101: Laser Scope

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Laser Scope
I wish I'd missed you then so I wouldn't be missing you now
Title text: I wish I'd missed you then so I wouldn't be missing you now


This comic plays on the homonymic relationship between "miss" (to feel sad due to the absence of someone) and "miss" (to fail to hit – in this case, with a gunshot). "Miss your loved ones?" is a question that would generally use the former "miss." However, its use on the package for a laser scope implies the latter "miss."

A sighting scope can be attached to a firearm to aid in aiming the weapon. The addition of a laser improves the accuracy of the weapon by making it easier to aim consistently. The model number RJX-21 does not appear to be a reference to anything, and this comic is primarily a play on a common marketing technique of adapting a common saying to your own product by use of homonym or homophone; in this case, it is perhaps an inappropriate use, as one would not be expected to be aiming a firearm at their loved ones. In real life, this would imply a serious family breakdown with extreme feelings of pain and revenge, which is actually a tragically sad story, not the normal fodder for a light-hearted joke.

The title text hammers it home with the dual use of the word "miss," as the writer wishes he had missed (failed in his attempt to shoot) someone so they would not miss them (feel bad that they are not there), implying that he shot a family member, and is now feeling the grief. The humor here is that the writer apparently still cares about his loved one, despite having attempted to shoot them in the past.


[Box with a mailing label on one side, and in the front:]
Miss your loved ones?
[Picture of a laser scope.]
RJX-21 Laser Scope

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Wouldn't this comic be about a whole gun aparatus including a laser scope if it were about "missing" (by target) your loved ones? In my opinion, this is much more about stalkers. The "good" stalkers are rarely seen (i.e. using a high powered viewing device of some kind), which would only need the sight, not a whole gun. lcarsos (talk) 22:03, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Nope. Nothin' ta do with stalkers. The scope is to improve the accuracy of the firearm it is attached to. It's saying "are you missing your loved ones with your un-scopified weapon? This scope will improve your accuracy and you won't miss anymore." 22:33, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Scopified?, really Whiskey07 (talk) 09:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't think you can speak, considering you wrote a question mark immediately followed by a comma. Beanie (talk) 09:55, 17 March 2021 (UTC)

The parity of meanings shown here is also known as "zeugma". AP English Language for the win! Anonymous 06:31, 3 December 2013 (UTC) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Actually, a zeugma is specifically an instance in which the word is used once, but applies to multiple parts of the sentence. If it were stated that "I wish I'd missed you then, so I wouldn't now," the title text would be an example. Since missed is included twice, it misses being a zeugma, but not being memorable. (One favorite of mine is: "You are free to execute your laws, and your citizens, as you see fit." -William Riker, Star Trek: TNG.) 05:36, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Might also be an reference to the classic "blues brothers movies" in which a stalker makes numerous attempts, including one attempt where she uses a rocket launcher -- 10:36, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Could also be a reference to the common situation, that one is too sure about one's partner (i.e. not showing them, that one misses them when being a couple but spacially apart) and this being the reason for the partner for leaving one. If one had missed them while being together they would'nt have left. 17:56, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

I think the RJX-21 device is shaped like a small optical telescope, with laser sight with a wire attached, yet not a standalone laser sight module. Therefore, we may have a stalking reference as well.

Also: in some languages, once camera (or "photoapparat[us]") has a stock for better handling, it's called "photo gun". Joke is, many film cameras, even professional ones, had iron sights without oculars. 13:43, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Reminds me of a joke where there is a sniper pictured with the text (which I think is also some song lyrics): "I only miss you, when I'm breathing" --Lupo (talk) 13:28, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

On Married with Children, Peg once asked, "Did you miss me, Al?" to which he replied, "With every bullet so far."

Re the last paragraph about the title text, "the writer wishes he had missed (failed in his attempt to shoot) someone so they would not miss them (feel bad that they are not there), implying that he shot a family member, and is now feeling the grief", I read this to mean that the writer wishes that they had missed someone as in not met them in the first place, and as a result they wouldn't have got to know them and now find their absence saddening. 15:26, 7 September 2020 (UTC)