Saturday, September 23, 2006

Things Fall Apart

Yesterday, my good friend Mike lost the left rear tire off his Nissan Titan truck at 60 mph on the 101 freeway between Westlake Blvd and Hampshire Road. Fortunately, whether by dumb luck or God's grace, no one was hurt. Mike was able to pull his truck off to the side safely, and the tire, while bouncing up quite high, didn't hit any cars and didn't cross over into oncoming traffic. My friends and I, who were heading to lunch with Mike when it happened (two of us in his truck, two in a different car), were all quite amazed at the physics of this mechanical failure and circumspect about the possibilities of a different, tragic outcome. We were all glad that this accident didn't set up some huge chain reaction of mayhem and calamity. It's disconcerting to think that you are just the plaything of randomness; that at some critical point you have no control of events whatsoever; that cause and effect will inexorably go about its necessary business, no matter what you think or do. And yet, chance still cuts you a break from time to time. Why?

It's a mystery.

So, after reflecting on this troubling mystery last night and this morning, I felt I needed a release from the inexplicable, at least for a short time. And, strangely enough, the first thing I saw this morning when I logged on was Tim Fort's kinetic art presentation, a pleasant bit of planned artistic entropy...

which reminded me of that crazy Rube Goldberg Honda ad that aired in April 2003.

Who knew that the contrivances of art and advertising could be so much fun? But all too soon, I'm afraid, I'll be back to contemplating those worrisome existential absurdities. Alas.


At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Q said...

You have a strange way of juxtaposing the severe, or at least significant, with the absurd. Having never driven a car when the wheel came off, I can't imagine the panic that that must have created. (Not to mention a potential lawsuit for Datsun.) So which vehicle were you in?

(I have, by the way, driven a car when the wheel came detached. It just didn't come _off_. It was still hanging on by the suspension, although it was disconnected from the axle. Which made for some curious diagnoses before I figured out what was actually going on. Needless to say, that was the end of that car.)

So, in the spirit of ending with the absurd, I'll contribute another Rube Goldberg-esque video called The Way Things Go. (You can't see the whole thing here - it's 30 minutes, and it's for sale - but there's a snippet on this site.)

- DsC

P.S. What the heck were you doing up at 5am?

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Berzinator said...

Hey Q- Well, I was not in the truck that lost its wheel, so I didn't directly experience the panic. I was surprised to find that my friends who were in the truck, were not terribly panicked either. Probably adrenaline or male bravado or some such stuff. Perhaps, one of them will leave a comment on this topic and then we'll know for sure. Anyway, thanks for the link. And in answer to your P.S., well, I was thinking. What else do you do at 5 A.M.?

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Q said...

Sleep. That's what I do at 5a. (It's the middle of the night for me! [g])

Very happy to hear that nobody was even panicked.


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