1106: ADD

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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20 balloons float away while I'm busy permanently tying one to a tree to deal with it for good. Unfortunately, that one balloon was 'land a rocket on the moon in Kerbal Space Program.'
Title text: 20 balloons float away while I'm busy permanently tying one to a tree to deal with it for good. Unfortunately, that one balloon was 'land a rocket on the moon in Kerbal Space Program.'


This comic appears to be a visual representation of the thought process of someone with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD (Which has been renamed to ADHD, for "Attention Deficit and Hyper-activity Disorder"). Various of Cueball's thoughts or tasks that he must do are represented by balloons which are rising out of his reach. He holds the "math problem" balloon and grabs the "call mom" balloon, but notices "check oven" is rising out of his reach. He abandons the two balloons he holds to dive and grab the "check oven" balloon. Of course, this allows the other two to rise, presumably out of Cueball's reach, as the pullout reveals a plethora of other balloons already rising too high, some of which describe actions required to live, like balloons marked "breathe" or "drink water". This visualizes how ADHD makes it incredibly difficult to multi-task, prioritize, and continually work on one task.

Cueball quickly drops one task to take on another, only to jump to yet another task before that one is done; showing how the person with ADHD feels; that while they are focusing on one task, 20 others are getting away from them. The title text further reinforces this, noting that while committing to actually complete one task (represented by tying a balloon to a tree), 20 others floated away. The task he chose to complete is (as stereotypical for someone with ADHD), a task that results in no necessary accomplishment — the task is to land a rocket on the moon (Mun) in Kerbal Space Program, a PC-based spaceflight simulator and video game. Additional humor comes from the fact that landing a rocket on the moon in Kerbal Space Program would require a lot of repetition through trial-and-error, making a long and involved task during which many other important tasks might be ignored normally.


[Cueball is holding a balloon with "Math Problem" written on it. He is running to grab a balloon labeled "Call Mom" that is floating away.]
[Cueball is now holding both balloons, but looks over his shoulder and sees a balloon that reads "Check Oven".]
Cueball: !!
[Cueball releases the balloons he had been holding and runs for the third.]
[Cueball jumps for the "Check Oven" balloon and snatches it just before it is out of reach.]
Cueball: Hah!
[Full width panel showing 16 balloons floating away and one Cueball is holding. The balloons are different sizes and colors, and are floating at different heights. They are labeled as follows from left to right. Listed as * Label - color - height order (1 is the lowest balloon). Listed as * Label - size - size order (A is smallest)]
  • Parking Meter - blue - 11M
  • Taxes - green - 3K
  • Buy Soap - red - 12I
  • Phone Call - green - 7H
  • Relax - yellow - 6C
  • Inbox - blue - 9G
  • Clean - red - 13O
  • Beat Game - green - 4D
  • Feed Cat - yellow - 8L
  • Drink Water - blue - 15Q
  • Call Mom - red - 2A
  • Math Problem - green - 3B
  • Send Card - red - 14J
  • Check Oven (Cueball is holding this one still) - yellow - 1E
  • Engine Light - yellow - 10F
  • Read - blue - 16N
  • Breathe - blue - 5P

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We are lucky for the comic title, since otherwise I wouldn't be so sure this only apply to people with ADD ... in current world, there are so many things wanting your attention that they may overhelm even normal people (of course not so easily). --Hkmaly (talk) 08:21, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

I agree. You don't have to be ADD to relate. Then again, doesn't everyone who isn't autistic have some amount of attention deficit? It seems like everyone fits under one label or the other these days. -- 21:33, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey, I'm autistic and I have ADD. 22:00, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
[Message deleted for harmful content]
I think that's very little data to go on to jump to "a psychiatrist wants your money". Axes to grind best left out of casual, low-information exchanges on the internet I think. 05:15, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Oi, I know someone who has autism, it is on NO MEANS the parents fault or the kid's laziness. It is IMPOSSIBLE to "make the most out of this" and be productive if you had seen someone try to focus on this., please think how these people feel before commenting. See 481: Listen to Yourself and 202: YouTube.Dontknow (talk) 04:53, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Let's settle this. I am diagnosed with ADHD and autism. The psychiatrist means well, and is probably right about autism. With ADHD, you probably also have this but most people on the medicine don't actually need the medicine. Of course, if you are not in the USA/Germany, this doesn't apply
It does closely resemble the executive dysfunction (and/or 'task intertia') experienced by some autistic people. Definitely can relate to this comic via executive dysfunction, though I don't have ADD. 05:15, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

you're not allowed to have both? 21:48, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Is there an opposite to autism/ADD where you find them all interesting as hell and are able to pick and choose and have an hell of a time but get put off easily by failure except where you stick at the one that is widely believed to be impossible because everyone else fails too and it's OK and you eventually find the various solutions to it all?

And nobody cares? I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:33, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

It's called "perfection"Dontknow (talk) 04:53, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Delete Discussion Box[edit]

Is it possible to delete this discussion box? There's a lot of harmful comments about ADHD and Autism, and I really don't think that visitors to this site would appreciate this blatant ableism. If it's not possible to get rid of the box, can we please get rid of the comments? Thank you. TrippCeyssens (talk) 20:26, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

This issue has now been addressed.


For the transcript, can we think of a way to convey not just the left-to-right balloon order (as the transcript for the full-width panel currently indicates) but also the relative height of each balloon? River 04:31, 13 March 2021 (UTC)River

I added numbers for the height, not a perfect solution though. toby1 (talk) 07:22, 29 April 2024 (UTC)