39: Bowl

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 22:55, 22 November 2013 by (talk) (Explanation: Yay surrealism!)
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For the moment it's a standoff
Title text: For the moment it's a standoff


The comic roughly parodies a situation in which two characters are seeing who can wait longer to get the result they want. However in the comic, the model sailing ship is not alive and doesn't experience time (except perhaps if it absorbs water and falls apart). The comic compares the patience of a boy with that of an inanimate object. Also, it could imply that the boy has too much time on his hands.

Like many of the earlier comics, some of this comic's humor comes from the surreality of the situation. The gravity of the boy's statement is juxtaposed with the insignificance of a child's toy floating in a bowl of water. On one level, the absurdity of this is funny in itself; on another level, the audience is invited to imagine what might possibly be going through the boy's mind to make him take this toy and bowl so seriously.


[A boy is glaring at a model sailing ship floating in a bowl of water.]
Boy: Sooner or later, my friend, one of us will run out of time.


  • Original Randall quote: "This is not the barrel boy. Current Mood: Final Exam-y"
  • This is the forty-first comic originally posted to livejournal. The previous was 43: Red Spiders 2. The next was 45: Schrodinger

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How do we know that there isn't someone on the boat? They may be waiting for the boy to go to sleep before trying to escape. 01:43, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Actually, this is an alternate ending to the clasic early eighties adventure movie "Time Bandits", but I would not expect you to know that as "you are so mercilessly free from the ravages of intelligence".--TheTimeBandit (talk) 21:52, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Agreed: There are several scenarios, including I think a Heinlein short story, Time Bandits, and others. Or it could even be some other situation Randal{1,2} just made up. The assumption that this is a child staring down an inanimate object is a bit of a leap. It's a plurality likelyhood at best. — Kazvorpal (talk) 01:16, 24 April 2019 (UTC)