Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy endings and Occam's Razor

I'm a sucker for a happy ending. It's not that I prefer my Brother's Grimm Disneyfied or that I can't watch the Empire Strikes Back without weeping uncontrollably, it's just, well, I like a happy ending that doesn't feel like it cheated you. (Tom Robbins, for example, always leaves me feeling fleeced, despite a cover of clever and impenetrable similes.) If our hero gets the girl, rescues his father, and vanquishes the agonizingly annoying receptionist at my office, I'm going to feel fulfilled. (Especially the part about our receptionist, who's screaming about bagels right now in a language that appears to be English but may in fact just be hysterical grunting during some kind of bagel withdrawal seizure that, as I'm sure you can tell, is really distracting. It's like having a banshee on the Atkins diet craving potato bread in your brain. Where was I?)

Now, pretty much any neat, wrapped-in-a-bow style pleasant conclusion is going to be a little ridiculous. You can't really have a perfect ending without it being, at some level, a farce. But I'm okay with that.

Then, there's those times when life itself is a really weird fable that ends up all mushy and lovable and farcical all at the same time. Preferably this involves freaks. And communists. And dolphins. Yesterday, it involved all three.

Here's what happened: A couple of captive dolphins, usually far too smart to go munching on plastic, decided, well, to eat some plastic. Since plastic is rarely found growing naturally underwater, evolution had neglected to give the dolphins Tupperware-digesting amino acids and their trainers feared for their lives. So, they tried to extract the plastic with some sort of instrument (I'm imagining something like this) but they failed. Then with a special genius and a sense of porpoise (I'm sorry), they decided to call (who else?) the World's Tallest Man, who, as it turns out, also has really long arms. So he shows up (looking sharp, I must add), reaches in, yanks out some plastic, and vamooses. Your rather perfect happy ending to a tee.

I have to say: whoever was sitting there, faced with failure and a couple of unhappy dolphins, and thought "You know what? All we need is a really, really tall guy" is seriously a genius. He's like whoever decided, back when we were knee-deep in a costly World War, that we could save energy and increase productivity with more daylight and thought "You know what? Let's just move the clocks an hour." Occam's Razor used to it's fullest. Dolphins and steel magnates everywhere rejoice in unison to unexpected results.

4 comments:

SOL's view said...

Hey yeah. Saw that on the news here. Truly amazing. The size of the bloke! No way I would have thought of grabbing some tall fella wandering by when I could have bugged the local mechanic for some sort of grabbing tool......

Gasoline Hobo said...

you know, i was going to blog about that, but i decided on motley crue and the flying spaghetti monster.

i think you made the wiser decision.

birdmonster said...

SOL: Exactly. Plus, it's pretty cool that the world's tallest man did something beyond being the world's tallest man. I hope those fat motorcycle-riding twins can get in on some action like that.

GH: I dunno. That cracked me up. I feel like I'm spiraling out of control over here. I just hope I don't bring up "Mr. Belvedere" until January.

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