Riveting Hammer

In case of emergency…just chill, dude

I was in the metro the other day.

As is the custom in all public transport, there was an emergency brake hidden in plain sight. Which is to say, not hidden at all.

Because I’m the type of person who’ll take pictures of the most mundane things, I snapped this photo:

Emergency Brake Copenhagen Metro

Nice composition. Good lighting effects.

A pretty standard emergency brake deal, right?

But then…suspense…music crescendos…a sudden twist! Let’s take a closer look at the instructions:

Emergency Brake Copenhagen Metro Instructions

Notice anything off?

No, not that. That’s just Danish alphabet. How judgmental of you!

Here, let me help:

Emergency Brake Instructions

See it now? Good!

Isn’t it a bit…man, you still haven’t seen it, have you?

I’m talking about this:

Emergency Brake Close-up

The train will stop at the next station?!

Que?!

So let me get this straight: When I pull this emergency brake, it just gently reminds the train to please stop at the next station?

It’s a goddamn emergency brake. Shouldn’t it stop the moment you pull it? Nobody ever calls 911 to have a leisurely chat about when it would be most convenient for the next available police officer to pay a visit to their house and deal with the pesky “homicidal maniac” situation. Do they?

I would sort of understand the logic behind this brake if it were placed in an express train that skips a bunch of stations. But here’s the deal: The Copenhagen metro already stops at every single station. And these stations are no more than 2 minutes apart.

What’s your agenda here, Metro?

Emergency Brake Hammer

Oh! Oooooh! I see what this is. You’re just hoping someone mistakes it for an emergency hammer and starts to assemble their IKEA furniture directly in the train, don’t you? That’s when your staff shows up and “fines” them for “misuse,” right? Nice little racket you’ve got going on there, Metro. Bet you didn’t expect me to crack the puzzle so quickly. I’m on to you! I’ll be watching you from now on, with your fake “emergency brakes” and your oppressive “public decency” rules.

On second thought…I may be reading a bit too much into this. It’s probably a perfectly normal emergency brake that’s just learned to slow down and enjoy life. Maybe we can all learn a thing or two from it.

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I hate snow!

Yeah, snow. That magical stuff that snowmen and dreams are made of. Hate it.

Alright, not the snow per se. Relax. I’m not dead inside.

It’s just that over the course of the past two weeks I’ve begun to hate everything I now associate with snow.

See, I assume you regular happy folks associate snow with innocent and positive things. Things like snowball fights, sleighing, frolicking outside as the white mana falls gently from the sky onto your unwrinkled foreheads and fairy-tale creatures prance around you, carefree and full of life.

For you lucky people I have two words: “Fuck off!”

None of that is my reality.

Yeah, you too, freak! You're dead to me!

Yeah, you too, magic freak! You’re dead to me!

For those of you who weren’t unduly offended by that outburst and are still reading, allow me to tell you exactly why I hate snow.

First of all, snow brings about the arrival of snow-plowing tractors. “So what?!” you ask. Just shut up and let me finish. Why do you have to interrupt me when I’m already irritable?!

You see, our windows look out onto a parking lot. Every morning at exactly 4:00 a snow-plowing tractor comes by to clear the snow from the parking lot and surrounding area. This would be almost tolerable, if only the driver had learned that a tractor has more than one gear. This is not the case.

No, this undiagnosed sociopath makes no effort to switch gears, preferring to keep the tractor perpetually stuck on first. Instead he jams the hell out of the gas pedal until his fucking foot turns into mashed potatoes (I can only hope). He reminds me of a toddler with a drum kit: he doesn’t really know how to play it, but he figured out how to produce this one awesome sound and, boy, does he keep playing the fuck out of it!

"Hi there, I'm Bob. I drive this here tractor. Vroom Vroom! Yeah, I'm an asshole!"

“Hi there, I’m Bob. I drive this here tractor. Vroom Vroom! Yeah, I’m an asshole!”

So every morning without fail I wake up to the sound of this maniac revving his engine. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wake up in murderous rage, wishing for him and his tractor to get scooped up by a giant God-hand and thrown into the dark, lifeless void of space. I have no regrets about these thoughts.

The second and even bigger annoyance is the unbridled chaos into which Danish public transport descends each winter. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single year, at the first sight of snow, trains simply cease to function. I can only deduce that the train tracks in Denmark are made of papier-mâché and baby tears. I simply can’t find a more reasonable explanation.

Worst of all, the train operators make it sound as if they were taken completely by surprise by this unforeseeable turn of events. I can just see the train company executives sitting in their control room in a state of utter panic, going:

“Not again! Holy shit, how? What the hell is this white stuff falling from the sky?! It’s almost as if it’s some kind of recurrent seasonal event. If only there was a reliable way to forecast this calamity and prepare for it.”

Let's all just agree that it's some kind of sorcery and call it a day.

Let’s all just agree that it’s sorcery and call it a day.

So now, after a night of poor sleep I spend twice the amount of time commuting to and from work, occasionally having to give up and return home to work from there instead (yes, thankfully I have that luxury).

“But Daniel, look at the beautiful white winter outside. Isn’t the snow pretty? Isn’t it white and beautiful? Doesn’t it make it all worth it?”

If any of you say this, here’s what I’m going to do:

I’m going to dress up as George Clooney (or Jessica Alba, or [insert your preferred hot celebrity here]). I’ll track you down and come to your house. I will wait until you show up and then I’ll begin repeatedly smacking you across the head with a rolled-up newspaper. While you’re screaming for mercy I’ll be incessantly chanting: “Look at me! Aren’t I handsome?! Isn’t this all WORTH IT?!”

Thanks…I…actually feel a lot better now! Anger management therapy works wonders.

Are you angry about anything lately? Are you also a psychopath who would beat people with newspapers? Do you think snow is white and beautiful? Do you dare answer that?