“I will outnumber you, I will outbillion you, I am the spectacle in the forest, I am the inventor of rubber. I will outrubber you.” – Fitzcarraldo
As trees were being unexpectedly cut down so Endeavour could continue its slow struggle through the night across the streets of Los Angeles, it struck me that this must be an incredibly valid example of an ironic situation in the most narrow sense of the concept.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m one of those people who’s always pretended to completely understand what situational irony means, technically speaking, even though I only kinda sorta remember what it means . . . so, I just looked it up and the internet confirms my hunch about tonight, offering this boiled-down definition: “when the result of an action is contrary to the desired effect.”
That said, imagine if 30+ years ago some precognizant source revealed to the major players behind the NASA Space Shuttle program that one day a tree in front of a McDonald’s in the middle of Los Angeles, of all places, will inhibit the path of one of their space orbiters to such a degree that this measly instance of terrestrial flora will need to be manually chopped right there in front of everybody . . . They probably would’ve laughed their asses off in disbelief: intentions ≠ consequences, and the massive (yet strangely appropriate) disparity between the two sides of this equation would be comical from their perspective.
Or imagine if, similarly and oppositely, this tree was notified as a strapping young sapling that it would eventually be severed to allow for a space shuttle to pass over.
“Because of the same Endeavour that will orbit earth 4,671 times?” it might ask, doubting fate (and apparently only quasi-precognizant).
“And travel 122,833,151 miles through outer space?”
“And spend 296 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, and 2 seconds beyond this planet’s atmosphere?”
“Well, damn,” and each subsequent ring would be earned in a confused blend of honor and nauseated resignation.