The Department of Blowback (a collection bucket for unintended consequences)

Ever read or see something that is just too much of a wild, unlooked-for unintended consequence that you can’t stop thinking about it? Does the truly odd and random angle of the story come back to you in quiet moments, when you’re doing the dishes, waiting for a meeting to finish, when you’re stuck in traffic, walking outside to take in a bit of fresh air?

I couldn’t decide if this should be categorized under “wrath” or “games” but I didn’t want that to stop me from starting this attempt at a bucket for those stories. Have at it. I’d like to focus on events (not people), and I think extra (invisible and entirely made up) points should be awarded to events that are clearly mixed blessings.

This story has so many nested unintended consequences I hardly know where to begin to frame my followup questions, but it’s had my attention for days now:


poop tomatoes

Over It Rose GIF by HULU


Hang on, hang on… see, the deal that Brexit has created food shortages in the UK.

And… well… there are now tomatoes growing gratis on the banks of waterways that have been, yes, inundated with raw sewage, thanks to the absence of those persnickety Nanny State regulations poor ol’ England had had to follow prior to its Brexit.

The waterways affected are doing terribly:

It’s horrible.

But hey: fresh tomatoes.



giphy (3)


Poop tomatoes were a kind of a sub-plot in the wonderfully weird movie How to Talk to Girls at Parties (based very loosely on a Neil Gaiman short story).

Okay, back to blowback stories…


I enjoyed the heck out of this unsettling Veritasium explainer about why we can’t have nice things (nylon, lightbulbs, cars, iPods, etc.).

Planned obsolescence? Hey, what about “dynamic obsolescence”!
I learned some new stuff here.

ETA: incomplete sentence


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