On the Brokenness of Things

This orig­i­nally appeared on mis​ter​agye​man​.blogspot​.com on September 26, 2014.

Once in a while you happen to see some random com­mon­place thing with­out the filter of your expe­ri­ence, and it looks all wrong. It hap­pens quite often with words- all of a sudden the spelling looks… off, some­how, though you try to tell your­self it’s okay. I get that a lot: ‘whether’ does it too me on a reg­u­lar basis; occa­sion­ally ‘piece’ too.

This phe­nom­e­non is even more dis­turb­ing when it hap­pens in every­day life. Sometimes it hits so hard, it sticks in your mind all day. This type hap­pened three times in a week a couple of months ago, and now they are stuck for­ever. Even worse, now they’ve given birth to morals.

1. When you try to unin­stall your antivirus, and that action acti­vates a 70% off deal in the soft­ware. This is sad because it means you don’t get the good deal until you decide you don’t need it so much. The way the world works, the people who don’t par­tic­u­larly want some­thing require more per­sua­sion. If you’re hungry, you sell your birthright. If you’re not, you get your smart­phone at a third of the pre-launch order price. It does­n’t help when you say these things make sense. Of course they do; but should they?

2. When you see a flyer for linoleum or tiles and their big advan­tage is that they look like wood. Sometimes func­tion­al­ity isn’t as desir­able as appear­ance. We say it’s what’s inside that mat­ters, but you can only tell what’s inside by what you see. Plastic tiles last longer than wood pan­elling. Wood would require spe­cial main­te­nance, prob­a­bly. So wood does­n’t just look good, it also sug­gests that you have the money and sophis­ti­ca­tion to main­tain it. This sort of thing hap­pens all around us. ‘Cheap’ is now offi­cially an insult.

3. When you see an ambu­lance being towed. I saw this one on a day when I really needed some­thing nice to happen. It didn’t help my mood. It stayed on my mind the whole day, then a week later I saw a tow truck being towed. Sometimes, the helper needs help. Sometimes the fixer gets broken. And we’ll say, ‘c’est la vie’. That does­n’t explain anything.

I’m not sure what this all sig­ni­fies; I wrote it as a sort of cathar­tic exer­cise. But some­times it’s useful to remem­ber that it’s not an answer when you say ‘that’s the way it is’. We fly; it’s gen­er­ally accepted that that’s not ‘nat­ural’. Because nature isn’t nat­ural. The world is the result of entropy, matter fight­ing for energy. It’s the same story trans­posed in love, and war, and econ­omy. When you know a good thing, and logic is stand­ing in the way, ignore logic.