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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Update Your Address
This is my four-digit PIN. It was passed down to me by my father, and someday I will pass it on to you. Unless we figure out how to update it, but that sounds complicated.
Title text: This is my four-digit PIN. It was passed down to me by my father, and someday I will pass it on to you. Unless we figure out how to update it, but that sounds complicated.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by someone with an OLD ADDRESS. There is no explanation. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

In this comic, Cueball is facing several instances where entities asking or confirming his address find that the address they possess is incorrect - each address is progressively more outdated. In the final comic, Cueball gives up and confirms that yes, he is still living in a country that hasn't existed for over a century.

Inaccurate addresses may be a common problem for someone who has moved constantly in his lifetime. Alternatively, Cueball and his family do not find it important to update addresses for those particular businesses / entities.

Austria-Hungary was a European empire that existed between 1867 and 1918, dissolving during World War I. It is possible that Cueball's ancestors hail from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, though it would be even more absurd for that to be used as an address, given that the polity ended a century ago, whereas the earliest programmable computer was created 20 years after the country was dissolved and personal/small business computers approximately 40 years after that.

Ash Tree Lane refers to House of Leaves, a postmodern novel from 2000 in which one of many nested plots involves a house on Ash Tree Lane that is bigger on the inside than on the outside, and in fact contains a labyrinth with a minotaur. The book, and Ash Tree Lane specifically, have previously been referenced in 472: House of Pancakes and 886: Craigslist Apartments.

The title text treats bank accounts (and the PIN numbers needed to access them) as though they were physical heirlooms passed down generation to generation. The patent for PIN codes was submitted in May 1966, and the first public use of a PIN code was in 1967, when Barclays used them to process cheques at automated teller machines. It would be unusual for Cueball to inherit both an active bank account and the PIN associated with it -- when a person with a bank account dies, the bank usually closes the account altogether and transfers the money to a separate account of whomever is named the beneficiary. Treating the account number and/or its PIN as though they were physical heirlooms plays into the joke of them not changing through the years (due to the apparent difficulty of updating them).


[Cueball is standing, holding a phone.]
Voice: Do you still live at 342 River St?
Cueball: No, I moved last year.
[Cueball is standing behind a counter with Hairy, whose hands are on a keyboard.]
Hairy: Is 21 Ash Tree Lane still a good address?
Cueball: What? That's my childhood home. How is that even in your system?
[Cueball is holding a phone again in a borderless panel.]
Voice: The address we have is 205 Second St #2.
Cueball: I... think that's where my parents lived before I was born!?
[Cueball stands behind another counter with Ponytail and a tablet.]
Ponytail: Are you still living in... "The Austro-Hungarian Empire?"
Cueball: You know what, sure.
Ponytail: Austria-Hungary dissolved in 1918.
Cueball: Well, I come from a long line of people who hate updating stuff.

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