First Comic Previous Comic Random Comic Next Comic Current Comic
First Comic Previous Comic Random Comic Next Comic Current Comic

On the off-chance any of my readers are unfamiliar with the ship-of-Theseus question (also sometimes simplified as the grandfather's ax paradox), it goes a little something like this:

Theseus has a ship, and he sails around the ancient Greek world having various adventures. As he goes, he replaces things - a plank is rotten, so he swaps it out, the sails have holes, so he buys new ones, etc. Eventually, every single piece of the ship is replaced with a new, equivalent piece.

Some demigod fanboy, however, is following Theseus around, collecting all these cast-off pieces. Once he has the full set, he reassembles the ship from its original constituent parts, and sails off to MythiCon. He then finds a collector at the con and says "hey, I've got the real deal, here - the ship of Theseus, 100% authenticity guaranteed!". The collector, of course, says "hey, what do you take me for? Theseus is still out sailing his ship, so this can't be it!"

Who's right? Which ship is the real one?

And, of course, if we revisit the idea from a few strips ago of all your cells swapping out every seven years... which you is the real you?

(Friday afternoon, INT: SW and WW's apartment)

JH: I'm sorry about your suit. I had no idea. I... fuck, I'm such a-
WW: Hey now, none of that. I'm not mad. Today's a good news day, good vibes, don't beat yourself up. Did you throw the suit out?
JH: No, I... I've still got it at home.
WW: Well, I still might be able to get it fixed. I've got a guy who can work some miracles with a needle.
JH: Mm. Would he be able to do miracles on a scrunchie, do you think?
WW: A what now?
JH: Scrunchie. Hair tie thing. Torn pink fabric, snapped elastic band in the middle.
WW: I know what a scrunchie is. I also know they're not five hundred dollars. Can't you just buy a new one?
JH: It apparently has sentimental value. Ellen's cancerous mom gave it to her right before she died.
WW: Ouch.
WW: Well, I'd expect he could fix the fabric, but we'd have to replace the elastic in the middle. So you'd be starting to get into scrunchie-of-Theseus paradox territory.
JH: Mm. My admittedly sparse knowledge of ancient Greek fashion may need to be updated.