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Post details: Phantom of the Operations

Phantom of the Operations

Over the years, I came to believe that inanimate objects are not as lifeless as they would have us believe. I think that they are just playing "dead", in much the same way that we, humans, sometimes do when confronted with a bear. Such behavior has evolved as a way to survive interactions with stronger species. Sure, most of the time objects look perfectly comatose, but when no one is looking they wage their minimal lives at us with a devilishly wicked sense of humor. Let me support this hypothesis with some evidence.

Not so long ago a faucet in my bathtub started dripping. At first slowly, in that mild tick-tocking manner which you could use as a time measuring device or an instrument of torture, but over the course of a day this minor incontinence intensified into trickling and threatened to grow into a large scale emergency. I made a full-hearted effort to stop it, or at least curtail its intensity, but no matter what torgue or pressure I applied to the knob - whether I pushed it in gently or slammed it forcefully - the water kept leaking. I kept twisting it left and right and right and left, sometimes so vehemently that the knob must have felt that I am trying to teach it the difference between triple Salchow and double Rittberger, but I haven't elicited a single sign of improvement. After about 30 minutes, I finally threw my towel in (I had to, the water was everywhere) and called a plumber from the emergency service. And here comes the strange part. No sooner have I hung up that the faucet stopped dripping. The trickle had not weakened. It had stopped. Completely. As if it just waited for me to make the call. As if it relished the fact that now I had to call again to cancel. The timing was just too impish to ascribe it to a mere coincidence.

And it's not like this happened for the first time. For my graduation, for instance, I got this really nice Swiss watch. After serving my chronometric needs for several decades, the watch stopped functioning although I inserted two brand new batteries in it - not simultaneously, of course. Since it was a really expensive watch, I decided to pay a visit to a watchmaker. As I stood in the line, I was despondently watching the two little hands that had stubbornly stopped at 3.10 and remained there for the past two days. I waited patiently, and when it was my turn and watchmaker asked what was the matter, I leaned over the counter to point out the problem. It was then when I noticed that the watch resting on my extended palm was ticking like there was no tomorrow and showing 3.11 and counting. I felt like a major nincompoop!

If you think these are some kind of singular instances, let me demonstrate that objects can come alive repeatedly. In the hallway of my apartment I keep an old brown rug on which I usually place my shoes. I always put this rug on the left so it would not interfere with me opening a built in closet. But every so often, I mysteriously find that rug on the right. So I put it back on the left, forget about it, and after a few weeks I find the rug on the right side again. It happened already at least 5 times, and since this is a recurring phenomenon, I would like to propose several explanatory theories.

(a) This is a rare macroscopic instance of quantum tunneling in which the rug overcomes the energy barrier of my hallway and spontaneously moves to the wrong side

(b) I have contracted some exotic mental illness that manifests itself by selectively erasing my memory, specifically that part which is responsible for remembering that I move the rug from left to right

(c) the rug has some kind of nomadic ancestors, perhaps its daddy was a magic carpet, and it feels compelled to change its location periodically

(d) some of my guests have a warped sense of humor and move the rug to play practical jokes on me

(e) the rug is one of the mechanical kinds, which through some sort of electronic contraption moves around, like those auto-piloted vacuum cleaners

(f) the rug is alive and simply pulls my leg (perhaps it is its rugged way to protest being stepped on)

Well, you can think whatever you wish, but my money rides on (f).


Comment from: Audrey [Visitor]
1. You needed a washer for the faucet.
2. They were probably cleaning the floor.
Permalink 03/03/09 @ 10:11

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