ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Israel vs. Iran by mattsteinglass
April 6, 2009, 9:24 am
Filed under: Iran, Israel

Two gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, decide to settle their differences via a match of old-fashioned chicken: they go out to an abandoned drag strip, where the gangs’ champions each get in an old convertible, which they rev up and drive straight at each other as fast as they can. Whichever driver swerves out of the way to avoid the other one loses.

So the Jets and Sharks drivers roll up the sleeves of their T-shirts, pop a stick of chewing gum, hop in their cars, rev up and tear away from the starting lines. An eighth of the way down the drag strip, the Jets driver starts honking his horn like a madman. After a second the Sharks driver start honking like a madman too.

A quarter of the way down the drag strip, the Jets driver takes out his switchblade, puts his chewing gum on the handle, and sticks it on the front of his windshield on the right-hand side, so if the cars crash into each other it’ll go flying straight into the other driver’s face. After a second the Sharks driver takes out his switchblade and his gum and does the same.

Three-eighths of the way down the drag strip, as the two cars scream towards collision at the midpoint, the Jets driver decides, okay, looks like I’ll have to pull out the big guns. He unscrews his steering wheel and throws it out of the car. Now there’s literally no way for him to swerve aside — the other guy is the only one who can avoid a collision.

A second later the Sharks driver unscrews his steering wheel and does the same.

Wait a minute, thinks the Jets driver, who happens to have a Master’s degree in game theory — that doesn’t make any goddamn sense at all. If he wants to crash, he can drive straight into me, but the point of throwing out the wheel is to  —

And then the cars slam into each other. A few days later both drivers wake up next to each other in the hospital. The Jets driver turns his neck to look at the Sharks driver — it’s the only part of his body he can move, with the body cast on — and asks, “Hey. Why’dja throw out your steering wheel? If you wanted to crash, you could just steer right into me. The point of throwing out the wheel is to signal to the other guy that you can no longer steer out of the way, in order to encourage him to steer out of the way. But you knew I couldn’t steer out of the way any more anyway, on account of I threw my wheel out the window. So what was the logic of throwing away your steering wheel? Who were you signaling to? What were you trying to do?”

“Steering wheel? Oh, so that’s what that thing was,” says the Sharks’ driver. “I never drove a car before. Those guys with the sharks on their jackets stuck me in and told me to keep pushing down on the pedal. For the rest I was just doing whatever you did, I figured you probably knew what you were doing.”

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