Absurd Tractor

A buddy and namesake of mine has a father who is a literature scholar. He wrote his thesis on absurdist drama, Beckett and Ionesco, that sort of thing. This influenced his son’s vocabulary. Once about 1970, when the scholar was out on a walk with his little boy in a stroller, they passed a large tractor and a group of people. The boy was greatly impressed by the tractor, pointed to it and exclaimed, “Absurd tractor!”. The bystanders stared in amazement.


  1. #1 Anon
    October 3, 2010

    “Absurd Tractor” would make a great name for a progressive jazz combo.

  2. #2 Art
    October 3, 2010

    “Absurd tractor!”

    It has a ring to it.

  3. #3 Masks of Eris
    October 4, 2010

    Father a literature scholar: “Absurd tractor!”

    Father a physicist: “Fast tractor!” (Also possibly “Dark energy tractor!”)

    Father a chemist: “Combustible tractor!” (Cue nervousness on the part of the tractorist)

    Father a teacher of Finnish: “Traktori perrrrkele!”

    Father a mathematician: “A— abacus?”

    Father an applied mathematician: “A ball!”

    I’ll leave it to our host to supply what an archaeologist’s child should say.

  4. #4 Martin R
    October 4, 2010

    Haha! Dad a topologist: “Absurd donut! Or is that a teacup?”

  5. #5 Sandgroper
    October 4, 2010

    Your friend was a prodigy.

    When I was an engineering student, we were given an excellent lecture by a mechanical engineer who explained how inherently unsafe the traditional farm tractor is. The way he explained it, it’s like if you hate farmers and want to invent a device to kill as many of them as possible, you design the farm tractor.

    No cab to protect the driver, just a little seat to perch on, two massive drive wheels on the back with very low gearing and a huge amount of torque, and a very hot exhaust pipe sticking up out of the engine compartment at the front. You apply too much power when the tractor is not pulling a piece of heavy farm equipment, especially when you are going uphill, and the tractor does a back flip, with the farmer underneath – he is either crushed by the tractor, or ends up pinned under the tractor in contact with the exhaust pipe. Or both.

    Absurd design? From a safety point of view, yes, unless you can give lectures to all farmers about how to drive their tractors safely – in Australia, you don’t need any kind of licence to drive a tractor off public roads. From a utility and cost point of view, it’s fine, as long as you have an over-abundant supply of farmers – which is usually the case when a farmer has more than one son.

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