860: Never Do This

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Never Do This
I call Rule 34 on The Secret House.
Title text: I call Rule 34 on The Secret House.


Cueball shows his new pocket microscope to Megan. With the curiosity of scientists, they quickly decide to use the microscope to look at a number of different things.

But after they use the microscope to inspect what is under their fingernails, they both sink into a catatonic state. Our fingers are how we interact with the world, and all manner of things get trapped under our fingernails; different kinds of dirt, fungus, spores, fragments of insects, insect droppings and so on. Such things that obviously look pretty horrific when magnified a few hundred times. Cueball and Megan never suspected what they would find, and seem unable to process or deal with the horror they have uncovered.

The title text refers to Rule 34 (see 305: Rule 34), an internet meme which states "If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.". The book referenced is "The Secret House: 24 hours in the strange & wonderful world in which we spend our nights and days" by David Bodanis and is a study in microphotography. It features extreme close-ups of everyday phenomena in the common house, but as seen from a microscopic perspective. "Rule 34" states that there must be porn of this nature, but it is not clear what form this would take; it could be lewd drawings of personified microscopic objects, or perhaps just images of individual sperm cells.

Randall may have done this check himself - and now chooses to warn others not to make the same mistake. Thus, the title: Never Do This. He later gives the same type of advice against using a UV lamp in the bathroom through this comic: 1469: UV.

Given his likely negative feelings towards Valentine's Day, as seen in the most of his Valentines comics, it may not be a coincidence he send this gross comic out on February 14. He did not draw any Valentines related comic this year as he for instance did the two years before and the year after.


[Cueball walks toward Megan holding a pocket microscope.]
Cueball: Check it out—a pocket microscope!
Megan: Ooh! Let's look at stuff!
[Cueball holds a pencil; Megan peers at a quarter through the microscope.]
Cueball: The tip of this pencil is neat.
Megan: This quarter is really scratched.
Cueball: Let's look at the skin under our fingernails!
Minutes later...
[Cueball and Megan curl up in a black pit of despair.]
Cueball and Megan: oh god oh god

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The current explanation states "A "Rule 34" version of this might feature microscopic views of other bodily areas or fluids than fingernails." However, I think the title text is actually meant to point out that the images in The Secret House (and the stuff under your fingernails) are so disgusting that it may not be possible to make porn of it, which would be a violation of Rule 34. So by saying "I call Rule 34 on The Secret House," he is either challenging someone to prove that Rule 34 applies to something so disgusting, or he is questioning the validity of Rule 34 altogether. --Foushee217 (talk) 16:07, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree that it should be changed, but I disagree with your explanation. I think that calling Rule 34 on the book means the book already implements Rule 34. If microscopic photos of what's under your fingernails are dirty, microscopic photos of everyday phenomena in the common house are likely to be dirty. "Dirty" may be related to sexual activities. So, the book contains pornographic photos. 03:37, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
I am 100% sure that Rule 34 has absolutely nothing to do with the dual meaning of "dirty". Randall cannot be saying anything else except that since the Secret House exists, there must be porn that relates to it, or the idea or concepts expressed within it. Microscopic household porn. I am not going to pretend I can imagine what he thinks that will entail; he is simply calling Rule 34 that says it must exist. 19:59, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
He just wants dibs on drawing Rule 34 images of The Secret House. 23:49, 5 January 2015 (UTC) Scroblaw

I improved the Rule 34 explanation and tried to do better overall. Note that I am not convinced the third paragraph even belongs there (about Buddah and everything) but I worked on that one too. Goody. 20:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

The title text refers to Rule 34 (see 305: Rule 34), an internet meme which states "If it exists, there is porn of it.

Rule 34. Producing Documents, Electronically Stored Information, and Tangible Things, or Entering onto Land, for Inspection and Other Purposes: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_34

The 34th Rule is a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, an allegory for the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_34th_Rule

Those were the first two results from Duckduck go. They can both be applied.

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 14:38, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

I have no idea how is catatonic state related to this comic strip. More like they are simply aghast / petrified / despaired or something like that. On the other hand, according to Wikipedia page provided, "Catatonia is a complex neuropsychiatric behavioral syndrome that is characterized by abnormal movements, immobility, abnormal behaviors, and withdrawal" — Not really a fan of using a neuropshyciatric syndrome to describe what merely looks like a normal (if somewhat exaggerated) emotional response. (talk) 09:14, 11 August 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)