"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."--(Dr.)Hunter S.Thompson
Oddities and Curiosities and the Tryphiodorus Award
Sometimes things that were just done because they could be done aren’t necessarily an accomplishment—they may use letters in the alphabet and make words, but the words really don’t seem to take us anywhere. Literally. There is a literary practice (and I mean this in a medical or forensic sense) in which the writer chooses to not use a particular letter of the alphabet, abandoning it for very private reasons into the dustbin of abandoned alphabet letters. (That dustbin is generally empty until one of these people show up with the idea of filling it, unless of course we expand the dustbin to include punctuation, and then it gets filled rat her quickly (though not in the Steinian sense).)
The work which most filled the alphabet dustbin more than any in history is probably the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus (a Greek grammarian who flourished in Egypt ca. 4th century ACE) effort written in 26 parts, each segment abandoning one letter of the alphabet until each letter had been completely omitted from one section.. The author could have a lot of time by writing this 26-part cycle in all at once, in one part, abandoning all 26 letters at the same time—this may have produced a more elegant result (with the Bellman’s map coming to mind).
Which brings me to this odd structure proposed by real estate mogul and hyper-builder William Zeckendorf, whose vision brought to the pages of LIFE magazine in 1942 (?) a very tall completely automated structure designed for nothing but car parking. People would drive to NYC in their own cars (!) and park them in this car hotel; the car functions would be given over completely to the building, moved into their spots and juggled and finessed into position by conveyors and forklifts and such.
Cars in a building, moved about free of humans, rested; humans on the street making their own human traffic. The whole idea, the entire structure, seems backwards to me, the meaning of a building turned inside out, wanting the essential idea, forwards and backwards being simply a bad notion.
The picture of Mr. Zeckendorf—who was tremendously energetic and who had very many good ideas along with these heavily popularized odd plans—standing in front of a lovely (scale?) model of his parking structure makes me want to see another, smaller version of Mr. Zeckendorf and his model standing just behind it, and smaller one after that, and so on…a fractally bad idea deserving of the Tryphiodorus award for missing the most sense. I bow deeply to Mr. Zeckendorf for trying and for constructing this beautiful (I want it) model.