187: The Familiar

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
The Familiar
When I say we should do something sometime, I'm secretly hoping you'll say 'Why not now?'
Title text: When I say we should do something sometime, I'm secretly hoping you'll say 'Why not now?'


Cueball's friend asks him to go with him to view the sunrise over the ocean. Cueball refuses by giving a list of excuses, including the statement that "rationalizing the familiar is easy." This statement is amusing, because Cueball acknowledges the fact that he is making excuses and seems to refuse going out on the basis that rationalizing going to see the sunrise would require much more effort. This criticizes some people's tendency of not trying new things or going out with friends, even though one would likely get more fulfillment by doing these things. It may well be implied that the friend doing the inviting has left to view the sunrise, leaving Cueball behind since he wasn't willing to engage in an activity.

The computer with the egg-shaped profile looks like an iMac G3, sold from 1998 until 2003. It seems that rationalizing the familiar has made Cueball resistant to upgrading his computer long beyond its obsolescence date.

The title text indicates Randall's frustration with this mentality and his hope that when he wants to make plans with someone, they are just as eager.


[A guy is standing behind his friend who sits at a computer. Both look like Cueball.]
Guy: Let's go see sunrise over the ocean.
[The friend turns and replies:]
Friend: That's a long drive, it's cold, I'm tired, and rationalizing the familiar is easy.
[The guy leaves, and in the next two frames, the friend remains at his computer alone.]

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Do you think this has anything to do with the Animorphs book The Familiar? It has the same title, and Randall has shown that he likes Animorphs before. 15:09, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Cueball is an invention by this Wiki and other sites discussing about xkcd. But he is always an active person who likes the nature. The both persons should be switched.--Dgbrt (talk) 18:10, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

It is not possible to say what Cueball likes the best, since he is not always the same from comic to comic. See the Cueball page. --Kynde (talk) 14:06, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

There is a community portal discussion of what to call Cueball and what to do in case with more than one Cueball. I have added this comic to the new Category:Multiple Cueballs. In this case there is no reason to call one Cueball and the other friend. It could easily be the other way. So I have changed to remove Cueball.--Kynde (talk) 14:06, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

I interpreted the 3rd panel with the unmotivated conversant alone, as indicating that his friend went without him. The addition of the 4th panel, with him still alone, implies the somewhat deflated feeling of having left behind and miss out on life because of lack of motivation. Mountain Hikes (talk) 01:00, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

The 4th panel actually indicates that the previous statment "im tired" is just a lazy excuse that always works, because in fact it is easy to stay awake for hours after the discussion. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Is anyone else bothered by the lack of the word "the" before "sunrise" in the first panel? 17:01, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

I think that "The Familiar" refers to the 4th slide, which is not so easy to rationalize. When you all alone again and trying to figure out how that happened. 18:00, 12 June 2018 (UTC)