722: Computer Problems
Title text: This is how I explain computer problems to my cat. My cat usually seems happier than me.
Cueball explains to Megan that he is having computer problems. Normally, he is able to manipulate a "pattern" on his "metal rectangle full of little lights" (a reasonable, if oversimplified description of generated images displayed on a monitor). Today, however, the "pattern" is "all wrong". Megan suggests that he might be able to fix it by pressing more buttons, but following her advice doesn't seem to have the desired effect.
According to the title text, Randall uses a similar technique to explain his computer problems to his cat. Some cats have the habit to walk over or lie on keyboards (pressing a lot of buttons) or to lie on it (because keyboards of notebooks are designed to dispense heat, which many cats enjoy sleeping on). This is, however, not to fix a "pattern" which they usually don't care about but rather to get the same attention the keyboard receives from the cat's owner. "My cat seems happier than me," implies that "pressing buttons to make the pattern [of the 'metal rectangle full of lights'] change," makes a person less happy. Randall's cat is happier than he is because Randall's cat does not have to deal with computer problems.
As evidenced by both past and future comics, Randall likes to make an effort to explain things for simple minds.
Speculatively, Randall may be commenting on the abstract nature of events that effect Cueball's happiness or well being. While the work Cueball does on the computer seems very important to him, the deconstructed version as discussed by Megan and Cueball make his resulting distress seem out of proportion. This interpretation is further supported by the title text in which Randall's cat, unaware of more abstract representations of activity on the computer, enjoys greater happiness overall. 889: Turtles explores a similar theme.
- [Cueball and Megan are looking at his computer, on the desk.]
- Cueball: You know this metal rectangle full of little lights?
- Megan: Yeah.
- Cueball: I spend most of my life pressing buttons to make the pattern of lights change however I want.
- Megan: Sounds good.
- Cueball: But today, the pattern of lights is all wrong!
- Megan: Oh god! Try pressing more buttons!
- Cueball: IT'S NOT HELPING!
- The concept of using simple English to explain complicated problems was first used in 547: Simple and has been revisited in 1133: Up Goer Five, 1322: Winter, 1364: Like I'm Five 1436: Orb Hammer, 2163: Chernobyl and of course Thing Explainer. See Category:Simplified language.
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