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 …

#5. 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.

#4. 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.

#3. 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.

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