354: Startling

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We actually reached the future about three years ago.
Title text: We actually reached the future about three years ago.


Cueball is startled every few months when he, again, realizes that he now lives in the 21st century. When he grew up as a child, the year 2000 seemed very far away — it was the future, but he now exists in that timeframe with the rest of society.

The title text states that "the future" was reached in 2004... Three years before the comic was published. This is possibly a joke on how time works, as "the future" is always, was always, and will always be ahead of the time you're in. There may, however, be a reference to some movie set in the future year 2004....

The 21st century, even the year 2004, was futuristic for people growing up in, for instance, the eighties. This view just belongs to the perspective of people — for people growing up in the '70s, even the novel 1984 was futuristic.


[Cueball sits silently in front of his computer.]
[Text block:]
I still do this every few months.
[He continues to sit for two more panels.]
Cueball: Holy crap, it's the 21st century.

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This comic isn't that simple:

  • what is Cueball doing every few months?
  • is 2004 correct? If yes, what does it mean?

--Dgbrt (talk) 20:09, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Every few months, Cueball halts his work and realizes that he is in the twenty-first century. Someone who grew up in anticipation of the new millennium (and the new century along with it) may take quite a while to adjust to it. The second bullet point, however, requires some research. --Quicksilver (talk) 07:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

"in which he lives in" – this is redundant. It should be "in which he lives. This could be a reference to the song "Live and Let Die", but unless this reference is more clearly explained, it does not belong in the explanation. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I would expand on this thought and state it should be altered to "in about the time in which he lives in is living in" just to clarify specifically that it's that specific time in which he specifically lives in generally. Thokling (talk) 15:06, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the future is specifically 2004. It is unthinkable to Cueball (and hence Randall) that we are even in the twenty-first century. For him, the 21st century was "the future," a whole new millennium. I think the point of the title text isn't that the future occurred in 2004, its that we're living in "the future." 01:00, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

You want time-related revelation? I just realised earlier today (2015-Feb-04) that a song released in 2003 was half of my current lifespan ago. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," demarcated the "Future" for many who grew up in the late 20th century. The movie provided a plausible look of what life in the "Space Age" would be like. All the technologies, economical realities, societal behavior, geopolitic, etc. appeared plausible and realistic. To many, this was the best guess as to what life in the early 21st century would be like. Of course, it didn't turn out that way (at least the central theme that space travel would be commonplace); which is why we occasionally scratch our head and ask 'what? It's the 21st century already??? (So where are all the Space cruisers we were supposed to have by now?)" Mountain Hikes (talk) 19:03, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

I think the title text is an allusion to the phenomenon that the older one gets, the more one tends to underestimate time spans: what to Cueball/Randall feels like having happened around 3 years ago (namely the beginning of the new century), has actually happened around 7 years ago.-- 21:04, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

There is also the phenomenom (i don't know if it has a name) that whatever people consider to be "typical" of a certain decade ususally doesn't really begin before the second or third year into that decade, and doesn't really stop before the second or third year into the NEXT decade. So, the 80s, culturally speaking, were from 1983 to 1992. The 70s were from 1973 to 1982. And so on. It sounds strange, but it makes sense. Look at a film from 1981 - it will look and feel like a seventies movie. Look at pictures of people from 1992. They wear jeans jackets and have mullets. Lumberjack shirts and grunge came later. So, the title text could be an allusion to that. (though the theory goes that if you're speaking about CENTURIES, the delay of the "typical" stuff setting in is even longer, more like 10 or even 12 years.) -- 07:58, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

When I was in gradeschool in the early seventies, I was sad to realize that I was born too soon, that I'd missed my chance to enjoy the turn of the millennium. Sure, I'd be alive, but I'd be 33, far too old to really enjoy it. And when it came around, it turned out I was correct: I was far more excited New year Day 1973, the first year I really cared about time, advancing years, summaries of what had come before, et cetera. — Kazvorpal (talk) 05:15, 10 November 2019 (UTC)