Title text: It's like the squirt bottle we use with the cat.
In all of philosophy, perhaps the most important questions consider the meaning of life and can be expressed as "Why are we here?" or "What does it all mean?" Many philosophers and theologians have attempted to answer the question over the course of human history, and every religion claims to have some sort of answer.
Megan has been considering that the question is essentially meaningless. However, if that is true, she can't understand why it continues to be in her thoughts. This might feel frustrating for Megan. Two of her friends (both Cueball-like) notice that she is seemingly stuck in this existential question and have a short-term solution for her. One friend reaches for a Super Soaker 50, a powerful toy squirt gun, to shoot at Megan while she is having an existential crisis. (Megan uses this soaker later against Cueball in 517: Marshmallow Gun and 2334: Slide Trombone, and in comic 625: Collections, she has another one of her crises.)
The title text refers to the operant conditioning technique (a form of behavioral modification) commonly used with house cats. If they start scratching the furniture, many people spray them with a squirt bottle (since they hate water) to discourage that behavior (though it seldom works). It may also allude to the idea of hitting a break key where a program is stuck in a logical loop.
- [Megan sits on a chair for two panels without moving.]
- [In the third panel, Megan has still not moved but makes the following comment to no one in particular.]
- Megan: If the question of what it all means doesn't mean anything, why do I keep coming back to it?
- [Two Cueball-like friends of Megan are talking to each other. One of them is standing behind the office chair in which the other friend is sitting, behind a desk with a computer. The standing friend starts to walk toward Megan. The sitting friend pulls a large yellow and green super soaker from a drawer.]
- Standing friend: She's getting existential again.
- Sitting friend: It's okay, I have a super soaker.
- Randall himself uploaded the strip's fourth panel to Wikimedia Commons (here) for use on xkcd's Wikipedia article. xkcd is licenced under this Creative Commons license, which is incompatible with this CC license that Wikipedia uses, because the latter allows commercial use. Randall says here that he is willing to unlock more strips to Commons for similar purposes.
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