0383: "Helping"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Enigma90825
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:19 am UTC

0383: "Helping"

Postby Enigma90825 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:02 am UTC

Image

Alt Text: Oh, look, the 'make everything better' button was here behind the bookshelf all along.

Sad comic, but brings up a good point that people are responsible for their own happiness.
Last edited by Enigma90825 on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:08 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
I am not here... isn't "here" just "there" without the T?

User avatar
connorsname
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:59 pm UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby connorsname » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:03 am UTC

Not my favorite, probably because it doesn't involve trebuchets(spelling?). I'm not a big fan of the emotional comics. Unless I'm missing something, but I don't think that is the case.

User avatar
Zak
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:25 am UTC
Location: In the making.

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:05 am UTC

Hmm... How many times will i be ninja'd while i type this?

I do like it when he uses the shaded backgrounds though.
*waggles eyebrows*

User avatar
Sartorius
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:21 am UTC
Location: Oh? Hi! Oh.

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Sartorius » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:06 am UTC

Aw man this one was sad. It's a good thing to keep in mind though.
"Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life." -Terry Pratchett

User avatar
rwald
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:14 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby rwald » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:07 am UTC

So wait, did she commit suicide? Was he checking her pulse? Or what?

User avatar
DaMullet
Posts: 470
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:21 pm UTC
Location: Coming soon to a theatre near YOU!
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby DaMullet » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:08 am UTC

Huh... I don't get it. I'll probably get it later when I'm less asleep. As for now, it's just good-looking.
Will wrote:Andrew Jackson was all kinds of badass.

SecondTalon wrote:Out in the wasteland
Driving cars of rusted steel
oh, look. Burma Shave.

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:HACKS ARE STING OUR SYLLES AND SING THEM TO TERRISTS!

Gyvulys624
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:49 pm UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Gyvulys624 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:12 am UTC

At this point I am also waiting for someone to explain it a bit.

User avatar
glasnt
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:18 am UTC
Location: SQUEE!

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:13 am UTC

This one reminds me more of a Explosm than xkcd. It looks like the guy tells the girl something that makes her worse, and then she kills herself :S
Maybe the guy is Black-Hat-Guy, who shaved his head?
I don't like this one - it makes me very sad. I don't think there's ever been death before in a xkcd.
Also, most emotional strips that Randall makes have directly related to my live at the time of the strip. !Please I don't want to have death!

uberben
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:06 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby uberben » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:13 am UTC

Ya, I have no idea what's going on....

User avatar
davidad
Psaltery-man is playing the Psaltery
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:38 am UTC
Location: MIT
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby davidad » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:14 am UTC

I have a feeling there must be some reason it's called "Helping.png" and not "Helping" but I can't fathom it...

Jenevieve
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:01 am UTC
Location: University

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Jenevieve » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:14 am UTC

I really liked this one. I don't entirely get what just happened to the girl crying in the corner, other than the fact that the guy trying to help didn't end up being helpful, but it still is really good. So often in my life I want the "make everything better" button to exist, because I hate seeing other people being unhappy, and I don't know what to do to help them. So this comic is like an emotional punch in the gut -- but in a good way, if there is a good way to get an emotional punch in the gut.

Tenth Speed Writer
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:35 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Tenth Speed Writer » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:17 am UTC

Y'all are spoiled on nerd jokes and trebuchets.




An older friend of mine was was talking with me about this the other day. Someone willing to go so far to take their own life, and do it for their own reasons, is beyond your help. All you can do is go beyond them to save their life; you can't give them happiness.

Likewise, though... Someone who seeks suicide as a way to garner attention is either spoiled on it, or doesn't know any better and is desperate for affection. It's the same problem, though; they don't want to find their own joy. If you give it to them, well... the "give a man a fish" proverb comes into play.



Simple. Beautiful. Powerful. True.
Thank you, Mr. Monroe.
Last edited by Tenth Speed Writer on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:22 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Civil Engineering Major, University of Alabama.
"Yessir, I reckon 'em 'ere cent'rl s'port beams'll hol' up a'right..."

Mallet über alles!

bothofourshoes
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:15 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby bothofourshoes » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:20 am UTC

Registered to post this ( :D ). I see the title as more of an act of resignation, as if Randall were too upset, etc. to come up with a proper title. Notice that helping.png is the URL.

As for the image, to me it looks like it starts off with him trying to help her, then finding himself unable to and backing off, her getting worse, and finally ending up in an ambulance.

DSDM
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:14 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby DSDM » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:20 am UTC

Staples® is still working on the Make Everything Better Button.™

User avatar
Zak
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:25 am UTC
Location: In the making.

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:22 am UTC

DSDM wrote:Staples® is still working on the Make Everything Better Button.™

I think i've pre-ordered one of them...
*waggles eyebrows*

Tenth Speed Writer
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:35 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Tenth Speed Writer » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:23 am UTC

True...

You can't help but wonder if there's something to bring about the sudden change of attitude.



Someone care to check in with him?
Civil Engineering Major, University of Alabama.
"Yessir, I reckon 'em 'ere cent'rl s'port beams'll hol' up a'right..."

Mallet über alles!

Jorsh
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:19 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Jorsh » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:23 am UTC

Registered to post this too!

I really liked this comic, it is cold and cruel, but so is life.

So true...

I just wonder why is she sad at all

GodShapedBullet
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:59 pm UTC
Location: Delaware
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:24 am UTC

I feel like the previous comic was made specifically to contrast violently with this one.

I liked this one more.

User avatar
Zak
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:25 am UTC
Location: In the making.

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:25 am UTC

Mebbe he dumped her?

Or stole her ball pit?
*waggles eyebrows*

User avatar
4=5
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:02 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby 4=5 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:28 am UTC

if you look at the top right square it looks like he's choking her

Lomky
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:24 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Lomky » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:29 am UTC

They have a breathing mask on her, and she's not covered, so she can't be dead. Doesn't rule out an attempt though.

All in all I haven't been this puzzled since the one with pointers.

Tenth Speed Writer
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:35 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Tenth Speed Writer » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:29 am UTC

His hand is on her shoulder.




And.. is anyone else worrying, just a bit, that this may be the last comic? Unannounced?
Civil Engineering Major, University of Alabama.
"Yessir, I reckon 'em 'ere cent'rl s'port beams'll hol' up a'right..."

Mallet über alles!

User avatar
persephonester
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:27 am UTC
Location: boston
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby persephonester » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:31 am UTC

Goddammit, Randall. This comic made me cry. Hard.

I'm writing this as an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital. Taking responsibility for my own happiness is why I'm here in the first place.

I don't think the girl is dead. I think she just needs help beyond what he could give. Of course, this is entirely me projecting my life onto this comic strip.

Aaand I'm going to go before my meds kick in and I start spewing everything about my life.

Tuuli
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:10 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Tuuli » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:32 am UTC

I see a subtext that XKCD makes people happy. After a while, if I were Randall, I would just get to feel that it's a responsibility, every 2 days, to crank out something worthy in the eyes of the beholders. I would feel boxed in. But sometimes you just can't make people happy, and you have to accept that.

User avatar
inhumandecency
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:17 am UTC
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby inhumandecency » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:34 am UTC

bothofourshoes wrote:Registered to post this ( :D ). I see the title as more of an act of resignation, as if Randall were too upset, etc. to come up with a proper title. Notice that helping.png is the URL.

As for the image, to me it looks like it starts off with him trying to help her, then finding himself unable to and backing off, her getting worse, and finally ending up in an ambulance.


Randall has used this kind of layout before -- I read it as the larger panel showing the present (perhaps the archetypal padded white room, or else a generic image of her breaking down) with the smaller panels showing events that all came together as he had his epiphany.

Incidentally, the ambulance and gurney don't necessarily imply a suicide attempt, although they could. It could also be catatonia or severe mania. I also once had a friend of mine who accidentally took a quintuple-dose of acid hauled off that way.

I agree completely about the title, though. A bit of strategic fourth-wall breaking, though it's not clear whether it's randall himself who's breaking it, or a cartoonist character at an intermediate level of reality.

User avatar
The Ivy
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby The Ivy » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:35 am UTC

Wow, been there (on the friend side). Helps to hear that others have been there too.

User avatar
inhumandecency
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:17 am UTC
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby inhumandecency » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:37 am UTC

4=5 wrote:if you look at the top right square it looks like he's choking her


I think his hand is around her shoulder, as a previous poster said. It's interesting because we've seen these stick people swordfighting, having sex, and feeling shocked, disappointed, excited, and determined, and this is the first time I've seen the idiom run into trouble.

asteroid
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:57 pm UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby asteroid » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:38 am UTC

two theories:

1. it's just plain really sad and serious. it doesn't look like she died—she's on a stretcher, not in a body bag—but it doesn't look good either. xkcd is sad sometimes, though this might be the most sad i've seen.

2. it's referencing the Sarah Conner Chronicles, which not only has recently had a similar theme, but also stars Summer Glau as a character not unlike River Tam (granted she's a robot this time, and is therefore quirky instead of crazy).

these two theories are not mutually exclusive.

Khonsu
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:55 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Khonsu » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:38 am UTC

Yup...this is familiar.

A word to anyone who's there, or is getting there, or hasn't gotten out yet: you cannot "make" someone happy. Don't even feel guilty. Don't even care, if you can help it. Get out, get away, and get them help when you've pried their needy little hands from your ankle, because trust me, we fucked-up people have a hell of a grip.

If they've got issues, either cajole or force them into therapy and make sure they go, and make sure they TALK. Do not let them get out of it or get bitter or cop an attitude and say "That doctor doesn't know SHIT!" You make them go until they start to care, and if they don't ever learn to care, you get the fuck out so the blood isn't on your hands. No one can "save" someone. They have to save themselves. You can be there to hold their hand and walk beside them when they get on the right path, but you cannot drag them onto it. Either you fail miserably and lose them forever (death or seclusion) or they become your human puppy dog and become totally dependent on your love to fuel their positive self-image...until you need to part ways (go to work on a Monday, go out of town, move, marry, start dating someone new, whatever). Then they just crash, burn, and die a little inside. It's horrific to see.

I've dealt with this issue too many times to believe otherwise, and now I'm trying to get myself on a path to wellness when I saw that internalizing everyone else's pain and suffering because they were "friends" just caused more of my own, so much that I couldn't deal with it myself. I lost a relationship for that and other reasons, and I'm finally able to say "Yes, I need help. I want help. Please help," but I was a little late. I lost a lover, but I gained a best friend...someone who can help me without losing herself in my well of loneliness. Someone who has enough problems of her own, but still wants to help me, just as I want to help her. In the end...it's better this way. I didn't get what I want (a lasting romantic relationship), but I got what I need.

So...yeah. This one hit home. Seriously--I cannot laud the psychiatric profession highly enough. If you love someone, don't support their suffering; make them stamp it out. Don't enable them to sink deeper, even if you think you're "helping." It will never help--only medicine, therapy, prayer, meditation, and maybe kittens and puppies will make them well...and when they ARE well, they're going to need you to keep them on that good path.

Do not do what I did--don't think that you're a bad friend for worrying about yourself first. You're not a bad friend, you're a smart friend. You cannot become a punching bag for your bipolar/depressed/schizophrenic/cutting/sadistic friend. Pick all that apply. You cannot become their punching bag for when they need to lash out, and their shoulder to cry on when they need to cuddle. You'll die trying to be both.
Last edited by Khonsu on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:45 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Number3Pencils
The Torment of Existence Weighed against the Horror of Nonbeing
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:27 am UTC
Location: Beyond reason, then take a left
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Number3Pencils » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:39 am UTC

I get the distinct feeling that something very bad happened to someone RM loves.
Image
Spoiler:
Image

User avatar
OneLess
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:10 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby OneLess » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:39 am UTC

That room looks about as featureless and depressing as my dorm room. I spent like $20 on posters so I wouldn't think I was in jail :|
“Observation: Couldn’t see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs.” –Carl Sagan

Last edited by OneLess on Sat Dec 17, 3003 10:35 am, edited 0 time in total.

volin
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:38 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby volin » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:40 am UTC

Just adding my sentiments that I hope all is all right in Mr. Munroe's life, and the lives of those around him. I truly hope all is well.

User avatar
Fossa
Posts: 1080
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:04 am UTC
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Fossa » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:41 am UTC

This one... wow.

I've been there. Exactly there. In that exact spot. Though I do recall the walls being a darker shade of grey...

He isn't checking her pulse, he's trying to give her a reassuring shoulder squeeze and she's stopping him/clinging to him simultaneously without even looking at him.

nekodromeda
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:13 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby nekodromeda » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:42 am UTC

The way I read the comic (after the 4th or umptymillionth time, admittedly) is that he (guy in comic, not Randall) has called a psychiatric ward or an ambulance after (something traumatic that has the girl in a corner). The top right corner panel is him handing the phone to her, and the lower left panel is her talking on the phone to the people, ending in them coming to take her to where she can get help.

That said, even though I'm just a faceless reader, I'm getting kind of concerned for Randall. I mean, I know that this is just a comic, but dammit, I've known too many people with serious issues that I don't want someone whose work I admire and like to have these kinds of problems.

User avatar
glasnt
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:18 am UTC
Location: SQUEE!

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby glasnt » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:43 am UTC

I also really hope that this is not something Randall is going though. It makes me sad inside that this could be happening to anyone. I guess I'm just a please make it better kind of person.

Also, if it was a girl in 'Forget', and then this one followed, it would make a pretty accurate timeline of my life. Again :(

User avatar
Bjoseph
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 9:32 pm UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Bjoseph » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:44 am UTC

slightly happier timeline/interp:
1. ambulance frame taking her to the padded room (possibly after a suicide attempt) while man watches her get taken away.
2. girl crying bottom left
3. large epiphany frame ("It turns out you can't take responsibility for someone else's happiness" frame)
4. He decides that he'll give it a try anyways and try to make her happy.

The end.
Bo says bleh.

User avatar
11-Sodium
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:22 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby 11-Sodium » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:45 am UTC

Glad to see I wasn't the only one confused by this comic. The fact that she isn't in a body bag is a good sign that she is still alive, but it still doesn't look good. I hope we aren't left in the dark about the outcome of this, though I must admit I find it strange for me to become so involved in the situation of a character in a comic. I think it is just because it is true to life; depression can really ruin a person's life.

User avatar
mudge
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:14 pm UTC
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby mudge » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:47 am UTC

Dammit, now emo crap is taking over XKCD.
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mudge <-- buy my CD (Now back in stock!)

User avatar
OneLess
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:10 am UTC

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby OneLess » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:49 am UTC

mudge wrote:Dammit, now emo crap is taking over XKCD.

Recognizing that life sucks sometimes != emo
“Observation: Couldn’t see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs.” –Carl Sagan

Last edited by OneLess on Sat Dec 17, 3003 10:35 am, edited 0 time in total.

User avatar
Zak
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:25 am UTC
Location: In the making.

Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Zak » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:49 am UTC

Slow down!

Cant you hearsee you talk post too fast?
*waggles eyebrows*


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mscha and 46 guests