Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We already have 5 comic explanations!
(But there are still 1669 to go. Come and add yours!)
Go to this comic
Title text: (1) That shopping cart is full of AirHeads, and (2) I died at 41 from what the AirHeads company spokesperson called 'probably natural causes.'
In this comic, Cueball performs several mundane 'adult' tasks, namely shopping for groceries, buying furniture, and applying for a mortgage. In each instance thought bubbles show his apparent surprise or bemusement at the fact that he is behaving like an adult.
In the last panel Megan is reading Cueball's will. Instead of containing standard language, its expresses Cueball's feelings at the fact that he was actually creating a will.
Munroe frequently addresses the issue of growing up and being expected to be an adult, despite still seeing oneself as a child in many ways. In this strip, Cueball finds himself performing tasks that he's used to thinking of as things that grown-ups have to worry about, from shopping for food to preparing for one's own death. In each case, he treats the situation as if he were a child suddenly finding himself taking on adult responsibility, which seems to be how he sees himself.
Munroe frequently addresses the issue of finding oneself in adulthood, despite feeling unprepared and immature. In some, he points out that this can be freeing, because it allows us the power to redefine adulthood on our own terms (see 150: Grownups and 219: Blanket Fort). In others (as in this case), he addresses the surprise that comes with realizing that adult responsibilities belong to you, and fear about his ability to handle them (see 905: Homeownership and 616: Lease).
AirHeads are a tangy, taffy-like, chewy candy, predominantly known for its sweet taste and texture. The title text suggests Cueball still retains some more childish instincts, namely using the freedom of adulthood to indulge in AirHead candies, to fatal consequences. It also suggests that the candy company would be quick to portray that death as "natural causes", to downplay the involvement of their product in someone's death.
- [Cueball is holding onto a shopping cart.]
- Cueball (thinking): Haha, look at me grocery shopping! I'm such an adult.
- [Cueball is standing in front of a sofa.]
- Cueball (thinking): Buying a sofa! Ooh, look how domestic I am!
- [Cueball is sitting at a desk writing something with another Cueball on the opposite side of the desk.]
- Cueball (thinking): Applying for a mortgage! As if I'm a real grown-up.
- [Megan is reading from a piece of paper in front of a desk with Hairbun, Hairy, and White Hat behind it.]
- Megan: ...And I, being of sound mind and body, am totally writing a will right now!
- Megan: Can you believe this?
Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.
You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.
- List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!
Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
Please only submit material directly related to—and helping everyone better understand—xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.
If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.
Explain xkcd logo courtesy of User:Alek2407.