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The term "identity theft" usually refers to the theft of any type of identification used by the thief to pretend to be the victim. Randall's identity thief, however, (somehow) literally stole his personality. The thief has apparently inherited Randall's love of space, and his existentialism. (Megan's existentialism must have rubbed off on him.) The joke is that the identity thief is completely overwhelmed by having an entirely new personality. The title text wonders when the trains of thought of the two people (assuming that Randall's identity thief merely copied his personality, rather taking it) have or will diverge, until which point they are basically the same person. Another person then mentions that this is actually Randall overthinking the situation, and that the thief really did only take his credit card number, a common method for stealing money, but by this point Randall's anxiety has overwhelmed him and he ignores the speaker.
- [A man sitting in front of a laptop, looking at his hands]
- Hairy: I feel paralyzed by overwhelming existential dread.
- Hairy: ...and yet for some reason I'm really excited about space?
- The thief who stole my identity has a lot to deal with.
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This comic seems to be about the idea that true identity theft would require the thief to take on the identity perfectly. The thief in the comic is Randall Munroe making fun of himself and how he is often existential and is excited about space... 1st post--188.8.131.52 05:19, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Maybe it's a shared account, so it really is Megan's own existentialism & Randall's love of space -- a true crisis!
184.108.40.206 15:10, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Is it worth mentioning the contextual element where this comic correlates with the relase of news of a rash of identity theft during the last quarter of 2013?220.127.116.11 00:54, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
The title text is a reference to a Greg Egan short story from the collection Axiomatic called Learning to be Me. 18.104.22.168 01:48, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
The description of identity theft is incorrect. Simple theft occurs when the thief takes money from the bank under false pretenses. Identity theft occurs when the bank decides to make it somebody else problem instead of taking on the chin and improving security.
The cartoon is mocking the common mis-perception of what identity theft is.--22.214.171.124 18:00, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Several other comics deal with existentialism, not just 625. If we're not going to mention ones like 167 or 220 then the wording should be changed to something like "(The character Megan also has a habit of expressing existential angst in comics such as 625: Collections.)"--126.96.36.199 00:29, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Either there should be a link that mentions Randall having existential angst, or it should be corrected to say the identity is from one of xkcd's characters, like Cueball or Megan. If I had a lot more time, I would search for these references. If someone else recognizes the importance of my opinion (if any), maybe there should be an incomplete tag too. 188.8.131.52 03:30, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
- I agree, there isn't sufficient justification that this is Randall. His self-portraits more typically resemble Cueball than Hairy (e.g. the dust jacket on the What If? book. Djbrasier (talk) 01:36, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- But it seems clear from the character pose and speech lines that we're looking at the thief, not the victim. As for existential angst, it being a recurring theme in the comic (as noted by the comments above) suggests that it is unlikely for Randall to not feel that way at least sometimes. But the strongest evidence I would push back with is that Randall has never elsewhere used the first-person in captions to indicate a character. I've boldly removed the incomplete tag, though feel free to put it back if my argument is unconvincing. 184.108.40.206 14:38, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
- I'm somewhat unconvinced, but more troubled by the claim that this is showing the thief. It seems clear to me that it is the victim who is misunderstanding what it means for his identity to be stolen, as indicated by the title text. Djbrasier (talk) 04:29, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
- Okay. I've requested more eyes at the community portal. 220.127.116.11 14:22, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Randall wouldn't be confused/coming to terms with know aspects of his personality. The Thief has newly acquired them and now is dealing with it. That's the joke.18.104.22.168 21:21, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Did Randall's Identity get stolen?22.214.171.124 04:47, 2 October 2015 (UTC)