Funniness Negates Wrongness
Friday, April 04, 2003
Instant Karma's Going To Get You
Sorry for the late post today and even more sorry that I didn't post at all yesterday, but I've been busy with other things, such as work. And a concert. Today's post is probably going to be short and pointless, kind of like Richard Simmons.

I want to share a parable about karma with you. Like to hear it? Here it goes. (I'm not sure where that came from...) Wednesday morning, I got up, took a shower, got dressed and made my way from my stylish and exclusive loft to the parking garage in which I had parked the Riflemanmobile the night before. I left the garage and headed towards the city of Southlake, wherein my office is located. During this 45-minute commute, I listend to Howard Stern and tried to avoid crazy drivers. In the back of my mind, I was looking forward to seeing Minotaur and everyone else for the Sigur Ros concert at the Grenada Theatre later that evening. As I approached the city of Southlake, I noticed a familiar rumbly in my tumbly. It was the faint cries of hunger pangs emanating from the deep, darkest bowels of my, well...uh...bowels. What to do? Could I stick it out the four hours until lunch time? Probably not. Or should I hope that there was some tasty nyum-nyums in the vending machine at the office? No. No chance of that. Our vending machine only seems to stock rock-hard pretzels, the occasional Chick-O-Stick, unsalted, and therefore unflavored, peanuts, Funyons and old, droopy Twizzlers. Action would have to be taken to stem the screams of starvation coming from the Ethiopia that was my stomach. I made an executive decision to partake in that paragon of American fast food breakfast sandwiches--the McDonald's Sausage Biscuit with Egg. Oh, how my Pavlovian mouth watered at the thought of a biscuit topped with a greasy sausage patty and molded scrambled egg.

I raced down Texas 114, past the DFW International Airport, towards Southlake and my just reward. I weaved in and out of traffic, dodging SUVs and semis with impunity. I was the king of the road, heading towards my nirvana. In the distance, I could see the Golden Arches of Mecca. My hajj was nearing its conclusion. I pushed the accelerator closer to the floor. Faster and faster I went, the other cars mere blurs in my periphery. The blacktop stretched into the distance. I was on the edge of my seat, awaiting a glimpse of the exit to Kimball Avenue and, thus, my final destination. Finally, there on the edge of the horizon--the edge of reality--was the green overhead sign announcing Kimball Avenue with a white arrow that seemed to be a poetic flourish. I floored the accelerator. The Riflemanmobile's engine screamed like a banshee, echoing the screams of my gastro-intestinal system. The speedometer's needle crept past 60...80...100...onward and onward. All of reality became a blur. Time and space warped. Movements of my hands left ghostly blurred trails in my vision. I exited the freeway, onto the frontage road. The intersection with Kimball Avenue lie ahead. The light was green. Green, but stale. Would it last? Or would I be forced to hit the brakes, deploy the chute and come to a complete stop? I go for it or should I stop? Yellow...Yellow...reality still distorted...time and space warped...yellow...I began to wonder if I might be going to fast to see if the light turned red because of the peculiar effects of "redshift" which occurs at very high light was wasn't going to make it...begin to deploy brakes...I pressed the brake pedal into the floor...pondered hitting the chute deployment button...everything slowing down...everything coming into back to reality...slower...slower...slower...stop. Waves of heat rose from the engine bay of the Riflemanmobile and from the four-wheel disc brakes. Wait...wait...come on eyes are glued to the overhead traffic Brad and Janet in the Rocky Horror Picture Show I shiver with antici.....................................................pation. Green. Green. Green....repeating over and over, relentlessly in my head. The word becomes a mantra. A sacred recitation to encourage the gods to divinely intervene and change the color of the light. To my left, down Kimball, I can see McDonald's, beckoning me. The sausage, the biscuit and the egg all sing their siren song to me, drawing me into their trap. Overhead, the traffic light mocks me, laughing as I await its chameleon-like color shift. For a split-second, it changes to yellow then back to red, causing me to get my hopes up only to have them crushed under the heel of cruelty's boot. The light continues to mock me. It's sentient. I know it is. I gaze deep into it's red orb and am reminded of HAL in Kubrick's 2001. HAL was an evil computer and this is an evil traffic light. I come to the conclusion that anything with a cyclop-like single red "eye" must be evil.

Green. The first photons of green wavelength light reach my corneas. The corneas focus the photons onto my retinas at the back of my eyes. Rods and cones are stimulated, releasing minute electrical nerve impulses down my optic nerves into my brain. The impulses reach my visual cortex, which assembles the information conveyed in the impulses into an image. This representation of reality is transmitted to my cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex processes this image and decided that the light has turned green. Green means go. Go means "remove right foot from brake pedal, reposition said foot, press down on accelerator pedal". Cerebral cortex assembles instructions for muscles in my lower leg to carry out this action. Instructions are sent via chemical/electrical impulse to brain stem, down the spine to a major nerve in right leg. Nerve carries impulse to muscles. Muscle cells interpret message and release chemicals causing cells to contract and relax as necessary. Foot raises from brake. Moves to right. Presses down on accelerator. Accelerator pedal pulls cable leading to engine throttle. Throttle opens up, allowing more oxygen and gasoline into engine cylinders. Mixture of air and fuel is ignited by sparkplug. As the fuel-air mixture ignites, it expands, validating Boyle's Gas Law (PV=nRT). To accomodate this expansion, the piston pushes down, turning the crankshaft. The crankshaft rotates the cam connecting it to the transmission. The transmission converts this rotation into power for the wheels. The wheels turn, making a chirp as they momentarily overcome static friction with the pavement. Less than a second after the evil light has turned green, the Riflemanmobile is on the move again.

I turn left, under 114 and head up towards McDonald's. I draw closer, flicking the turn signal stalk on my steering wheel downwards to indicate my desire to turn left. I pull into the turn lane and wait for the oncoming traffic to clear. Soccer mom in an SUV that will never see the off-road unless she's distracted by a screaming kid in the backseat and runs off a freeway embankment. Semi hauling a load of lumber. Short school bus with a payload of "special needs" ( a polite way of saying retarded) kids. Finally, clearance to continue. I turn the steering wheel counter-clockwise and turn across the north-bound lanes into McDonald's parking lot.

Much to my dismay, I find that the line for the drive-through (or, in fast-food parlance. "drive-thru". Mainly because the people who tend to work at these places can't read and don't know better). I crane my neck to see if there is a line inside the building, briefly considering whether or not to go inside. Looks like the Beatles' are stepping off the plane at Idlewild. People are packed in like sardines, clamoring for Egg McCartneys...err, McMuffins and pancakes. I decide that perhaps the "drive-thru" is my best, safest option. I pull in behind a green minivan and steel myself and my stomach for an inevitable wait. Time passes slowly. Line is at a standstill. I feel myself growing older. Finally, we inch forward, then stop again. I look at the clock. Late for work now. Oh well...eventually, my time will come. I listen to the radio, staring off into oblivion.

A silver flash in my right eye catches my attention. I look up and see a new 7 Series BMW coming in the opposite direction I am facing. It was entering the parking lot from an exit. In to the out of is something I cannot tolerate. I notice the driver is a blonde woman in her early thirties with a blank stare on her face. No wonder she can't comprehend with her single brain cell that she shouldn't be coming into the parking lot in such a manner. Blatant disregard for rules. Something that I've learned that you're entitled to if you drive a car that costs more than $50,000 or so. As she draws closer, I can see her face is etched with stupidity. Suddenly, she stops perpendicular to the turn in the "drive-thru" line that leads to the intercom-cum-menu order-taking device. Her right turn signal flickers to life, rhythmically blinking on and off.

"What the hell?" I think to myself.

It becomes apparent that she wants to cut in line, further flouting the rules of the "drive-thru".

"Bitch," is the only thing that I can think off.

"Uhn..uh...No...Not going to happen," I find myself saying out loud.

I allow the Riflemanmobile to roll forward. Closer and closer to the green minivan. I stop close to the rear of the green minivan, leaving only enough space for a single layer of air molecules to separate us. There's no way I'm going to allow this crazy blonde entry in front of me. The green minivan creeps forward and I stick to it like a remora on a shark's belly. What the hell? Shock creeps through my body. Somehow the blonde has enabled her BMW to wedge its right fender into a minute space between the Riflemanmobile and the green minivan. God Dammit. The new 7 Series must use some sort of advance technology to enable it to morph into various shapes allowing it to fit into tight-spaces. Perhaps something like the liquid metal of which the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day was made.

I honk my horn at her, indicating my anger. Her visage turns to face me. Pure evil is painted into her face. I'm almost expecting to see a single red eye, but I don't. Her left hand raises and extends its middle digit. She mouths something at me. Unlike HAL in 2001, I can't read lips. I'd like to think that she mouthed "Thank You". But I'm pretty sure that "Thank" doesn't start with an "F". Or at least not in English.

She pulls her 7 Series forward to the order-taking device. Her window rolls down and she begins to speak her order to the oracle. I hold down my horn, its harmonious sound drowning out her voice and lifting my spirits. I can see frustration in her face. She apparently repeats her order several times. Finally she moves forward in line and I can place my own order.

Now, if she were smart, she would have returned the favor and laid down the unholy battle cry of her Bavarian war machine. But she didn't. She just flipped me off again. I placed my order for a sausage biscuit with egg and a medium Coke and pulled forward behind her.

Ahead of us, on the left, I noticed a thick steel pole erected at the corner of the structure, designed to prevent errant drivers from running into the facade of this fast-food Mecca. I noticed it. She didn't. With a almost sickening metallic clang, her driver's side mirror struck the pole and was summarily relieved of its bonds. It swung towards the ground, only saved from impact by the metal cable running into the depths of the door that controls the mirror's refractory position. The blonde craned her neck to look out the window. There swung her mirror, a protruding screw etching a hyperbolic arc into the silver paint of her precious BMW. A great, hearty belly laugh began deep in my innards, gathering steam and rushing up my body, finally escaping my mouth. The blonde looked at me with a glare that could melt diamonds, as she was hearing me laugh at her misfortune because my window was still down from ordering. I laughed and laughed, then honked my horn and waved. If looks could kill...I kept laughing at her. What an unfortunate time for karma to rear its head. Her German car was filling me with good old Germanic schadenfreud.

She paid for and received her order, speeding away from the "drive-thru", the mirror etching a deeper and deeper arc in her silver paint. I pulled up to the window and the Spaniard working it was laughing.

"Did you see that woman's mirror?" he asked in a thick accent. The kind of accent you get when your back is wet.
"Yes," I replied, "That was mighty funny..."
"She was one stupid blonde," he said.
"That she was, my minumum wage earning, dope-smuggling, guayabera shirt-wearing amigo."

We both laughed as he handed me my food. As I drove away, satisfied that the Riflemanmobile was intact and that I had finally received my much-needed nourishment, I bit into the sausage biscuit with egg. Ahhh...nirvana....