Will This Thing Ever Start?

The many formulations for what makes for a compelling story all, by routes straight or serpentine, boil down to something this: "Man starts power tool on first try" is just not as good as "Man struggles  to start power tool."

Here, in video from my bicycle commute to work, is why I'm thinking about power tools and stories tonight.

So, a few provisional conclusions:

1. Lindi Ortega can sing in my head on the way to work anytime.

2. If that first pull of the cord, or even the second, had brought the machine to life, who cares? I wouldn't have been late to work hanging around wondering what would happen next if it was simply a case of "thing works as it's supposed to."

3. The incongruity of "man pulls cord to start machine, machine responds with nothing" suggests all kinds of  next scenes, including the possibility of violence, and that unknownness, that cloak around what will happens next makes it difficult bordering on impossible to leave without knowing the resolution.

4. We love unknownness, provided there is a time limit on it, and we need resolutions. A suspended chord points the way home.

5. This unknownness and promise of resolution is the essence of what live sports broadcasts actually sell.

6. Persistence, patience, and the confidence to take a machine apart to get it working properly are admirable skills and the stuff of the wisdom of fables. They're just not as exciting as a live story.

7. I think Lindi Ortega would like these guys. 


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