The Story that Made Me Human

I reread the hurricane arc, trying to figure out why it had such a particular impact on me. I think I figured it out:

  1. I relate to the character. It seems almost like I *know* Florence personally. She has a lot of the traits I admire in people and someone with her personality is probably someone I’d ask on a date.
  2. She was in mortal danger. Protective instinct kicks in.
  3. She was helped by someone whom I’d consider a friend. Honestly, Winston seems like a great guy and someone I’d even recommend were he to petition a Lodge of Masonry.
  4. Florence isn’t safe right away. This strip made me extremely nervous. I knew from the comic’s front page that the artist wasn’t asinine enough to do permanent damage to the strip by incapacitating Florence. But at the same time, I sincerely hoped that she’d be okay.
  5. An emotionally satisfying, realistic recovery.
  6. Then, right when I was feeling like things are ready to return to normal, WHAM! Starting with this strip, I begin to feel nervous again. Things are changing and I’m not ready to change with them. And I’m forced to go along with something I can’t control that affects someone I (in theory) care deeply about. Go back and reread that. This is about the least comfortable I can be about something: Someone I care about getting romantically involved, especially with someone I don’t know very well.
  7. Then it hits me. If the previous arc lined up all the pins, this strip knocks them all down with a giant THUD. Were I to rewrite it, I’d give Florence a bit more of an expression of deep enjoyment. Why? Because that’s the face I’ve seen in more than one girl remembering someone they’re genuinely in love with. I realized at this point that (a), this is entirely out of my control (and would be even if it weren’t a comic), and (b), I would HAVE to like it, no matter what. AND that I had no right to be angry, concerned, jealous, etc. because THAT’S HOW LOVE WORKS. And that’s what prompted this post.

So that’s the explanation I felt I owed everyone for my sudden emotional break(down/through) on Tuesday.



  1. #1 by Chadwick on November 26, 2010 - 1:56 PM

    I’ll have to come back to this once I make it that far in the story. I’m only about 400 pages in so far.

    • #2 by Joshua on November 26, 2010 - 1:59 PM

      Oh. I’ve stopped at a very fitting stopping point right now and didn’t feel like continuing my emotional investment. So I popped over to Sequential Art only to find I was 6 strips from current. Scarlet and her squirrelfriends are so insanely awesome as long as they’re nowhere near me, only because of their destructive potential.

      Anyway, I’ve been reading the xkcd forums now.

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