Day 5: OUT OF ORDERPosted: January 5, 2011
Today’s task is (or is supposed to be) a “mass social experiment” – each person reading through the book is supposed to put an “out of order” sign on “any item of public infrastructure … elevators, garbage trucks, cranes, phone booths, toilets, ventilation units…” – and “comprehensive social breakdown” is supposed to occur.
This would be awesome, like a mass no-pants subway ride, except that I’m almost certainly the only one in the area working through the Book at the moment, especially when one considers that the edition of the Book I’m working from was published in 2003. One “out of order” sign does not total chaos create.
I thought about making a stack of “out of order” signs and posting them around the city, but there were problems with this: I didn’t really have time, and it seemed like something that might get me arrested (and Day 5 is too early for that). I thought about creating a fake twitter account and sending random people “OUT OF ORDER, MOTHERFUCKER” messages, but the time thing was a factor again – and anyway, idiots on twitter aren’t a cause, but a symptom, of societal dysfunction, and joining the chorus, if it did anything, would probably do more harm than good.
I thought about this all morning, through breakfast, through the yardwork, through my second and third cups of espresso, through lunch… I was beginning to despair.
Then the mail came, and inspiration struck.
…click the link, it’s important. “A picture’s worth a thousand words” and all that nonsense.
Now, I know that sending little slips of paper which say “OUT OF ORDER” in every single postage-paid, self-addressed envelope some giant corporation or credit card company sends me isn’t going to cause the collapse of Western civilization, I really do. But it will confuse the hell out of the people opening said envelopes, and it will make me feel good – certainly better than just throwing all such junk mail away – and maybe, just maybe, my small act of laughably ineffective protest will inspire others, and we can all be laughable together, instead of being laughable in isolation.