883: Pain Rating

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Pain Rating
If it were a two or above I wouldn't be able to answer because it would mean a pause in the screaming.
Title text: If it were a two or above I wouldn't be able to answer because it would mean a pause in the screaming.


In medical examinations, a doctor will sometimes ask the patient to assess their pain, to give the doctor a rough idea of the patient's condition. Cueball is asked by doctor Ponytail to compare the pain in his arm with the worst pain that he can imagine; however, a one-to-ten scale is not useful for Cueball because in his imagination the worst possible pain reduces him to a huddled ball, makes him forget his injured arm, and rescales his current pain to a 1. Apparently, he has the capacity to imagine pain so intense that it dwarfs any possible real-world pain, thus skewing the scale, and this is what his friend Megan refers to when Ponytail asks what is wrong with his imagination. (According to the official transcript Megan is the patient's friend, and Ponytail is a doctor).

The title text further emphasizes that idea: If the pain was higher than one on his pain scale, it would already be so high that he would be reduced to uncontrollable, unending screaming. We here at explainxkcd shiver to think what Cueball could be envisioning.

A similar doctor Ponytail is shown in 996: Making Things Difficult with Megan and again in 1713: 50 ccs along with both Cueball and Megan. In 647: Scary Cueball (as Rob) also ends up in such a huddled up position.


[Ponytail in a doctor's coat is carrying a clipboard and consulting with Cueball, who's sitting on a high medical table one arm down the other holding on to this arm at the inside of the elbow.]
Ponytail: Any pain?
Cueball: My arm really hurts.
[Zoom out of same scene to include Megan is standing behind Ponytail.]
Ponytail: How would you rate the pain, from one to ten, where ten is the worst pain you can imagine?
[This frame-less panel zooms in on Cueball sitting on the table.]
Cueball: The worst pain I can imagine?
[Zoom in on the top of Cueball who ponders this, raising a thoughtful hand to his jaw.]
[Same image but Cueball appears to be shocked having taken both hands in front of his mouth, four small lines coming out from the top of his head.]
[Zoom out again as Cueball huddles up on the table, legs all the way up to his chin, arms tightly folded around the knees. Ponytail leans back towards Megan, both whispering as indicated with smaller font.]
Cueball: One.
Ponytail: ...What the hell is wrong with his imagination?
Megan: It's not a normal place.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


So, is hell like a 6 or something? Davidy22[talk] 00:36, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps somewhere around 62/3..? 19:19, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Maybe 7, (66/6)? ~Fuzion (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
400 Karmas for you!! 19:26, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Someone has been playing *way* too much Mortal Combat... - DustFox162.158.50.41 08:08, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Heads are detached from the body in some panels. 05:42, 25 February 2024 (UTC)