828: Positive Attitude

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Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude is almost tautologically good for your mental health, and extreme stress can hurt your immune system, but that doesn't mean you should feel like shit for feeling like shit.
Title text: Having a positive attitude is almost tautologically good for your mental health, and extreme stress can hurt your immune system, but that doesn't mean you should feel like shit for feeling like shit.


Cueball feels bad because he's sick, and his friend tells him to think positively because that will make him feel better. After thinking a bit Cueball notices that, following that reasoning, if he feels bad it is his fault for being so pessimistic. That makes him feel even worse as now he's not only sick, but also feels guilty of his own sickness.

In the fourth panel, he throws away all the previous reasoning and decides his mood is not the problem: the problem is that he's sick. Also, he decides that whatever he feels now he'll finally get better because he's treating his disease.

In the last panel Cueball notices his last comment was actually optimistic, so that makes him feel better. At this point, it should be expected that Cueball's friend would say "see? looking at things in an optimistic way actually helps". However, he puts optimism as something bad by using the phrase "you suck at pessimism". Cueball then tries to be optimistic at his "sucking" by thinking he'll "be better at pessimism tomorrow". Of course, being good at pessimism is something he should avoid, as it was his very problem in the first few panels.

The title text takes a serious turn, and acts as an advice for people feeling bad for being sick. The point is that sickness makes one feel bad enough by itself without having to feel guilty for feeling bad when one's sick.

In the first panel, Cueball is connected to a monitor and an IV (Intravenous therapy). In a real hospital this might be recording data, such as heart rate (HR) and peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) however in the comic, INT, CON and CHR are also recorded. These may be a reference to character stats in some role playing games. In the "Adventurer Conqueror King" system, INT=Intelligence. CON=Constitution and CHR=Charisma.


[Cueball sits hunched with his knees drawn up to him on a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV. A friend stands by.]
Cueball: I'm sick and I'm scared.
Friend: Well, remember - having a good attitude is the most important thing. Think positively and you'll get better.
[Darkness surrounds Cueball on the bed. The friend is off-screen.]
Cueball: So if I'm sad or afraid or feel like crap sometimes, then...
Friend: ...then if you don't recover, it will be your fault.
[Cueball clutches his hands to his face and leans back.]
Cueball: Well that makes me feel even worse.
Friend: See? You're doing this to yourself.
Cueball: No!
Friend: Stop it!
Cueball: Argh!
[Close up on Cueball, holding up his hand, pointing to himself.]
Cueball: Okay, you know what? Screw this. My attitude isn't my problem. - My disease is my problem, and I'm treating it. - I'm going to be glum and depressed and pessimistic some days, and I'm going to get better anyway.
[Cueball sits on the edge of the bed, his friend still standing in front of him.]
Cueball: Wait, that ended up sounding optimistic.
Friend: I guess you suck at pessimism.
Cueball: Maybe I'll be better at it tomorrow.

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What is an IV instrument? It has to be explained. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:58, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

I've rewritten all the explanation, expanding it a bit, adding the title text part and the IV explanation. So I've also removed the incomplete tag. Hope it can be now considered "complete". 02:49, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

I can't believe no one has mentioned the INT, CON and CHR stats on the monitor -- CardaStcol (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Maybe the Cueball on the bed is Megan after chemo (and associated hair loss )?

What I thought to - Donthaveusername (talk) 17:12, 10 October 2020 (UTC)

In related comics there is usually a Megan and Cueball character. Some whould say the personality is a little off to be Megan and fits Cueball better. 18:16, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Why INT/CON/CHR is listed as a reference to ACKS in particular, rather than to much more venerable D&D it is based on? D&D has the same attributes, except Charisma is abbreviated as CHA, not as CHR. Is it CHR in ACKS? 15:10, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

Was anyone else staring at the art, going "That IV line should not be on the floor!" in your head? Nitpicking (talk) 01:11, 7 September 2021 (UTC)

Surely this is a comic about Randall's then-girlfriend (now wife) and her cancer diagnosis and treatment? That's what I've always presumed. 01:43, 10 December 2023 (UTC)

Influenced by it, sure. Cueball is generally not used to represent Randall's actual wife. Nitpicking (talk) 01:57, 10 December 2023 (UTC)