After a while, we scooted out over the pool and were eating pizza on the high dive, in the rain

Thanks to Targuman, who offers this as not as CIDU but a physics challenge. “The comic is easy enough to understand (although having been a Jeremy and a pool rat, I can NOT imagine using napkins at a pool, no matter the location), but what is insane is the length of that board! Can someone with math skills figure out how long that would be in real life? A ‘high dive’ is 3 meters tall and the board looks at least three times as long as it is high…” However, do we know the math to apply to cartoon physics?


  1. You can consider it either by estimating the characters’ heights or by measuring in pizza boxes. In pizza boxes, it looks like 3 additional boxes to the right, and at least 4-5 to the left. At 16″ per box, call it 9 boxes. 9 x 16 = 144 inches or 12 feet. That would be about 2 body lengths, which jibes pretty well.

    If you look at pictures of high dive boards, they seem to be in the 6-7 foot range. They are also considerably thicker. Two guys on a board this long and thin would probably bend it far enough to cause them to slide off into the pool, or at least be in danger of it.

    Looks like Scott and Borgman got their view of diving boards from cartoons. Oh wait…

  2. I used pizza boxes, too, but I think it has to be longer than Mark H’s estimate. The drawing of the board is sort of halfway between isometric and three-point perspective, but I decided to cheat and treat it as isometric. By pasting a section of the edge of the pizza box along the edge of the board, I came to a total board length of 11 boxes, which (@ 16″/box) would be 14.6 feet. However, it has to be even longer than that, both because of perspective and because the tower and the cantilever support have to be much longer than just 3 feet. The way it is drawn, those two 150-pound dead weights near the front end of the board would exert incredible leverage at the back end. I don’t think they are going to roll off the board as it curves, I think they are going to snap the whole thing off of the tower.

    As for the board’s height, the twelve rungs shown on the ladder could be used on either a 3-meter or a 5-meter board, but the latter is more probable. For a three-meter board, the rungs would be only 9 inches apart, a 15-inch separation seems more rational.

  3. The limited space of comic strip panels sometimes demand strange proportions.

  4. @ Dana K – I have no idea to what the allusion is supposed to be, but after they are dumped off the board, they will be in deep water and will either drown or get eaten by an enormous fish. In that sense, sitting on the board could be interpreted as a way to commit suicide (although admittedly highly inefficient).

    P.S. As you might guess, I was forced to read Hemingway in high school and didn’t particularly enjoy it.

  5. It’s a normal diving board, with weird perspective. You often see this kind of thing in photography.

    Look. for example, at this picture, where the guy’s leg seems much longer than his body.

    Or see this article.
    Note two picture of a tractor and a building. The seems small and far away in one shot, but large and close in the second. And all the photographer did was use different lenses.

    I think the picture is a deliberate attempt to coney a similar sense of distorted perspective.

  6. “After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.”

    The ending of “A Farewell to Arms”. Often given as an example of Hemingway’s use of apparently inexpressive prose for highly expressive effect in context. Of course that’s hard to see when looking at it absolutely out of any context.

    Can’t see this as especially apropos to the Zits, but there is the “in the rain” phrasing from the dialogue.

  7. Thanks to DB-LD for identifying the template that Mitch used for the headline to which Dana was referring. Now I understand why I couldn’t find anything relevant in the comic. I considered mentioning earlier that since it was hardly conceivable that Hemingway wrote much about pizza or napkins, I was sure that the reference must have been in the first panel. Those three words “in the rain” in the second panel do not seem to be a sufficient link.

  8. And all the photographer did was use different lenses.

    And move a whole hell of a way back from the tractor in the second shot…

  9. @ zbicyclist – Clicking on the “Zits” tag reveals that it is indeed “normal”, but you have to scroll down a bit to get past the strips in which they are all wearing mittens:

  10. P.P.S. Once again, Mitch fishes a comment out of moderation faster than I can post a second comment or send an e-mail.

  11. Pete may be right that it is an effort to show a wide angle distortion, but then the front of the board nearest us should be unusually large too. So perhaps it is a poor effort. But larK is correct too, there is more in that tractor image than simply a different lens, it is from a completely different position and perspective.

  12. At first I thought they were emulating the famous photograph of a half-dozen construction workers seated on a girder having lunch. I figured everyone else they asked said “You’re freakin’ goofy, you know that?” or words to that effect.

  13. I think y’all are over thinking this. There are two large balloons filled with words that have to be placed without interfering with the images, and still showing what could be recognizable as a high dive. This is the result.

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