God in the Machine

Literally "God in the machine", Deus Ex Machina originally referred to Greek plays, where the "gods" would be lowered onto the stage with ropes in order to provide a quick resolution to the story. Today, Deus Ex Machina refers to any improbably and/or overly convenient character or mechanism that comes out of nowhere and saves the character(s).


"I don't get it, Big Dan..." -George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Monday, May 10, 2004

Always time for a joke

Three young women die and, as you might expect, go to heaven. Also as you might expect, St. Peter is there at the gates to greet them.

"Welcome to Heaven, ladies," Peter says. "Enjoy you eternity here. We only have one rule in Heaven: don't step on the ducks."

The women head into Heaven and sure enough, there are ducks everywhere - on the gold streets, on the lakes, in the trees, flying overhead. Before long the first woman has accidentally stepped on a duck.

St Peter, who doesn't miss much, appears immediately with the ugliest man you ever saw. He chains the man to the first woman and tells her that because she broke the only rule in Heaven, she'll be chained to this ugly man for all eternity.

The other two women are, needless to say, much more careful, but there are ducks EVERYWHERE. Ducks in the street, in homes, just piles and piles of heavenly ducks. Before long the second woman steps on a duck.

Immediately, St. Peter appears. With him is a man more grossly ugly even than the first. This man looks like he fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. This is not a pretty man. He looks like his face caught on fire and someone tried to put it out with an axe. Needless to say, Peter chains him to the second woman and leaves.

The third woman gets VERY careful. She sits when she can, avoids ducks at every turn and spends her waking hours consumed with NOT stepping on ducks. She does well, and makes it six whole months without stepping on a duck.

Suddenly, Peter appears with the most gorgeous man she's ever seen. He's tall, muscular and tan. This man looks like he came off the cover of a romance novel. Without a word, Peter chains the pair together.

"Wow," says the third woman, gazing up at the hunk of a man. "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to YOU for all eternity."

"I don't know about you," the man says, "but I stepped on a duck."


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