But once you’re caught up, you should take five minutes to watch this marble race.
And you don’t have to take our word for it…
Mental Floss — experts on hey-that’s-interesting videos: “For a dozen inanimate objects in the sand, this is surprisingly engaging.”
The A.V. Club — experts on pop culture: “This dumb little marble race is absolutely thrilling.”
Deadspin — experts on snark and sports: “I need you to trust me on this. … I promise you will be entranced.”
Enough hype for you? Put on your headphones, pick your favorite marble and, whatever you do, don’t read any spoilers in the comments:
If you’ve still got some time on your lunch hour, you can help us craft the perfect reply to a persnickety Deadspin commenter.
User thgyhgb2 — ironically, perhaps? — scoffed: “Every second you watch your little “marble race” could be spent reading the works of Dostoevsky and even the great Shakespeare. I won’t be joining you on this fool’s errand. Good day.”
Which got us to thinking, and then to riffing. With apologies to William and Fyodor …
Who could forget the Feast of Racing Day speech in Henry V, when the king looks ahead to the day when old men will remember the most thrilling moment of their lives:
… then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Roundy the Red, Purple and Diamondy,
Dark Red and Dark Blue, Ol’ Number 3 and Yellow,
Be in their rolling lanes freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Racing Day shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But spheres in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of marbles;
For he to-day that rolls his ball with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so square,
This day shall round off his condition:
And spinning stones in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their marblehoods cheap whiles any speaks
That rolled with us upon Great Racing Day.
Or Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov’s grim vision of a meaningless afterlife, as described in Crime and Punishment:
“We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast, vast! But why must it be vast? Instead of all that, what if it’s one little room, like a bath house in the country, beige and sandy and marbles in every corner, and they’re racing, and some of the marbles happen to roll faster than others, and that’s all eternity is? I sometimes fancy it like that.”
“Can it be you can imagine nothing juster and more comforting and any less arbitrary than that?” Raskolnikov cried, with a feeling of anguish.
… Svidrigaïlov raised his head, looked at him, and suddenly began laughing.
“Only think,” he cried, “half an hour ago we had never seen a marble race!”
If you want to keep the ball rolling, you can have a go of it in the comments.