idea is based on a timeline of the usage of lithium-ion batteries. The reasoning is that each of these uses would come to realization when he most needed it; cheap RC planes as a child, a cellphone when he is a teenager and also later for when he is a successful businessman and finally a pacemaker when he is old.
The time-reversed aging is probably a direct reference to "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a film of which was released in December 2008, a few months before this comic appeared. Randall has used this theme before in 270: Merlin, referencing another backward-time-travelling character (in that case, from "The Once and Future King" by T. H. White).
Lithium-ion batteries have the highest energy density of any widely available battery, and for this reason are commonly used in portable electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, and also the newest airliners such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
In the title text, Randall states that he is a big fan of cheap radio-controlled aircrafts (now powered by cheap lithium-ion batteries), which he desperately wishes would have been available when he was a child. That these have now become so cheap has undoubtedly been the inspiration for this comic.
As such, he has an uncontrollable, instinctive urge to make up for his childhood lack of RC aircraft by buying every one he sees compulsively, if they cost less than $30, in spite of him normally being a frugal person. (Frugality has been defined as the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner). This tendency has now become a financial problem since cheap RC aircraft has become more and more plentiful, whereas if Randall aged backwards, this wouldn't be an issue - as children rarely make purchases, and adult Randall would live in a world where RCs were still expensive. The one in the comic is priced at only $10.
The concept of experiencing events in reverse is also explored in 1869: Positive and Negative Reviews.
- [Caption above the timeline:]
- Timeline of commercial uses of lithium batteries:
- [The panel has a timeline that goes from past to present. The timeline has 4 notches on it. Reading from left to right, with the scale below the line and the description above each notch are the following:]
- [The first notch, closest to the past side, has a picture of an old man with a walking stick.]
- [The second notch has an image of a man in a car, who is talking on his cell phone.]
- Phones for Rich Business People
- [The third notch, has a teen talking on his cellphone.]
- Phones for Teenagers
- [The forth notch, closest to the present on the timeline, has an image of a radio controlled toy plane box with a price tag written on it.]
- Really cheap R/C planes and helicopters
- Box: $10
- [Caption below the panel:]
- Life would be so much better if I were
- one of those people who aged backward.
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