Megan and Cueball are being haunted by a ghost dedicated to making people feel old. It seems to be a strip like 973: Movie Generations, but then the ghost reveals that Megan and Cueball will die in a shorter amount of time than the ghost's first fact: in a few seconds. For obvious reasons, this disturbs them.
A lot of the facts seem to fit information that sites like http://you.regettingold.com/ would provide. But I'll leave it up to someone else to work out the dates of everything (except for the imminent and possibly eerie deaths of the strip characters) being referenced, and thus what ages Randall is assuming the various cohorts are... 18.104.22.168 04:58, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Forrest Gump the book - 1986
Forrest Gump the movie - 1994
Vietnam War - 1955 to 1975
Keanu Reeves - born 1965 (age 49)
The Simpsons season 5 - 1993 Dude1818 (talk) 05:15, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure you all remember Cautionary Ghost; there's got to be a lot of those around in the xkcd universe... 22.214.171.124 07:23, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't know enough about the English usage of the term to see the connection, but could this be a play on "zeitgeist", seeing how it is a literal translation of the word? 126.96.36.199 Tobl
Maybe it is just me, but I don't see the characters' deaths as imminent. In the first panel, Megan is not suprised to see that ghost and can even identify it easily. So my guess is that she previously met the ghost "some time" before, but she (obviously) doesn't like to know how much time she has left to live. 188.8.131.52 08:12, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
(average age of new grandparents is less than 50)  184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- can I site xkcd:1393 as a source for that data?220.127.116.11 09:17, 11 July 2014 (UTC)BLuDgeons
Google gives 25 as the average age people get their first child. Wikipedia also says Eminem rose to mainstream popularity in 1999 (His debut was earlier but the comic says "when Eminem got big", a subjective term but the 1999 figure might be more accurate?) This also makes season 5/6 of the Simpsons at age 4/5 the earliest age most people remember well.
Maybe change the dates to 1989, 1993 and 1999 for parenthood, simpsons and eminem respectively?
Parent age: http://www.babycenter.com/0_surprising-facts-about-birth-in-the-united-states_1372273.bc?page=2 (questionable maybe)
Eminem got big: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminem (Second paragraph, subjective)
Earliest memories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia (Second paragraph, personal recollection offset is 4.5 years)18.104.22.168 09:46, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
- I can't find a current number, but extrapolation from this chart would put the average parent age for their first child at 25 or maybe 26. 28 is the average parent age for any child. Condor70 (talk) 12:34, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
How can we say that the time-ghost only first appeared in the beginning of this particular comic? In the first panel Megan seems to recognize the time-ghost, inferring that she's met him before - but Cueball has not. Jarod997 (talk) 12:29, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
- Implying. 22.214.171.124 05:47, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I do not know about the proper etiquette for submitting possible edits to the explanations.
Should "[...] than the time that has past since the ghost's began its" become "[...] than the time that has passed since the ghost began its"?
Zyzygy (talk) 9:24, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
- Looks reasonable. When you see lexical errors like that, feel free to just change it yourself. Davidy²²[talk] 11:02, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
So, how old is Randall? 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
We need a category for "comics that make people feel old", if we don't already have one. You know, like that one with the eight-year-old talking about 9/11. If we do, just add this comic to it. 188.8.131.52 22:53, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
RE The Simpsons: If you had a tape or boxset you may remember more of seasons 1-4, because you watched it over and over. Also at the time, seasons 1 and 2 were entering rerun territory/premiering in other countries (see below). The strange thing is, Network Ten in Australia used to regularly broadcast episodes dating back to at least season 3 during my childhood (late '90s and early 2000s'), but now the earliest episodes they play are from seasons 4-6, minimum. 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Nobody seems to interpret the last Time Ghost statement the way I did, so I thought I would list my perspective here. Death is when one stops existing. When do Megan and Cueball stop existing in this comic? When the strip is over. It started its haunting three panels ago, and they all die in one panel. 220.127.116.11 13:00, 19 December 2015 (UTC)