From time immortal, man has tried to understand the nature of the world. At first, he put his faith in the stars and looked to them for insight into the future of things. Then man found Gods and Goddess' and they held the answer to all things material and spiritual. But God was not good enough for man. Science is the new God and we have spent the last 400 or so years blindly putting our faith into the scientific to answer our questions. And through all this we have learned immense volumes of knowledge about nature, the universe and ourselves.
But the stars, God and science can only take us so far. For all the great discoveries of man, whether by accident, chance or reason, there still remains much to be answered. And although many a great man has doubted the capability of humankind to unearth truth only to be proven wrong later, I still feel that these things may never be explained. I present for your consideration Great Mysteries!
1. I have spent my entire life riding in elevators. When I was young I would visit my Grandfather at his office in the Empire State Building. As I grew, I lived in buildings with their own elevators. Now, I work on the 33rd floor of a skyscraper and rely on this contraption to take me to and from my half-hourly cigarette breaks. And in all this time spent in elevators, one mystery has eluded my every sense; why the door does not shut until you reach to touch the "close door" button? I have spent minutes" minutes standing in the elevator looking out of its open doors just wondering when they will close. Yet, as soon as I can take it no more and reach my hand out for the button, the doors magically begin to shut. It is as if the elevator knows my limits; my patience and wishes to merely toy with my emotions. "Hahaha," it chuckles, "Let's see just how long he'll wait before he reaches for the button. And then, just as he is about to touch it, let's close the doors; robbing him of the satisfaction! He Will Never Control US!" How this happens, I nor the world, will never know.
2. Along with riding in elevators, I spend a lot of time driving. And, most of that driving is done in and around New York City; The Traffic Capitol of the east. Nothing angers me more than traffic jams. For the first mile or so, I keep my cool saying, "This aint so bad" I've seen much worse than this." But then it happens, someone cuts in front of me and all thoughts of generosity, kindness and respect for my fellow man fly out the window along with the Snapple bottle I just threw. My mind dissolves into blind rage as I curse and wedge my car in and out of lanes. I always feel that "if I could just get into the right lane," all my problems would go away. But they will not, because as any of you who have been in my situation before know, the other lane is always moving faster in a traffic jam. Try as you might to calculate which lane will let you get that engine above zero RPMs, you will never succeed. It as if God is punishing you for trying to escape the jam by letting whichever lane you are NOT in move swiftly along while you sit in neutral, inhaling the carbon dioxide of all the sinners in front of you.
3. Now, traffic jams are not all bad; on at least one occasion they have produced astonishing reason. It occurred in the late eighties when a man named Michael Stipe climbed atop the gridlock and crooned to the world "everybody hurts." Truer words have seldom been spoken. Allow me to digress for a second. My friend Tim is, by all outward appearances, a normal 22 year-old boy. However, not more than a year ago, he broke his hand when he fell down drunk one night. About an hour after the accident, I spied him at a party encouraging people to "punch my hand, dude." Everyone had their turn and every time someone connected with the mangled mess of bone and tissue that used to resemble an appendage, Tim fell to the ground in agony only to rise minutes later, searching for his next executioner. And here is the mystery, when something hurts, why do we continue to force that pain on ourselves? Actually, this applies to smells too. When something stinks to hell, what do you do? You smell it" then you smell it again" and again. Why? We will never know. If there is any proof out there that man is not a spiritual being but rather one of the physical world, this is it. What transcendental creature would ever be caught sniffing a filthy gym shoe over and over again?
4. As shown before, man is inclined to test the nature of tolerance. Which means that someday we will unleash a nuclear hell and end the world. It's a fact. It may not happen in our lifetime, but somewhere in the future someone is going to nuke this entire planet. And when that happens two things are rumored to able to withstand the chemical onslaught: Cockroaches and Twinkies. I can understand cockroaches surviving and you would too if you have ever tried to kill one. However, the Twinkie? First, I want to know who figured this out. "Hey Jenkins, have you seen my Twinkies?" "Oh" Jeez" You know what, I think I left them at the blast site" God, I'm sorry. I'll go get them." Did Jenkins find two shrink-wrapped Twinkies sitting beneath a burnt bomb crane on a glass dessert?(pardon the pun) But more importantly, how is it that a Twinkie can withstand the same level of heat that exists on the surface of the sun, be bombarded with deadly radiation, and survive winds that could capsize a cruise ship, but not be able to survive an encounter with my mouth and digestive system. Am I so powerful that my entrails can destroy an object that stands in the face of a nuclear blast and says, "C'mon, gimme your best shot!"? If so, why hasn't the military contacted me about the devastating powers of my stomach? Forget Iraq, I know where the weapons of mass destruction are.
5. It has already been proven that all of our stomachs are more powerful than the world's nuclear arsenal. But what feeds this power. I know, for me at least, it is beef. I will eat beef anywhere (except England). I'll eat it on a stick, I'll eat it with a pick, I'll eat it off your" you get the point. It has been a staple of my diet since my father hoisted his 3 year-old son onto his lap and softly said, "now, this is called the tenderloin" this is the prime rib" and this" this is the flank steak" " There is nary an animal I have loved so much as the humble cow. Yet, for all the years I have spent devouring these creatures, I have never been able to understand one thing; how the hell did the cow survive in the wild. Cows haven't always been domesticated. At some point in history there must have been great herds of them roaming the wilderness looking like walking meals to any passing lion or cougar or bear. The cow is, by far, the stupidest, slowest, tastiest animal in the world. How were they not eaten out of existence long before man ever thought, "Ya know, I could go for a steak tonight."? Can you even imagine a herd of slow, dumb, delicious cows wandering through the woods? Any carnivorous animal hanging around there would sit up and say, "Ok guys, real funny" this is some kind of joke right? I'm on Punk'd, aren't I? It can't be this easy." And even though I will never know how the cow managed to have escaped certain doom, I am glad for it nonetheless because every day I can sit down in front of a plate of steaming meat and smile knowing that at least one great mystery has made my life a whole lot better.