Title text: New research shows over 60% of the financial collapse's toxic assets were created by power drills.
People who live in rented properties often face the annoying problem of being unable to make simple changes to their dwelling — for example, drilling a hole in a wall to hang a picture — unless they first gain permission from the property owner. In many cases, if the renter drills the hole without asking permission, they will be charged for repairs.
This is one reason that home ownership can be empowering, as it allows the owner to do anything they wish with their property (at least, within the limits of the law). In this comic, we see Cueball (possibly the same Cueball seen in 616: Lease), struggling to come to terms with the realization that he now owns a home and can do anything he likes to it, such as drilling holes in the wall.
Unfortunately, Cueball gets so carried away with exercising this particular freedom that he drills too many holes in the house, and it collapses due to structural instability. Despite this being an unusual thing to do, it is apparently not unusual for Cueball, as the person he talks to on the phone immediately guesses what happened. Alternatively, it may be that Cueball's friend already made exactly the same mistake and is speaking from experience. Cueball's last statement expresses the fact that he was actually better off having someone who could dictate what could and could not be done with his residence, as then this wouldn't have happened.
The title text references fictional research showing that 60% of the toxic assets involved in the collapse of the United States housing bubble were created by power drills. A toxic asset is a financial asset for which the market has collapsed, such that it can no longer be sold. However, in this context it is also a play on the double meaning of the word "collapse", which can also refer to structural collapse. The implication is that the reason people couldn't sell their houses is because they'd drilled them full of holes to the point of structural instability, just as Cueball did.
- [Cueball is in an empty room, on the phone with a friend.]
- Cueball: I've always rented, so this blows my mind—this house is mine? I own a building?
- Friend: Yup!
- Cueball: I could, like, decide to drill a hole in that wall there, and nobody could do anything about it?
- Friend: That's right!
- [Cueball, off the phone, stands in silence.]
- Ten hours later:
- [Cueball is standing to the left a pile of rubble, on the phone with a friend.]
- Cueball: Can I come stay with you? My house has a... problem.
- Friend: Let me guess: you drilled holes in it until it collapsed?
- Cueball: I don't think I'm cut out for homeownership.
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