1746: Making Friends
Title text: "This seems more like a way to attract turkey vultures." "My mom always told me a turkey vulture is just a friend you haven't met yet, usually because you don't smell enough like decaying meat."
This is a common problem, or maybe rather an advantage of going to school. In school you are forced together with a group of people you have to see every day and work together with in groups. This is a great catalyst for making new friends. In the early grades the kids haven't had time to form many friendships so they are ready to make new friends, and later in college the young people often move away from their home town, and thus have no friends in their new town, and are again ready to make friends. Later in life it is rare to be put in a similar situation, and the people you do meet might already have several friends; for most people there is usually a rather low limit on how many friends it is possible to keep close. Thus many feel it is hard to make new friends compared to when they went to school.
Cueball has a solution, but it is very weird. He says he pretends to be injured, and then, as if he were a weak animal on the savanna, he expects other people to begin circling around him, not directly to eat him, but to take his food, shelter and nutrients. This is a weird formulation as nutrients is what you get from your food, so either he is referring twice to his food, or he actually refers to his value as nutrient (i.e. food) for another being. Also it is unlikely for a person to steal his shelter, unless this refers to his clothing, as "the shelter" would usually be seen as a normal person's house, which is rather hard to take , especially if the person is renting and it belongs to someone else.
He then talks about these possible future friends as if they will descend on him, making it sound even more like they are birds hanging above him like vultures. But his plan is to start telling these people who are ready to rob him of his life support cool facts about space before they get a chance to descend, and then make them like him based on this knowledge. And then before they know what hit them, they are instantly his friends. If this were actually about vultures, his method could be used to trap said vultures, a trick that might be used to try and capture vultures by tricking them to come down in order to eat them yourself (if stuck in a desert, etc).
Cueball seems to think this is a fantastic idea, as shown by his arm gestures. But Ponytail seems to think otherwise. Her comment this explains a lot is probably a reference to other strange habits of Cueball that she has observed. Or his lack of other friends. Or there was a story about how they met that had confused her until this conversation occurred...
The logic of Cueball's "friends" could be that Cueball is extremely rich. If he pretends to be near death, some cynics might try to become closer to Cueball to gain at least some of Cueball's wealth upon his death.
In the title text Ponytail mentions that what Cueball has just described fits well with the behavior of turkey vultures rather than humans. Turkey vultures are a type of bird of prey which feeds on carrion. They are known to identify and circle weak, injured, dead or dying animals so they can eat them (take their nutrients).
As they are animals they would not care about cool facts about space, but Cueball did seem to talk about other humans in the main comic. The title text, however, goes even further out this line and have Cueball cite his mom: "My mom always told me a turkey vulture is just a friend you haven't met yet, usually because you don't smell enough like decaying meat." This is a reference to the old saying: "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet", and the action of the vultures eating dead animals.
Smelling of decaying meat would be likely to attract the vultures but it should be noted that this is likely to drive away most other potential (human) friends, as most people don't like the smell of decaying meat.  Also, there is very little reason to believe that you could become friends with vultures , although if you get up and show that you are not really injured, they are likely to give up and fly away rather than attack you, unless they are starving.
Vultures hanging in the air over prey that is about to die, was also the subject of 926: Time Vulture. Saying cool things about space, hoping that people like you, was the subject of 1644: Stargazing. The comic 1485: Friendship, was not about friendship...
- [Cueball is walking with Ponytail holding her arms out while talking.]
- Ponytail: Making friends is so much harder once you're out of school.
- Ponytail: Everyone's so busy. And how do you even meet people?
- [In this frame-less panel Cueball raises his arms in front of his chest while they walk on.]
- Cueball: Here's what I do:
- Cueball: I pretend to be weak and injured, and wait for others to start circling, hoping to take my food, shelter, and nutrients.
- [Cueball stop walking and lifts both arms straight out as Ponytail turns towards him.]
- Cueball: Then, before they can descend, I start telling them cool facts about space until they like me.
- Cueball: Bam, friendship!
- Ponytail: This explains a lot.
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