5 Unsolved Mysteries of Everyday Life That Make No Sense
There is a vast and terrible alien conspiracy at work. Sinister forces thrum beneath our very feet, toiling away in an effort to erode our human society and replace it with their own. I know this for a fact. I have evidence. Look no further than the unassuming hot dog: Better and worse comedians than I have noted that they come in packs of eight, while buns come in packs of six. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We shall go deeper. If there are not malevolent beings secretly sabotaging our society, then why in the ever-loving fuck ...
Do So Many Urinals Not Have Walls?
I get it.
I get why, on occasion, you'll run into a bathroom with no little privacy wall to shade your junk from the unsuspecting eyes of every bar patron unfortunate enough to wander in while you've got your dick on full display.
It's because of vandalism: Drunken assholes and teenagers will take the existence of an unadorned dong-blocker as a challenge, and will invariably write some homophobic, sexist, or racist slur on it. This is because the only way they know how to make their mark on the world is to leave it a slightly worse place. Pity them, for their plight is tragic.
But that explains why the urinal wall was removed -- not why it was never there in the first place. A removed urinal wall is society's time-out corner: We proved we could not be trusted with such a sacred responsibility, and our punishment is to flash our junk to a bunch of drunken rednecks every time we burn through a whiskey sour, or else stand way too close to a bowl full of strangers' pee and risk splash-back. But there is no rational explanation for a public bathroom intentionally built without any urinal walls in the first place.
For example: In my town, the bathroom of every single Regal Cinemas features a wall of 20 urinals, always positioned directly parallel to the entry door. If you're looking even slightly downward when you enter -- say, at a cellphone -- you are guaranteed to see another man's penis. If you were the unlucky pisser, that's a mandatory minor sex crime every time you use the facilities.
What are the possible explanations for this? Are the designers of bathrooms so far removed from society that they don't consider genital privacy in their layout? Are the owners of Regal Cinemas prior sex offenders who just want to show the other side how it feels? Almost certainly.
But that's irrelevant: I posit that this can only be the work of a cold and unfeeling conspiracy designed to either irreparably damage our bladders or permanently lower our morale after the post-Shrek crowd wanders into the toilet to hastily evaluate our wangs and finds them wanting.
Does the Escalator Handrail Move at a Different Speed from the Stairs?
What's the big deal, you might say: Who uses the handrail on an escalator anyway? Are we such lazy bastards that we need physical support just to stand stationary while an incredibly expensive, impossibly complicated machine walks up stairs so we don't have to?
It's the principle of the thing: Why do we have such an obviously, transparently broken machine in every public building on the planet?
Nobody uses the handrail because we all instinctively know that the handrail moves 6 mph slower than the stairs. We don't even think to question it. The basic human right to rest our hands somewhere that obeys the same speed limit as our bodies has been lost. So completely lost, in fact, that not a single dissenting voice is raised. If a man were to stand on the escalator, notice his own limb wandering away from his torso like a timid rabbit, raise his face to the sky, and scream, "NO MORE!" -- he's the one who would be deemed insane.
But he is not insane. We are. We, who numbly accept this oppression, are the crazy ones.
What possible explanation could there be for this incongruity? Is it to encourage us to remain in motion -- to actually move our legs and ascend the stairs, rather than stand there like pacified stair-cows? No! I know the true, sinister motivation. Think about it: Who actually needs the handrail?
The weak. The crippled. The elderly.
They require the assistance of the handrail just to remain upright, because a serious fall might kill them. And what does the escalator do in response? It moves the handrail at a different rate from the stairs. That's right: It slowly, ever so gently tries to pull invalids over every time they change floors. Every escalator on the planet is a device of murder, culling the weak from our herd so the stock will remain strong and fit enough to be eaten when the Mole People finally rise and need a steady food source.
Isn't There a Left Turn Signal at Every Major Intersection?
I concede that minor crossings, country roads, and infrequently used offshoots don't need and can't afford a traffic signal at every intersection. But that's not what this is about. This is about that one intersection in your town (you know the one; you avoid it like the plague, but about once a month you forget and find yourself stranded there for 10 minutes) that has its own light -- even an entire separate lane just for turning left -- and yet, when the red finally does blink off, it is not an arrow that greets you. It is the mocking, insensate verdant orb of cruelty.
"Go ahead," the non-signal light tells you, "green means go. You just mosey on ahead now -- just as soon as this car passes. And this one. And this one. Oh, would you look at this unceasing line of cars? This is crazy. Who could have foreseen this scenario? Oh, what, the light turned red again already? Maybe you'll have better luck next time. But what's this? It's happening again -- an eternal river of cars forever separating you from your destination? Haha, wacky! I'm sure you'll get a turn, eventually. I'm sure you'll get to go. The light is green. Green means go, after all ..."
The only way to get through that accursed light is to edge out into the middle of an active intersection, wait for it to turn yellow, then put the pedal to the floor as it turns red. You can only hope that the asshole in the oncoming Kia Soul isn't trying to run that yellow, too, otherwise you're getting T-boned. That's right: You have to risk a brutal and bloody death every single time you want to turn left on Fourth. And far from being an oversight, the authorities themselves installed this trap!
There is no possible reason for this. Is the arrow signal just staggeringly expensive? Does the arrow template industry have an unbreakable monopoly on little stainless steel cut-outs of arrow shapes? Does the amount of time it saves approaching traffic really justify risking a collision at every light change? No, the only explanation is that some great and alien force has calculated the traffic patterns and figured that people who want to turn left on Fourth are more prone to open rebellion, and it is trying to weed us out.
Is Sales Tax Not Factored into the Price of Goods?
Sales tax is a necessary evil. I understand. I'm not complaining about it, even though the state I live in doesn't have an arbitrary number tacked on to every transaction and we have yet to be consumed by the ever-approaching forest. But I digress. This isn't about the necessity of sales tax; it's about the wildly uneven prices of goods in a state with sales tax.
If your state has sales tax and the businesses you frequent aren't gypsy caravans perpetually roving across the nation, but rather ordinary shops with fixed locations, then why the fuck don't they factor sales tax into the final price?
If your local sales tax is seven cents on the dollar, why does a Mars bar still cost 99 cents? That makes the true cost to you $1.06. What if you only have a dollar and foolishly assume that the price on the sticker buys you entrance to the nougaty halls of mighty Mars? Can you deal with that sort of disappointment? Plus, even if you have the cash, who the hell has a use for four pennies in this day and age?
And don't give me that "Stores won't drop their prices just to come out with an even amount" crap. They don't have to drop anything: If one of those convenience-store frankfurters normally costs $1.49 and they upped the price 37 cents, we would all still buy it because we're drunk and ready to make gastrointestinal mistakes. If an archaic and withered hot dog from 7-Eleven lists at $1.86 in a state with 7 percent sales tax, everybody would leave the store having paid two dollars even, feeling both happy and satisfied with the experience. That's because every time a transaction comes up as a nice even number, there is a part of every human being that feels as though we have accomplished something. With every transaction becoming a minor victory, consumer confidence would be through the roof. Spending would increase, the economy would skyrocket, and America would be saved. So why does everything cost $1.06?
I'm telling you: This is some Harrison Bergeron shit. The lizard people are trying to weigh you down with useless copper, one penny at a time, until you wake up one day and find you can no longer dance.
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Is Bus Fare Always an Odd Number When It Requires Exact Change?
Bus fare is $2.10. Only got two bucks? Go fuck yourself, walky. Only got three bucks? Plunk 'em in there. Haha, no, you don't get change. What, you too good to carry dimes? Why, in my day, a dime could get you two whole crates of nothing.
A dime couldn't buy you a god damn thing for as long as any human being has been alive.
But even if you carry change -- even if you have a small cache of coins hidden in your sock in case you encounter an old-timey newsie -- what guarantee is there that you have a dime? You're drunk as fuck and you just bought a pouch of mystery pills, a hot rod magazine, and a desiccated hot dog that looks like a mummy's dick -- you've got two dollars, two quarters, and four pennies, but not a dime in sight. You'll be damned if you're paying extra for the privilege of sitting on an uncomfortable plastic seat with an upholstery pattern like a Turkish rave and probably covered in a fine sheen of hobo ejaculate. So it looks like you're walking. You turn to leave, dignity intact, and then you stumble, almost drop your dog, fumble to recover it, and end up running in front of a car.
Now you're dead.
And all because public transport thinks we have little change belts bolted to our midriff in preparation for the ever-shifting cost of entry to a vehicle full of drunks and old people looking for captive conversation. It's really just a permutation of the sales tax conspiracy: The Cybermen don't want you escaping onto a passing bus when they're trying to assimilate you. They want you to fumble through that tiny pocket in your jeans that you keep thinking holds change, but really only holds lint and a thrice-washed receipt. They want you to come up empty, give the bus driver a heartfelt look, and be booted right back onto the pavement so they can steal your humanity unimpeded.
Or maybe public transportation is just run by a bunch of incompetent assholes. Occam's Razor and all that.