Subduction License Title text: 'Dude, why can't you just be a normal roommate?' 'Because I'm coming TOWARD you!'

## Explanation

In structural geology, subduction is the mechanism by which one tectonic plate disappears under another. This process usually creates a mountain range on the second tectonic plate as sediments and fragmented blocks of continental crust are compressed, folded and lifted between the converging plates, and melting of the subducted plate provides magma to volcanoes.

In this comic, Beret Guy is very happy because he has just received his subduction license. His roommate Cueball very reasonably asks him: Your what?. But instead of answering him, Beret Guy begins to move towards him in their small room. It turns out that the license has literally enabled him to initiate subduction: As he moves towards Cueball, he slowly sinks under the floorboards of the room, and in this process he creates a small mountain range on the floor. In the end, much to Cueball's consternation, these mountains turn his desk and chair over. Cueball actually falls out of the frame in the final panel, where Beret Guy is already halfway down beneath the floor.

The title text plays on the double meaning of the word "normal", which Cueball means in the sense of "like most people, not strange," but which Beret Guy interprets in the geological sense. While subduction occurs when two plates crash into each other, a normal fault occurs when two plates are moving away from each other. Here, "normal" is used in the sense of "perpendicular," as the result of a normal fault is often that part of the crust moves vertically downward, forming a graben.

A similarly atypical license was mentioned previously in 410: Math Paper. Puns on geological terms (including types of faults) were previously made in 1082: Geology.

## Transcript

[Beret Guy is looking at some mail he has received while Cueball is at his computer desk at the other side of the room.]
Beret Guy: Sweet! I finally got my subduction license!
[Beret Guy starts sinking into the ground, causing it to ripple.]
Cueball: ...What are you doing?
[Beret Guy sinks further, forming a miniature mountain range in front of him. Cueball is frantically trying to keep his computer steady as his desk tilts.]
Cueball: Stop it! Stop it!
[Beret Guy is waist-deep, and snow caps have formed on the mountains. Cueball is falling backwards from his desk, and the monitor unplugs itself from his computer.]
Cueball: AUGH!

# Discussion

"In the end, much to Cueball's consternation, these mountains turn his desk and chair over. Cueball actually falls out of the frame in the final panel, where Beret Guy is already halfway down beneath the floor. This would not be possible in real life. [citation needed]" ...Hoping this is a joke...

Citation needed is a recurring joke on ExplainXKCD.[citation needed] PoolloverNathan (talk) 18:00, 19 January 2021 (UTC)

I'm assuming "subduction license" is being comically reinterpreted here from some other meaning. What is a subduction license, normally speaking? Jevicci (talk) 15:20, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

play on words with "production license".

Um, you're making it too easy to make me normal and rub away very fast 108.162.221.9 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm thinking the closest real term to "subduction license" is probably "Subversion License" - Subversion being a popular source code repository system. (Edit: Created a new account) KieferSkunk (talk) 21:02, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Nah, that's not it ... there's got to be some pun on license, or perhaps a term that sounds like -uction license. 173.245.54.159 23:14, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Could be the seduction license he should have applied for instead. He wishes to seduce his roommate, and has applied for a license for this. However he misunderstood the word and has applied for the other license, and has also read about it on Wikipedia ;-) Kynde (talk) 13:31, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Given Beret Guy's past and future expressions of unusual or impossible power, it's probably best to assume that it is literally a license that allows him to perform subduction. That it. -Pennpenn 108.162.250.162 05:59, 5 January 2016 (UTC)