2900: Call My Cell

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Call My Cell
'Hey, can you call my cell?' '...I'm trying, but it says this number is blocked?' 'Ok, thanks, just checking.'
Title text: 'Hey, can you call my cell?' '...I'm trying, but it says this number is blocked?' 'Ok, thanks, just checking.'


When a person cannot find their cell phone, it is not uncommon to ask a friend to call the phone in question. This will activate the device's ring tone and/or its haptic actuator, assuming the device is not off or silenced, making it easier to find (this is also one of the meanings of "xkcd").

At first, Black Hat appears to have misplaced his cell phone, as he asks Cueball to call it. However, when Cueball does call Black Hat's cell, it is revealed to be in Black Hat's (supposed) pocket. He then makes a show of annoyance that Cueball ("this guy") is calling him, sends the call to voicemail, and leaves. From this, it might be inferred that Black Hat was simply trying to demonstrate that he doesn't want Cueball to call him, showing another of his classhole tendencies, as Black Hat is quite often depicted as deliberately inconsiderate and rarely prone to actual carelessness.

The title text is a similar situation. Cueball calls Black Hat, but instead Black Hat demonstrates that he was only "checking" that he had blocked Cueball's number so Cueball is unable to reach his cell, making an even stronger insult. This can also be seen as a grammatical accuracy. When Black Hat asks "Can you call my cell?" he is asking whether Cueball is able to place a call on Black Hat's cell phone. This would be a variation of a particularly pedantic authority figure replying to a "Can I...?" question with the response like "I imagine you can, but (right now) you may not..." and so denying the request. In this case, the answer to the strict interpretation would have been "No", rendering the implied issue of permission entirely moot.

This comic may be related to 1284: Improved Keyboard, where Black Hat stops Cueball from texting him by changing his keyboard.


[Black Hat walks in from the right approaching Cueball. Black Hat has his finger raised.]
Black Hat: Hey, can you call my cell?
[Cueball has taken his phone up and is pressing the screen, presumably dialing Black Hat's number. Black Hat looks down at his back pocket, which is ringing. He reaches for the pocket, which has his phone in it.]
Black Hat: Oh, one sec.
[Cueball, still holding his phone, looks at Black Hat. Black Hat has turned his back to Cueball and is looking at his phone which he is holding in both hands. Above his head is both his one line of speech but also a separate jagged speech bubble indicating what is written on his phone screen.]
Black Hat: Ugh, it's this guy.
Phone: Send to voicemail
[Cueball, holding his phone down, watches Black Hat walk away from him, already partly outside the right frame of the panel.]

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I think he just forgot Cueball's name. By asking hom to call him, he would see the name on the screen And remember it. Thus also remembering how annoyed he is by Cueball. -- 06:08, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Nah, this is just Black Hat being a classhole. 06:14, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Would have been kind of cute, though. :D I often have to ask people “what’s your name, again”? Letting them call me to see their name could easily have been my idea. (But in that scenario, Randall would probably have drawn Cueball (as himself, he seems to have similar difficulties as me) instead of Black Hat. “Social tip: It seems less awkward to ask people for their name for the 5th time if you pretend you lost your phone.”) -- 19:27, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
This was how I read it, too. 00:24, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
Another reading of it is that Black Hat, being Black Hat, didn't even pay any attention to who he was talking to, since they were merely a means to an end. It's then only when he looks at the phone that he registers who it is. 09:02, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

What kind of person would need to check their contacts to see if a person is blocked when you can just ask them to ring your phone? OmniDoom (talk) 06:21, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

I'm a bit sad that comic 2900 was not released on 29th of February. :-) --Kynde (talk) 11:16, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Perhaps it technically was. By the timing of the auto-pickup/article creation by the 'Bot, it was 29/Feb all the way up to (and including) Randall's own TZ. It was pretty much as 'late' as you can get before you start getting to the realms of actual "delayed a day for technical reasons" as occasionally exbibited by some of his. (Or the rare times the current 'bot fell over and humans were initially tardy at filling in.) Though the 'official' date is likely the 28th; I haven't checked the publication DB, yet, but I'd guess it still is listed as Wednesday-as-usual.
It's also been quite some time since Randall deliberately juggled numbers (possibly even by inserting Guest Week, which ISTR allowed a years-later numerical 'synchonicity' (can't quite remember/find what that was, but it was one accepted as entirely intended). It'd be an even longer game to have also engineered this one by seemingly impromptu non-MWF comics. And not then make it something like the recent leap-light-year one to make it relevent. So probably not planned. But possibly spontaneously held back as a last-minute (and entirely unofficial) whim, on seeing the same coincidence as we have noted. IMO. 12:39, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Could Cueball have annoyed Black Hat in the past, so he then displays this type of behavior in revenge? --1234231587678 (talk) 22:11, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

I think anyone who actively annoys BH won't get away with just this kind of response, somehow. 22:22, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Am I the only one who went down a rabbit hole and ended up at a SX about Oregon U-turn legality? RandalSchwartz (talk) 19:25, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

This comic has the same basic plot as the Doctor's phone sketch of UK satirist Chris Morris's surreal comedy "Jam": [1].

I just think Black Hat is being a jerk to Cueball >:(. 18:18, 4 March 2024 (UTC)

It could also be Black hat genuinely forgetting where his phone was, and decides to be mean to cueball after being embarrassed that he didn't check his pockets first guess who (if you want to | what i have done) 19:07, 14 March 2024 (UTC)