Talk:2391: Life Before the Pandemic

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search

This reminds me of the Four Yorkshiremen from At last the 1948 show. Tell that to youngsters nwadays. Arachrah (talk) 15:06, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Thank you for correctly identifying the origin of the sketch :) 13:09, 28 November 2020 (UTC)
...but tell that to the youth of today, and they wouldn't believe you! 13:44, 28 November 2020 (UTC)

It is actually not clear to which ongoing pandemic the comic is referring. Wikipedia [1] is listing 10 epidemics currently going on. The longest ongoing one is the HIV/AIDS pandemic since 1981. It is not unlikely that the majority of humans on earth has no recollection or barely remembers the time before 1981. -- 15:51, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

You are *techinally* correct. (The best kind of correct) But, only one pandemic has made people wear masks, moved indoor activities outdoors, is referred to as THE pandemic, we -as a society- are waiting on a vaccine for, and is currently the central topic of our discourse. Argis13 (talk) 15:59, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is making people wear condoms, which on some level could be compared to masks or safety nets. I believe there are some people to be found that miss the time before the 1980s restriction in their sex life.-- 16:07, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
according to wikipedias own definition ("An epidemic is the rapid spread of disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time."), i'd argue that HIV is not an epidemic, much less a pandemic, but a regular endemic disease by now. 18:19, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Non native speaker, here. Should the mouse-over text be understood as riding a horse in a shopping mall? That would make sense as it is as absurd as the other activities mentioned in the strip. "Mall" can have also other meanings, but riding through the National Mall in Washington DC or the Mall in London doesn't seem outrageous as all.--Pere prlpz (talk) 16:01, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

You are correct, Randall means riding a horse through a shopping mall. Nitpicking (talk) 16:09, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
(Written but ECed by Nitpicking... But as I said a few things I liked, have it anyway.)
As a term, though over here in my country it's more often called a "Shopping Centre", I would indeed assume it's collection of stores with at least one entrance-doorway (and possibly all) leading into an indoor 'street' (one of several, perhaps with multiple levels, upper ones deployed as lining balconies to provide skylight/spotlight illumination from the shared roof).
The 'street' roadway would be designed to be pedestrian-only (or mobility scooters; but usually barring skaters, skateboarders, bicycles and all motor-vehicles except for dispensation or disobedience) and typically surfaced in polished stone slabs or ceramic tiles. Which might be one of the worst surfaces for an iron-shoed horse to try to walk on due to the low grip or friction (I think there are rubber horseshoes/overshoes available for mounts that might be ridden or led across hard surfaces like asphalt).
I'm happily reminded of the sequence in True Lies where the horse is used to chase the motorbike - partly, and apologetically, through the hallways of a posh hotel - and I presume they had to stick to carpeted areas (or lay down and secure ones of their own) rather than the bare marble mall-like flooring for the more dynamic bits of stunt-riding involved in that.
So, yes, a horse in a (shopping) mall would be dangerous to the shoppers, dangerous to the horse/rider and even if no iniury occured, horses being biogical it's a fair bet that the previously immaculate floors might need cleaning even if they don't need repairing. ;) 16:35, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Could "riding a horse in the mall" be a reference to the John Mulaney skit "there's a horse loose in the hospital"? 16:50, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

I'm detecting just a tiny bit of sarcasm in this comic. Elvenivle (talk) 17:52, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

I am detecting more than a tiny bit. Nutster (talk) 21:02, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

SCUBA divers, especially sport divers, usually breathe air through a mouthpiece that is separate from the mask . . . 18:23, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Indeed. SCUBA divers almost always to wear a mask, but it's used to cover the eyes and provide an air space in front of them, allowing clearer vision underwater. (Some divers wear goggles instead of a mask.) Nitpicking (talk) 20:59, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
Divers can't wear goggles since there's no way to equalize the air space in front of the eyes. This would result in severe injuries to the eyes if you dive beyond a few meters. 14:14, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

SCUBA mask could be a reference to diving masks converted into hospital ventilators by a famous sporting good retailer (Decathlon)?

Isn't there another XKCD comic that showed a one of the characters riding a horse? I seem to recall the title text of that one referred to riding in a shopping mall or other large enclosed space. Nutster (talk) 21:02, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

This is hilarious and wonderful.

Regarding grills in libraries (girls in libraries are fine), I'm reminded of the declaration that one is required to proclaim when applying for membership of the Bodleian Library in Oxford:

I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, nor to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library, or kindle therein, any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.

Megan would definitely not be allowed in, for that reason, if not for others.

Also, I think the horse might be required to wear a mask, which might be a problem if you had a recalcitrant horse.

Given that it IS those two, Megan and Cueball, they could actually be people who DID those things. Cueball is absent minded enough to think that not being charged and chased at a gasstation is a free refil. Megan really WOULD ride a hose through the mall.

Ha! You have clearly failed to consider the electric grill. Check and mate, Bodleian Librarians of Oxford! You shall keep your oppressed patrons from delicious grilled snacks no longer. Q.E.D! 10:03, 28 November 2020 (UTC)

Indoor fireworks were a thing when I was young (and apparently still are), not needing any special expertise or training. 13:12, 28 November 2020 (UTC)

Yes, I thought the point of that reference was that they do still exist, and ostensibly the pandemic would stop you using them because of the recommendations against indoor activities, but in reality it's not the pandemic that stops most people buying them - it's the fact that they're really really crap. (I know a lot of people who have bought them once, but no-one who has bought them twice.) 16:38, 28 November 2020 (UTC)

Restaurant soda free-refills aren't a loss-leader. You paid $2 for that soda, the restaurant paid between 5 and 20 cents. The *cup* probably cost more than the *beverage* did. Draco18s (talk) 19:05, 29 November 2020 (UTC)

Could someone who is more competent than me please add "Correlation does not imply causation" from wikipedia ( to the page? The whole comic is a perfect example of that principle. 22:26, 29 November 2020 (UTC)

It seems like you were thinking of something nonobvious. I don't know where that would go. Did you mean to comment on a different comic? 21:40, 1 December 2020 (UTC)

"Since multiple people would presumably have already touched the metal interior, this is an effective way to spread the contagion quickly." Except, that as our knowledge of the virus has increased the medical community now thinks that surface contact is anything but an "effective" way for COVID-19 to pass from person to person. There's other germs you can pass on/pick up from frequently touched surfaces but COVID-19 isn't one of them. 17:07, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Here in Norway, free refills of coffee at gas stations IS pretty common. You have to buy a special cup, which gives you the right to free refills for the rest of the year.