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Finger in the dike

By Tom Toles


The black box of doom

Help. I am of a somewhat delicate emotional constitution. Loud noises tend to startle me (including my band). Lately, I've been afflicted by something down inside the Farragut North Metro Station, which I pass through twice a day. Ceiling panels have been removed to reveal the vast beam of concrete that's supposed to keep L Street buildings from collapsing down onto the tracks and boarding platform. The beam has cracks. But it's not the cracks so much as THE BOX that's getting to me.

Under the decaying ceiling sits a GIANT BLACK CUBE of plywood, guarded by a pair of scary lifting machines. It has been there for months, and I don't like being near it. I can't see what's in there, but I can tell anyway. DESPAIR ITSELF. If it were an art installation, I'd count it as a powerful one, but I'd still avoid it. I could describe it as a symbol of insufficient Metro maintenance funding, or the plight of public transit in this country more generally, but that would be giving it a higher order of practical meaning than its makers intended.

No, existential dread has found this box and moved in. I hope they take it all away soon. If I disappear, look for me in there.   --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | May 13, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Environment  
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potentially bad interpretation of that there title...

Posted by: j762 | May 15, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

So Tom, when are the high fidelity YouTube clips of your band Suspicious Package performing live going to be uploaded for we (us) the people to enjoy? Your adoring public clamors to see and hear you all rocking out.

I'll make a deal with you: Post clips of your goofy band and I'll post clips of mine!

Rock on,

Posted by: surferbeto | May 14, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of the massive oil spill; it is a good excuse to raise the price of gas.
We will pay for the oil spill plus higher CEO pay.
There are plenty of ways to stop the oil flow but as usual our "experts" are clueless. What is needed is to use an expandable diaphragm backed up with a tapered shaft.
If the government does not reign in the oil companies; we will be up to our ears in oil and no money to buy the gasoline.
Without the necessary change in regulations, the only progress will be in the direction of poverty and chaos.
It is meaningless to have REGULATIONS if the regulations are toothless, ignored and not funded. In a capitalist system; it takes money to do anything.
The Capitalist Golden Rule is: "Those with the Gold Rule".

Posted by: OchamsRazor | May 13, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

P.S. If it gets worse, wake up and get yourself a V0. V0 is busy.

Posted by: tossnokia | May 13, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Ceiling tiles being ripped out in this locale to rip out copper lines. It's a billion dollar a year business with so many empty houses. Cue Doors music. Sounds like you have the roadhouse blues. Break on through to the other side. I woke up this morning and got myself a beer. The end is always near. Fortune favors the bold!

Posted by: tossnokia | May 13, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

A good cartoon Mr. Toles. Hooray for a tempered view. Shades of Monty Python with the hand.

Posted by: bobbo2 | May 13, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Tom, if you are gone longer then two days without a gone on vacation notice we will come looking for you. Just think when we stop drilling for oil, digging for coal, and building needed nuclear energy plants we won't have to worry about taking the metro and all the associated despair. We can get around DC on horses and canoes just like the conservatives did hundreds of years ago.

Posted by: taxcutsin12 | May 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

How about a picture of the box? Now, I'm dying to see it.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | May 12, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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