Title text: And from that day on, I wore this little 'F' key pendant everywhere I went.
SkiFree is a video game released in 1991 which enjoyed popularity on the desktop computers of the time. In the game, you're a downhill skier who attempts to ski down a hill while avoiding obstacles which cause you to crash (which slows you down). At the start of the game, you can choose to go down three different timed/scored courses, or ignore them all and ski freely. Beyond the end of the courses you can continue skiing downhill. You can also move (slowly) uphill and sideways.
If you ski too far down the hill a monster similar to one in the comic will begin to chase you; contact with the monster ends the game. Since it's much faster than you normally, you'll get caught. The monster also appears if you travel too far in the sideways or upwards directions.
One of the lesser known commands in SkiFree is the 'F' key, which speeds you up, even faster than the monster. A second monster appears slightly further down the hill but by skiing downhill diagonally with the F key it is possible to evade both.
The joke here is that Megan has thought long and hard about the concept of the monster, relating it to the inevitability of death, and is nonplussed by the revelation that there is a simple mechanism that may allow her to escape it, thus ruining the poetic metaphor.
The title text refers to pendants or talismans that are worn to protect oneself from harm or to remind oneself of an important truth. Megan, seeing that the F key allowed her to evade inevitable death in the game, comes to believe that the F key confers some sort of immortality. Alternatively, it may be symbolic as the monster in SkiFree seemed insurmountable (just like death) but might have a discovery in the future (the 'F' key) that can overcome it.
- [A screenshot of SkiFree, with the abominable snowman running towards the player.]
- [Megan is sitting at her computer with her hands on the keyboard and thinking to herself:]
- Megan (thought bubble): I've always thought of the SkiFree monster as a metaphor for the inevitability of death.
- [Cueball comes up behind her in a frameless panel.]
- Cueball: SkiFree, huh? You know, you can press "F" to go faster than the monster and escape.
- [The screenshot again. The player is zooming away from the monster.]
- [Megan sits at her computer in silence, with her hands now down to to her side.]
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!