2346: COVID Risk Comfort Zone

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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COVID Risk Comfort Zone
I'm like a vampire, except I'm not crossing that threshold even if you invite me.
Title text: I'm like a vampire, except I'm not crossing that threshold even if you invite me.


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A comic with three panels is shown [First panel, large. There are 2 Cueballs each wearing masks. One appears to be in a doorway that leads into a building.]

Label atop panel: Too Indirect
Cueball inside doorway: You have to come inside.
Cueball outside: Ok, but... I've been trying to follow the science, and they're really emphasizing the transmission risk in enclosed spaces. I know you're wearing a mask, and I feel so awkward making a scene over a tiny risk. But I'm trying to keep my overall risk acceptably low, which means having simple rules so I don't overthink every minor decision. See, if you look at this spreadsheet-

[Second panel, smaller. Only the Cueball outside is shown now]

Label atop panel: Direct
Cueball outside: I'm so sorry, but I'm avoiding shared indoor spaces unless it's an emergency.

[Third panel, even smaller. Only the Cueball outside is shown]

Label atop panel: Too Direct
Cueball outside: I'm not setting foot in your haunted plague box.
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The current text seems more like a comment than an explanation. Darthpoppins (talk) 21:03, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

I see "explanation" crossing over into "comment". Comment often is a necessary part of xkcd explanation since Randall's mind works funny. In this case I think the comic shows *some* ways to say "no" in *one* situation, but neither is comprehensive. Also, in this case, Cueball isn't being "invited" but directed if someone says "You have to come inside", although we don't know if the context is "Come see the virtual reality room I just installed" or "Could you instead just tell me your electricity meter reading?" So you could say "No" but it may defeat the purpose of your journey. Better would be "What about the coronavirus?" although you are already not on the same page about that. Nevertheless, I think what's called for is negotiation. This can include exploring whether the other person has, or has had, the virus, and whether you have, or will pretend that you may have it. I also favour holding your breath while you pass close to someone. Robert Carnegie [email protected] 15:38, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

I'm just going to put the original explanation here: As a fourth option, Randall might consider taking the advice that "'No' is a complete sentence" -- we don't know the context of the situation presented here, but unless there truly is some urgent reason that he would ordinarily "have" to go inside but for COVID (and from the second option, we know there's no such emergency here), he's just being invited inside, and he doesn't need to provide any justification at all for refusing. 00:25, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

Mis-centered headline

I notice the comic's headline is inexplicably aligned over the first and second panels, rather than the full width of the comic, and it bothers me that nobody is talking about that. 05:02, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

Relative mask sizes

Inside Cueball's mask is much smaller/covers less of his face than outside Cueball's mask. However, neither the dialogue nor Title Text mention it. It seems that Inside Cueball's mask might leave his nose or mouth exposed. Perhaps Randall considered this as a topic in the comic, but later discarded it yet left the mask sizes different? -- special:contribs/

Only barrel boy and the girl in Spanish class have a nose and mouth, no other xkcd characters have faces, so that doesn't quite apply. -- special/contribs/
7 shows no face. 20:56, 18 January 2022 (UTC)