Predictability is an illusion
May 22, 2015 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Havoc: A life in accidents. An essay by Australian writer Tim Winton
posted by zarq (10 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for sharing.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:56 AM on May 22, 2015

Surprised the author keeps using the euphamism. I'm sold on 'crash'. Toddlers have accidents in their pants. Adults crash cars.
posted by anthill at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2015

Great essay. His dad's idea "Keep pumping that break pedal" was brilliant.
posted by bitmage at 9:21 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Powerful stuff.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:33 AM on May 22, 2015

Thank you, that was a great read.
posted by fallingleaves at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2015

Great essay, thanks for posting. Can an Aussie MeFite tell me what "lairish" means? I got all of the other regionalisms from context, but that one has me stumped.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:47 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Lairish" means behaving like a peacock, (or show-pony if you prefer). Doing something fancy when there are simpler options, just to impress.

See also "lairising" (pejorative!), a favourite of AFL commentators, particularly when said behaviour ends badly:-)
posted by pjm at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks, mate!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:19 PM on May 22, 2015

In my fiction I’ve been a chronicler of sudden moments like these.

Winton is one of my favorite writers, and this must be partly why, though I hadn't noticed it consciously.

And when we don’t get what we anticipated, our reaction is outsized – instant rage. Any interruption to service is received like a blow to the head, an insult, because the consumer is groomed to expect evenness.

I see this in restaurants all the time. What could be lower stakes than getting the wrong dish or having your drink be slightly delayed? And yet people respond as if you are threatening them with torture and increased taxation.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:46 AM on May 23, 2015

"Lair" apparently comes ultimately from "leer", a sly glance or immodest gaze. That became the adjective "leery", which was the attribute of being cunning and knowing. A "leery" person might consort with criminals without being ostensibly criminal themselves: many of Damon Runyon's characters could be described as leery. "Leery" changed to "lairy", and a new noun was formed from the adjective: a "lair" is someone who exemplifies the quality of being "lairy"; someone a bit flash, perhaps an associate of criminals.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

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