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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Sitting in a Tree
First comes blood / Then we perish / Then comes Death in his Eternity Carriage.
Title text: First comes blood / Then we perish / Then comes Death in his Eternity Carriage.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a PAIR OF BOTS E-D-I-T-I-N-G - ♫First come comments, ♫Then these made neat, ♫But ONLY when it's accurate, then should you the tag delete!♫

“[Name] and [name], sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G” (or some other seven-letter verb spelled aloud, almost always ending in “ing”) is a common taunt among young children in the US, perhaps in the context of a counting-out game, in which they make fun of others' (alleged/suggested) playground romances (which are often seen as “gross” at that age).

This comic takes the variety of things which could be chanted to an unrealistic extreme, starting with relatively mundane ones such as “hugging” and “reading” and progressing through to increasingly atypical or disturbing concepts. For example, in the last frame, Cueball and Megan would be molting, also known as shedding, which, according to Randall, would be "very alarming". Each frame has the last of its noted possibilities pictured – kissing, ironing and smiting, respectively.



Slightly worrying:

Sobbing is an act of crying or weeping, e.g. due to a setback in one's relationship.
Itching is feeling a sensation on one's skin that makes one want to scratch or rub it, and may happen due to mosquito bites or other bugs.
Pruning is cutting off the branches of a tree, which is very dangerous if one is sitting on said branch.[citation needed]
Banking is conducting financial business with a bank.
Posting is to publish posts on social media, which is probably what most teens do when they're together nowadays.
Ironing is smoothing their clothes with an iron and ironing board.

Very alarming:

Molting is shedding one's skin.
Whaling is hunting whales, which has been outlawed since the 1980s. Whales aren't usually found in trees.[cetacean needed]
E-filing, not to be confused with defiling, is doing one's tax returns online. This comic was published a few days before the US tax deadline.
Melting is turning from a solid state to a liquid state, which is usually fatal.[citation needed]
X-raying is emitting or receiving X-ray radiation. With enough radiation, the X-rays could be fatal.
Smiting is striking down their enemies with the divine power called from a god.

The title text parodies a traditional continuation of the chant, which is normally something like "...first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage" (which reflects the common social expectations that any kissers might follow the path of), but instead appears to be a more dark prophecy about death that therefore probably befits the last frame's focus.


[Three children are singing. A kid with a bowl cut and a young Hairy are pointing with their fingers, while Jill stands in the middle. A pair of connected eighth notes and a detached eighth note are shown.]
Kid with a bowl cut, Jill and Hairy: [Name] and [Name], sitting in a tree...
[Label above the panel:]
[Cueball and Megan are sitting on a tree branch holding hands and kissing, with a heart above them.]
[Label above the panel:]
Slightly worrying
[Cueball and Megan are sitting on a tree branch each ironing a cloth on an ironing board, with steam arising from the irons.]
[Label above the panel:]
Very alarming
[Cueball and Megan, her hair being uncharacteristically wild, sitting on a tree branch smiting with glowing hands, with two falling fireballs and fire below them. Cueball's hands are raised up, while Megan has her left hand up and her right hand pointing to her right.]

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