1. They are (or think they are) what they are labeled. The #2s are number twos and the #1 thinks he is Number One.

  2. It’s not great though. He’s accusing them of smelling because they’re “number twos”. I don’t know about you guys, but some of the bus station toilets I’ve been too have quite an acrid aroma of number 1 in there. Seems like a “pot calling…” situation which demeans this joke and leads to a little confusion.

  3. Stan. You have to shift gears. He’s not number one… He’s! Number! One! He’s! Number! One!

    Although the confusion doesn’t really work. The number two jokes does make you assume the joke is about him being number one which makes absolutely zero sense. However as the joke is supposed to be about him being Number One what be better if he made some jokes about them being Number Twos instead of them being number twos. But whereas jokes about number twos are pretty obvious, there’s really nothing significant or associated with being Number Two. Perhaps the cartoonist should have …. Tried Harder!!! …. *crickets*…. (dang, geezer references….)

  4. “Stan. You have to shift gears. He’s not number one… He’s! Number! One! He’s! Number! One!”

    Yea, I get that. All I meant was that being Number! One! in the context the very pencil itself is proposing (Number 2 is 5h1t) isn’t all that great, as it would surely mean that he’s p155. Hardly a reason to be narcissistic.

    It also lessens the joke for those of us trying to work it out as it may lead us (well, me) down the wrong path initially. I think it may have done the same for others, as it ended up here.

  5. The cartoonist couldn’t decide. There are two jokes. One is the toilet joke. The other is the narcissist. Either one would work. Combine them and it just makes it confusing.

  6. I don’t see the toilet joke here. It’s just a play on the numbering of pencils according to their lead’s relative hardness. Number Two pencils abound simply because standardized tests require them. Do you see #1 pencils often? Or, #3 for that matter?

    Now, artists and draftsmen use pencils that are labeled H or B, or HB, etc., which correspond to the hardness numbering system. They don’t factor into the joke though.

    In the end, Mr. #1 isn’t as popular or useful as he thinks he might be.

  7. @ Grawlix – My biology teacher in high school required us all to buy #4 pencils for lightly sketching things we observed under a microscope. The school store was (of course) sold out of them long before I got there, and I was not able to find them anywhere else (this was more than a decade before online purchases were possible). The only pencil I even found (back then) that was harder than a #3 turned out to be a #9, and was about as useful for drawing as a carpenter’s nail.

  8. “I don’t see the toilet joke here.”

    The number 1 pencil says, ‘You smell.’ to the number 2 pencil. Number 2. Geddit?

  9. I am an odd ball – I love using an F or even an H pencil. We had to get an assortment in first year for our draughting class, and I kept that one for taking notes. I never replaced it, because it’s so much cheaper and easier to get HB. (My husband used to use something like a 4B or maybe even softer, for emphasis when he needed to quickly scribble something dark in his notes, but I’m not organised enough to juggle two different pencils. Especially since I was using mechanical pencils at the time, so I couldn’t even go by the letter stamped into the side.)

  10. Normally, “HB”=”#2” (and “2H”=”#4”), but it turns out that pencil hardness is not a standardized scale, Not only does the hardness for a given designation vary according to manufacturer, the relationship between the “B/H” and “numeric” scales is not always identical.

  11. Wait, so I can potentially fulfil my enjoyment of harder pencil leads just by switching brands? Sweet!

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