647: Scary

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 20:24, 11 September 2012 by Lcarsos (talk | contribs) (Added comic header, replaced explanation, added transcript, added links to wikipedia, and character rob)
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I'm teaching every 8-year-old relative to say this, and every 14-year-old to do the same thing with Toy Story.  Also, Pokemon hit the US over a decade ago and kids born after Aladdin came out will turn 18 next year.
Title text: I'm teaching every 8-year-old relative to say this, and every 14-year-old to do the same thing with Toy Story. Also, Pokemon hit the US over a decade ago and kids born after Aladdin came out will turn 18 next year.


No hidden meaning here, but this sure is scary. What's being implied here is that time is moving really quickly and we're getting older faster than we think. Events that seem like they "just happened" have happened long enough ago for a whole other person to come into existence, grow up, and learn to carry on a conversation.

September 11, 2001 was the day several terrorists flew airplanes into several famous buildings in the U.S. Most famously both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center collapsed planes flew into them. Another plane flew into the Pentagon. A fourth plane, United Flight 93 appears to have been headed for the Capitol Building, but the passengers managed to overcome the hijackers and crash the plane in a field. All non-essential flights over the United States were grounded for quite some time.


[Rob and his nephew are sitting on the ground. Rob is holding a flashlight up to his face.]
Nephew: Lame story, Uncle Rob.
Rob: And you could do scarier?
Nephew: Sure.

Rob: Try me.
Nephew: 9/11 happened before I was born, yet I'm old enough to have this conversation with you.

[Rob has dropped the flashlight.]

[Rob has curled up and wrapped his arms around himself.]

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Not wishing to detract from the gravity of the 9/11 events (expounded at very great length), but the first thing we read, "...never found the ghosts head", is perhaps a lighter parody of the kind of endings that accompany "It was a dark and stormy night..." at the start. Usually in a ghost and/or a horror story (headless ghosts aside) it's usually a newly-found corpse whose head is missing. Hence there's strange imagery involved in the concept of a decapitated ghost (as opposed to a ghost of a decapitee). It could have been an interestingly compounded set of tropes, of course, but given its apparent lameness it probably wasn't. 17:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

They never found any traces of firemen in the ruins of the twin towers did they? No fireproof, extremely hardwearing clothing, nor axes, gas cylinders etc.? Horrific or what?
And the layer at the top of the mounds should have contained some traces of human DNA. Right?
That's more horrific. -- Weatherlawyer (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Using movies as a reference for making people feel old and scared about how fast time flies was used also in http://xkcd.com/891/ -- 12:03, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Children born after xkcd first came out are now old enough to have this conversation. 19:12, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Warning: it is not a good idea to consider how much further we are from this comic, than this comic was from the events it describes. -- 18:26, 23 September 2021 (UTC)

I was born after 9/11, yet I am old enough to read this comic.

Two years from now, people born after the turn of the millennium will start to graduate high school. International Space Station (talk) 05:16, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

I just saw this comic (again) today, and also a highlighted German wikipedia article regarding a photography of the smoke clouds. The look/stlye of the people in it (their appearing carelessnes was also discussed in the article) made it clear to me again how LONG this was ago. People looked as in "Full house" or "Friends". (Another take - not related to the photopgraphy - is, that the time between the fall of the Berlin wall, and the attack on the WTC was far less than the time since the attack.) --Lupo (talk) 09:02, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

A comment on the actual comic instead of the passage of time ... nobody mentioned Cueball's skull imploding in the last panel? Nitpicking (talk) 11:58, 8 May 2022 (UTC)

I read it as a furrowed forehead. Albeit that a non-linedrawing head does this with mostly just by wrinkles that emerge as the face frowns, the options for portraying this with Randall's penmanship of semi-ovoid heads (surprisingly expressive, you can get the direction and attitude from the sweep of the 'brush'!) requires something different.
As an 'early' comic, I think it is different from how contemporary ones would do it. Some 'grizzle' lines emanating from the character's head, or floating punctuation. Perhaps even finer forehead lines on the (already more nuanced) head-space?
Though modern Cueballs don't tend to face the 'camera' as much as this one does. With exceptions, they tend to be more in profile (however much up and down they may face, it's often more left/right than here). I have an image in mind of a "straight towards the reader" cueball head... I can't remember which comic it might have been, but it was early-to-mid era and not at all recent. 14:26, 8 May 2022 (UTC)