20: Ferret

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My brother had a ferret he loved which died since I drew this strip. RIP.
Title text: My brother had a ferret he loved which died since I drew this strip. RIP.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball's (Cueball-like) friend makes fun of his imagination that involves a flying ferret, and then suggests to go play video games instead . This shows the irony of his definition of "imagination." He makes fun of Cueball's creative fantasy while instead opting for a mass-produced fantasy.

The fact that Cueball lies about his goal could be a commentary on abandoning dreams to avoid confronting societal expectations.

The title text refers to the fact Randall's brother in real life had such a pet ferret. Originally Randall drew this comic while the ferret was still alive. And then it died in between his posting it on LiveJournal and reposting it with a title text on the new xkcd site. He know wished that it will rest in peace. "RIP" stands for "Rest In Peace", from the original Latin "Requiescat in pace" as derived from a traditional Catholic burial service. The initialism or phrase was commonly placed on gravestones to indicate the hope that, in whatever existence the deceased now finds him- or herself, he or she may have peace. It has become a frequent motif in cartoons to indicate the death of an individual or character, which has likely contributed to its widespread use to denote the passing of a person, pet, or even abstract concept in popular culture, outside of Catholicism. The ferret returns in 31: Barrel - Part 5 and did in this way become part of the Barrel series.

[edit] Transcript

[A color drawing of a ferret with airplane wings and tail on it.]
[Two Cueball and his Cueball-like friend (to the left) are talking.]
Friend: Why on earth did you make those wings? You don't seriously think they could let your ferret fly, right?
Cueball: I... of course not.
[They continue to talk.]
Cueball: That would be pretty dumb. It's just, uh... ...a Halloween costume.
Friend: oh, okay.
[They continue to talk. But now the head of the ferret can be seen to the far right on a table.]
Friend: Besides, who would want a pet to fly anyway?
Cueball: Yeah. Pretty lame, huh?
[The friend leaves the frame while Cueball stays. The ferret cannot be seen,]
Friend: Anyway, let's go play video games.
[Cueball stands behind after his friend has left. He looks back towards his Ferret which can be seen more clearly this time standing on the table.]
[Cueball imagines ferret flying over the ocean near the beach using his makeshift wings. The imagination is in color]

[edit] Trivia

  • One of the original drawings drawn on checkered paper.
  • Randall's original comment: "My brother has a ferret. He holds it like that and generally adores it. I have to concede that it's pretty cute, if smelly."
  • This is the 19th comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous was 19: George Clinton. The next was 21: Kepler.

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The wings are gonna have to be waay bigger if that plane is gonna fly. Davidy22[talk] 04:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if the flying ferret has anything to do with Richard Bach, a noted aviation author who published a series of flying books called "The Ferret Chronicles" in 2002-2003? -- 21:58, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

This is the saddest strip of all! Saijm4444 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Jonathan Livingston Ferret. anonymous (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Could this comic be where the FlyingFerret IRC bot in #xkcd on foonetic.net was originally conceived? 23:55, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
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