PLEASE EXCUSE THE LOSS OF PICTURE QUALITY

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These things happen--sunspots or whatnot. In the meantime, today's fun discussion topic. Did this ever happen to you? I don't mean this in every particular, because then you could answer "no" and go about your business without reading any farther. I mean something like this, okay? Jeez, you guys.

One time I was walking down the street, and I stumbled on a sidewalk edge that had lifted slightly in relation to its predecessor. Probably an underlying root or the first intimations of a region-destroying earthquake, but that's neither here nor there. Wherever it is, those are two place where it's not. By my decree, evidently. Okay, command-z.

And at the very moment I stumbled, a tall green trash can across the street tipped over. No proximate cause. It just tipped over. No gust of wind, no raccoon jumping out, no jilted pizza joint worker taking out his frustration at the nearest inanimate object. It just tipped over. And I had to conclude that it was related to my stumble. I had to, right? This messed me up for days afterward. What was the connection? I wracked my brain. I pounded my forehead with my fist. I asked co-workers to slap me in the back of the head. Although it was entirely unnecessary of me to do so, since they do it pretty much regularly anyway.And then a test occurred to me: if there was a causal relationship here, then if I hadn't tripped, the trash can wouldn't have tipped over. I named this The Torta Conjecture, and it appears from time to time in scholarly publications. so I tested the thesis, and one day when there was a trash can across the street, I purposely avoided the stumble-causing sidewalk edge, I just stepped right over the fucker without losing a beat -- and the trash can didn't tip over! It didn't budge. Well, as you can imagine, I was stunned by this confirmation of my conjecture. So there was a direct connection! Of course I took a stick and swept the area for ultra-fine nearly invisible strings, and keenly scoured the street for the tell-tale signs of one of those forests of laser beams that are constructed to prevent the theft of giant jewels from museums and which are woefully inadequate to the task, since they are overpowered on a regular basis by any old team of criminals that comes down the pike, the majority of whom seem to be led by the actor Gene Hackman, but that's neither here nor there. I decree.

So the Torta Conjecture remains a mystery, and has since become a litmus test for Unified-Theory Deduction types. What do people in the Litmus-Test industry say when they want to refer to something like this? There's another riddle to add to the list. It's one of those watershed moments when you suddenly realize that Life consists of nothing but mysteries and bafflements and contradictions, and they really only appear that way because we think they should make sense. Whereas in reality, as a learned colleague told me once, Shit Happens.

Now does this sound like the ramblings of an Older Gay Guy in San Francisco? I ask you.