February 18, 2008

Sometimes Occam is Wrong

Filed under: Ann the Columnist:Essays — Ann @ 3:37 pm

The other morning I was stopped at a traffic light heading out of town. It was a breezy day; as I watched, a gust of wind blew from its frame a large, handwritten advertising posterboard which a local merchant had placed in front of his shop. The posterboard landed in the right lane of Highway 12. I thought to myself, “In a little bit the owner will come out, see the ad, figure out that the wind dislodged it, and set it to rights.” However, just as a pickup truck approached from the other direction, another large gust of wind picked up the posterboard and plastered it against the large grille of the truck — just as the light turned green and the truck sped through the intersection and away into the distance.

This time I thought, “The poor shopkeeper is going to be convinced that someone made off with his carefully hand-lettered sign. That, after all, would be the simplest explanation: vandalism.” I almost wanted to park my car, find the poor guy, and explain what happened just so he could retain his faith in humankind. But my light was green: I had things to do. I could only hope that it didn’t ruin his day. Or that maybe the trucker would discover the sign and return it. As a friend of mine says, You never can tell.

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