604: Qwertial Aphasia

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Qwertial Aphasia
If this were SMBC, the alt-text drawing thingy would be a giraffe hooker fluttering her eyelashes.
Title text: If this were SMBC, the alt-text drawing thingy would be a giraffe hooker fluttering her eyelashes.


Randall has invented the term Qwertial Aphasia to describe the common experience of having a word, from a spoken conversation, accidentally spill over into something one is typing, often with humorous results.

The description "Qwertial" refers to the position of the top row of letters in the most common keyboard arrangement, the QWERTY keyboard layout, as this is only something that afflicts you while typing. Aphasia is a class of medical conditions which affect the production and understanding of language.

In this case Cueball is in the process of replying on the computer to his friend who just asked if they should go out to eat some food later. Cueball is about to explain why he should not, when Megan walks in and disturbs him with her stuffed toy giraffe which makes him say the word giraffe.

The joke set up in the comic comes from the substitution of the word 'giraffe' for the word 'frequently', which changes the whole meaning of Cueball's last sentence. The original sentence would have been I can't afford to keep eating out this frequently. The unintentional replacement makes 'giraffe' the object of the sentence, and implies that Cueball is eating out (slang for cunnilingus) a giraffe. He tries to correct himself by writing that he meant frequently but the damage is done and he will be the laughing stock with his friends for a while.

The title text expands on the framing of a giraffe as sexual by also making the giraffe a prostitute. SMBC refers to the comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a whimsical joke-a-day comic which comes with a second illustration, which can be seen by clicking on a button known as the "votey". This additional panel often serves as a second punchline in the same way as the title text does in xkcd. Zach Weiner of SMBC responded to this title text in the votey on July 2, 2009, the day after this comic was released.


[Caption in a frame partly above the main panels, but which breaks the top border of the two first panels frames:]
I hate how when I'm talking while I type, sometimes I accidentally type a word I'm saying.
[Cueball is sitting at a computer chatting with a friend. The friends message "comes" out of the computer.]
Friend (from computer): Wanna go get food later?
[Megan walks in to the frame, holding a small stuffed giraffe in front of her. Cueball is in the middle of typing his reply, which "comes" from the keyboard.]
Megan: Check out what I found in the closet!
Cueball (from keyboard): Sorry, I really shouldn't.
Keyboard: Type type
[Megan has stopped and Cueball turns to look at her and the giraffe, while continuing to type.]
Cueball: Aww, what an adorable stuffed giraffe!
Cueball (from keyboard): I can't afford to keep eating out this giraffe.
Keyboard: Type type
[Caption below the last panel in a frame which breaks the bottom border of the above panel:]
Frequently! I meant "frequently"!

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I strongly feel that the first interpretation to the "frequently" part is the intended one. 22:49, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

As the explanation has changed since this was written, it is hard to know which part it was he preferred. Hopefully the one that remains? :-) --Kynde (talk) 22:03, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Maybe it used to say "I can't afford to keep eating out this giraffe frequently" - 04:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I occasionally suffer from Dvorial Aphasia. 11:59, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

I have Dvořial Aphasia, where I forget what I was going to say because I was humming Dvořák. 15:58, 18 February 2022 (UTC)

Well, I occasionally suffer from Reverse Quertial/Dvorial Aphasia, where I speak out words I'm typing.