Most of us, I’d wager, are feeling a tad melancholic at the moment; the news cycle is a disorienting blur of senseless tragedy and systemic injustice, while social media platforms are bubbling with unchanneled rage (even more so than usual).
But the big, dumb boat stuck in the Suez Canal, reportedly blocking 12% of global trade, is just silly enough to unify us all in bemusement and laughter (at least, those of us who aren’t tasked with trying to fix it).
The ridiculous sight of those dinky little construction vehicles trying to unwedge the 200,000 ton titan, which, if placed vertically, would stand taller than the 37th highest building in the world, seems a hilariously hopeless task.
Every angle of the situation makes for a perfect meme format, the boat representing the crushing weight of pandemic blues, procrastination, or whatever political point one wants to push, wedged maddeningly tight in the canal, like a coin stuck in a vending machine.
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It is, doubtless, a very serious disaster that could impact global trade for weeks, another dose of economic anxiety for the consumer during an already turbulent time. But it is also exactly the kind of absurd story that has defined the last couple of years – a global catastrophe, sparked by something as trivial as a strong gust of wind, highlighting just how alarmingly fragile the world’s trading network really is, sparking an abundance of laughter at the surreal stupidity of the situation.
In an odd twist of fate, before being jammed in the Suez Canal, the fateful boat even charted a route in the Red Sea that, when viewed as GPS data, perfectly resembled a crudely drawn penis and testicles, a hilarity which was not lost on Twitter users.
During an immensely exhausting and divisive period, it’s kind of nice to simply sit at our computers and smile at the sight of the behemoth, stubbornly refusing to budge; it’s almost tempting to root for the thing.
That is, until it seriously impacts our lives. But hey, what’s another disaster to add to the collective mental breakdown?
Until then, at least we have the memes.