Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm Going To Russia To Have This Dude Buy Me Some Lottery Tickets



LUCK: a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person: She's had nothing but bad luck all year. 

Lucky? I'll say. But what sort of luck are we witnessing?

I count four vehicles that could have at least found a foot to roll over. There's a white car on the right, the kamikaze dump truck that got the ball rolling, whatever kind of truck that has the camera in it, and of course, the truck that was at the gasoline dispenser that was struck by the others.

And there's where luck's sometimes ambiguous nature reveals itself. I imagine the truck at the petroleum dispenser belonged to the man who survived that maelstrom of metal and happenstance. People don't drive such trucks to get to their job being CEO of multinational industries. That fellow might have just watched his livelihood being wrecked while his life was being spared. Luck has a Janus face.
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. He is usually a two-faced god since he looks to the future and the past.
The connexion of the notions of beginning (principium), movement, transition (eundo), and thence time has been clearly expressed by Cicero. In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself moves forth and back because of Janus's working. In one of his temples, probably that of Forum Holitorium, the hands of his statue were positioned to signify the number 355 (the number of days in a year), later 365, symbolically expressing his mastership over time. He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world, such as religion and the gods themselves, he too holds the access to Heaven and other gods: this is the reason why men must invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray or placate. He is the initiator of human life, of new historical ages, and financial enterprises: according to myth he was the first to mint coins and the as, first coin of the libral series, bears his effigy on one face.  (Wikipedia)
So there's Janus, throwin' gang signs and holding the velvet rope at the Studio 54 queue for heaven. And there you are, yammering at one face trying to tell him about all the bad luck you overcame in this world, and he turns his head to cough and you're looking at another face who says: "Can I help you?"

There is the old saw about your life passing before your eyes during such encounters with the actuary's henchmen.There's a kernel of truth in that one. All sorts of things run through your head when you're about to die, and occasionally you don't die and you remember them, then try to make sense of them. But there isn't any sense to them. Humans like to see patterns where there aren't any, and being run over by two trucks, a car, and then having your twitching bones incinerated in a puddle of spilled gasoline (or not) is no exception. The dazed fellow might be thinking about what he had for lunch, or a Chekov play, or whatever, but that doesn't make it important.

It is, as Homer likes to say, just a bunch of stuff that happened. That applies to either Homer the Ionian or the one that hails from Springfield. Perhaps our hero will be transformed by his adventure. But I'm not going to look for him in the dictionary under the word: Luck.

Aplomb, however ...

6 comments:

pjt said...

Some people are less lucky:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55_GYqde2Xg

Youtube has tons of these videos of course, but this one is somehow particularly shocking because it shows how a very minor mistake in your driving can get everyone in the car killed (when roads are not designed for safety).

But what actually puzzles me is why the dashboard cameras are so popular in Russia, as you have much more of these from Russian sources than others. I believe it has to do with their culture in insurance policies.

Casey Klahn said...

Happy Independence Day, Russian Dude.

If he hadn't panicked, and started screaming "I'm dead," he would've hit the breaks instead and driver's-sided the dumper.

Mario Andretti would approve.

Leslie said...

I have never been involved in an accident, but I should have been a dozen times. Not sure what that means.

MAX Redline said...

I was involved in an incident with a 2% survival rate. Obviously, I'm in the 2%. My life didn't pass before my eyes - I was preoccupied with trying to stay alive.

Bram said...

The Russians seem to love their dashboard cams. And they seem to be the worst drivers in the world.

Sam L. said...

I was going to comment, but I can't remember the word I want. OY! Something on the acceptance of the inevitability of death and the myriad of directions whence it might suddenly come, and the freaks of chance and the chance of freaks, if you get my drift. I'm down here underneath it somewhere.