2563: Throat and Nasal Passages

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Throat and Nasal Passages
I always felt like what the 'you are now aware of your tongue' thing needed in order to be truly enjoyable was an element of mortal peril.
Title text: I always felt like what the 'you are now aware of your tongue' thing needed in order to be truly enjoyable was an element of mortal peril.


This comic is another in a series of comics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This comic became the last to reference the pandemic for a long time. The next reference to COVID-19 came four months later and in 2615: Welcome Back it was just briefly mentioned in the title text.

In the graph a black solid line displays how much he has been thinking about his throat and nose since 2000 and up until 2022. The first 20 years the graph oscillate up and down once every year, and every spike represents the common cold and flu season. Autumn and winter causes the spike, while spring and summer clearly drops. Perhaps this is indicating no tendency to suffer from hayfever, which might at least produce mini-spikes at the times of of maximum grass-pollen, tree-pollen and/or other similar atmospheric flotsam. There is basically a spike for every year, although some years it looks a bit different which could be variations induced by complex sociological or meteorological drivers - meeting more or fewer people inside stuffy buildings rather than in the open air. But all in all the peaks seem low, especially when compared to how much time he has thought about it since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out around March 2020. Each summer since there has been a dip, but not anywhere close to the tops of the previous years, and around New Year 2022 the graph peaks (likely due to the Omicron variant).

The peaks in 2020 and 2021 (2022) are about 6 times higher than those the year before 2020. So if the Y-axis begins at zero, this is how much more he thinks of his throat now than during the times when he actually had a cold.

There seems to be no way of knowing if Randall has had COVID-19, but from his comics it seems safe to assume he is fully vaccinated. At the time of release the Omicron variant of COVID-19 seems to by-pass the protections given by vaccines for about 50% of those vaccinated, although vaccinated people generally do not experience severe symptoms.

The joke is in the dotted line at the very bottom of the graph which either is just above zero, or is actually supposed to be the zero line (which would not change the above assumption about 6 times more thinking). This line reflects how much time he actually wishes to think about them, which is probably not at all. But even before corona Randall seems to have spent way too much time pondering his sore throat.

In the title text Randall references the trick known as "You are now aware of your tongue", which is a self-fulfilling prophecy because it will make anyone hearing it involuntarily think and be aware of their tongue. In a much earlier comic, 972: November, this trick was the topic, see more about it there.

Randall sarcastically remarks that the tongue trick needed an element of mortal peril to be truly enjoyable, as with the corona pandemic making him aware of his throat and nasal passages. His actual opinion is probably the opposite, that it was annoying before and that it only became worse now that it contains the danger of death. Being aware of your tongue is annoying, but not dangerous. Being aware of your throat during the COVID-19 pandemic may leave you fearing for your life, even if there is nothing wrong with your throat.

Randall has before the corona pandemic complained about a sore throat caused by the common cold, see 1612: Colds, more than once just a few weeks apart, see 1618: Cold Medicine. See also 1896: Active Ingredients Only.


[A graph with two curves are shown. The Y-axis ends in an arrow, but has no units or ticks. The X-axis has no arrow but has 23 ticks with every fifth longer and every tenth labeled. The first tick extends the Y-axis below the X-axis. Both curves start over the second tick and end over the last tick. One curve is a dotted straight line running along the bottom of the graph just above the X-axis. The other start a bit higher and oscillate a bit up and down with 19 sharp peaks and 19 troughs, where some of the troughs have extra features, and not all are equidistant. After this a 20th small peak just starts to drop down again, before the curve goes in to a very steep rise almost all the way to the top of the graph. There is a small dip on the way before it reaches a maximum. Then a deep drop followed by a smaller rise before an even deeper drop. But then at the end, the graph rises almost vertically to the highest point where the graph stops over the last tick. At the top left of the graph the two lines are explained showing a solid and a dotted line with text to their right. Below this, above the solid curve midway between the first two labels on the X-axis, is a label from which 5 arrows points to 5 consecutive peaks.]
- How much Time I have spent thinking about my throat and nasal passages, over time
┅ How much I want to think about them
Label:Cold/Flu Season
X-axis: 2000 2010 2020


  • New Year happened two days before the release of this comic, and it was the first released in 2022.
    • As neither this or the previous comic 2562: Formatting Meeting, the last from 2021 released on New Years Eve 2021-12-31, are New Year comics, this marks the first year in a long time without an official New Year comic!
    • Last time neither of the comics around the New Year was not a New Year comic was the New Year from 2010 to 2011.
      • This means that it was after 10 years in a row with such a comic Randall did nothing in particular to celebrate it becaming 2022.
    • The first New Year comic came out on 2007-12-31, and one more followed the year after, before two years without.
      • Making this only the third absence in a run of fifteen years of the comic.
  • In the title text the word "needed" was originally "neeeded", with three consecutive "e"s.
    • It was eventually[when?] fixed, indicating that this probably wasn't an intentional emphasis on Randall's part.

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at time of publishing, the title text contained a typo ("neeeded"). Im pretty sure it is going to be corrected soon though. 13:08, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Hasn't yet been corrected, but I'm sure it will be. Anyways I added a transcript and although I did try my best I doubt it's good, so if you can improve it, I won't exactly be mad. * (talk) 15:30, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
I have added a Trivia about the error. When/if it gets corrected this should be mentioned here. I also changed the transcript. Not so much the content more the order. Also I believe that all text written in the picture should be written beneath explanations of the image. And try to leave out any explanations or theories, leaving that part to the explanation above. The transcript should help people that cannot see the comic well enough to get the idea, so they can form their own ideas, before reading what others think ;-) But always great when people fill in the transcript. So thanks for the effort. --Kynde (talk) 16:54, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
It's a day later and the title text still has the typo. If there's a way this could be intentional and somehow related to the topic, I can't think of it. Barmar (talk) 15:06, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

I think the title text might be related to 972: November, since that also dealt with people being made aware of their tongue. Should it be added in the explanation? (I know that editors should be at least somewhat bold, but it seems a bit of a tenuous connection, so I want an opinion from a more experienced editor). -- 18:34, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Thanks for mentioning it. I have included it in the title text explanation. Much of what needs to be said on this subject stands there already, so I deleted a lot of the current title text explanation referring to that instead. It is perfect. Also nice to read the Peanuts version of it again which is on that page, collapsed though!. --Kynde (talk) 19:20, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

I have changed the introductory sentence on the pandemic as it isn't really a 2020 pandemic anymore, and also started a discussion thread on this on the Covid-19 Cagetory page. --Lupo (talk) 08:35, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

As a generally curious-minded person, one would think that the amount that Randall would want to think about throat and nasal passages would be non-negligibly >0. 15:58, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

If it's a decent and unmisleading graph (e.g. vertical axis is at zero where the horizontal axis crosses. So it is non-zero. Exactly how unnnegligibly so depends upon the scale used. (It could even be a Log axis!) 18:02, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
Seeing that comment, 833: Convincing comes to mind... "I can do better than someone who doesn't label her axes." --Lupo (talk) 08:20, 5 January 2022 (UTC)

My association with the meme of being aware of your tongue was a Peanuts cartoon from way back - don't know if it was original then - but a copy is here: [1] 08:43, 5 January 2022 (UTC)