2374: 10,000 Hours

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10,000 Hours
I'm proud to announce that as of this year I've become a world-class expert at chewing.
Title text: I'm proud to announce that as of this year I've become a world-class expert at chewing.


Popular smartphone operating systems automatically record the amount of time the user spends using their phone, broken down by time spent in each app. This feature is supposed to allow users to analyze their own habits. On iOS, this feature is called Screen Time. On Android, it is called Digital Wellbeing. Such analyses are typically presented to show users how much time they spend on their devices, with the implication that they should spend less time on screens. Accordingly, higher amounts of time on a device can give feelings of guilt and unhappiness.

This comic inverts the idea by referencing "the 10,000 hours thing". This is a (somewhat dismissive) reference to the notion that at least 10,000 hours of practice are required to become an expert in any given field. This notion was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in the book "Outliers", and has frequently been misunderstood to imply that anyone who practices anything for 10,000 hours will become an expert.

In this comic, Cueball's phone tells him that, assuming that the 10,000-hour idea is correct, he is now an expert, implying that he's spent 10,000 cumulative hours on his phone. The 10,000-hour refrain usually pertains to skill-based tasks, such as arts or athletics. Spending time one one's phone requires almost no skill, and it's unlikely that he spent all, or even most of that time focused on a particular set of skills. The joke is that Cueball has spent a huge amount of time on largely frivolous activities, and has now become a "world-class expert" in browsing, playing and texting on his phone.

Randall often pokes fun at his extensive screen time, such as in 2223: Screen Time.

The title text refers to the fact that people eat a lot, 1-2 hours a day, though not all of this time is spent chewing. At the time of this comic's publication, Randall was just over 36 years old (13,151 days), so he has spent a large amount of time eating, well over 10,000 hours. It could also be a reference to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes (which has been referenced before), in which Calvin refers to routines he has created to improve at chewing.


[Cueball is staring at his phone. A report from the phone is shown above his head]
If you buy into the "10,000 hours" thing, you are now a world-class expert!
[Caption below comic]
My screen time reports have started trying to put a positive spin on things.

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Sorry for the kinda bad explanation, this is my first time editing on this wiki 00:45, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Its fine! Donthaveusername (talk) 00:53, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Usually when I wake up and open this site, I am greeted with atleast 5 paragraphs of writing, but this time I got to see only 2. So that gave me an idea. Let's make this the smallest explanation in the entire site! To make that record, let's condense the sentences to make it even shorter!The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk 03:09, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

I'm all for short explanations to the point. Most of the most recent (ie the 1000 or so) are far too long. I even once saw some "incomplete" explanation where the reason for it being inclomplete was "it's too short". What gives... Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:04, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
That being said, I agree. The current explanation seems to be pretty much complete. Maybe some citation for the "2 hours eating" thing is missing but that's it. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:09, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
Done. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:13, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
Kinda spoilt it. Wanted to change "several things" to "some task" (without haing read this Talk aim) but ended up going for "some possibly trivial task" which is longer yet again. With my edit-explanation of "No indication that this is for anything more than one thing (Candy Crush? Twitter? Reading election updates that won't affect your actions in any way..?) or the true importance of his mastery." which might not count but definitely aint laconic. 10:38, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
Good luck making this explanation the shortest. I assume you haven't seen, for example, 3: Island (sketch)'s explanation? I'm all for short explanations too, but not at the expense of leaving the humor unanalysed. BlackHat (talk) 22:49, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm also all for short explanations that are concise and clear and agree some can get rather lengthy, but I don't agree with the goal to see how short we can make this explanation. I guess if it was somehow meta-related to the comic itself, it might be justifiable, but just making it really short solely for that purpose is going to jeopardize the "clear" part of the goal. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 16:12, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
It seems to me that a bit more commentary is needed, because it seems like there are two aspects to the myth: (1) it takes 10,000 hours to become and expert; (2) anybody can become an expert by spending those 10,000 hours. The comic seems to be commenting more on the latter aspect. Gbisaga (talk) 17:25, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

If Randall is 36 years old, he estimates he's averaged about 45 minutes/day chewing. This is significantly less than the 2 hours mentioned in the explanation, even if you account for the fact that you aren't chewing the entire time you're eating (it's probably still more than half the time). Barmar (talk) 17:09, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

At the age of 1 year and 51 2/3 days every human (who was not put on a ventilator) would be a world class expert in breathing! And at about somewhere between 7 and 8 months old, every human would be a world class expert in heart beating. Rtanenbaum (talk) 20:54, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

I know the incomplete tag was taken off, but the explanation still leaves a bit of the joke undiscussed. Feel free to delete any of my edits if you think it's fine as it is. BlackHat 17:24, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Barmar, the article says 1-2 hours. So it could be in the 75 minute area if he only spends about 60% of the eating time chewing.

Is there a sense here that Cueball has spent 10,000 hours looking at the ScreenTime app itself? That's how I first read it. SteveBaker (talk) 15:20, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Let's see, what have I done for 10,000 hours? Hmmm. Yeah, let's not go there. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 17:08, 27 October 2020 (UTC)