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|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a FORMER SOCIAL-DISTANCER. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
This comic is another in a series of comics related to the 2020 pandemic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Randall has gotten tired of social distancing and wants to do the exact opposite when he can. The exact opposite of social distancing would be being crushed together by some sort of compactor.
Cueball and Megan are trying to push the walls of the trash compactor back in order to prevent it from pushing them closer to other people. The other attendees appear to be anxiously shying away from the inexorably increasing proximity of both of their neighbouring guests. This reflects the common current trend for many normal people to maintain exagerated personal space when meeting or passing other people out and about, compared with the pre-COVID era.
Though a significant proportion of the population seem to have returned to being oblivious to the pandemic (or to have stayed there, through it all) and eagerly socialise, often grossly breaking rules laid down to protect people, this gathering may have been mooted as a 'Covid-safe' gathering within the advice applicable to their locale (and time, as this is for "when it is all over"), and the narrowing space is perhaps even a surprise to most of them.
The trash compactor scenario is a TV and film trope. The title text references a high-profile instance of the trope from the original Star Wars film (later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope). Han Solo utters this quip shortly after he and several other main characters bail out of a firefight and land in a room full of trash. The walls then start closing in and, as in the comic, the characters are not enthused about being pushed ever closer together, and seek to push back on the walls before being crushed. Here, the quote also expresses a sense of (a new) hope: since a common symptom of COVID-19 is a loss of smell, the fact that the characters are all able to smell their surroundings suggests that the pandemic is gone.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
- [From left to right, Megan (sitting), Science Girl, White Hat, Ponytail, and Cueball are having a party. There are two machines on either side of the scene, moving the walls on the left and right ever-closer in. The machines have pistons which push the walls together, and their rods are more than long enough for the walls to meet in the middle and crush the group. Cueball and Megan are pressed up against the walls, trying to slow the advance. The other three characters appear anxious.]
- [Caption below the panel:]
- I'm planning a trash-compactor-themed party for when this is all over so we can get used to standing near each other again.
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