Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Angle Of Repose Of Department Store

“The angle of repose or, more precisely, the critical angle of repose, of a granular material is the steepest angle of descent or dip of the slope relative to the horizontal plane when material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding. This angle is in the range 0°–90°.”

That pile of rubble back behind the tree
used to be a department store and now
what’s left is a pile of department store
and a pile has an angle of repose.

My beautiful impossible math thing
can calculate the angle with three clicks.

I can do it right here. First I’ll zoom in
closer on the pile of department store.

My beautiful impossible math thing
takes that picture and makes a triangle.

Click on the image. It will get bigger.

Then it can measure the corner’s angle.

The department store angle of repose
comes to 38.7 degrees.

Back when that pile was a department store
I went inside—it had doors in it then—
and bought a movie about killer snakes.

In the movie a grumpy teenage girl
wasn’t worried when an old guy noticed
something in the water was killing fish.

Maggie didn’t care about the fish head.

But her transformational story arc
carried her through the killer snake movie
to a happy ending. The old guy died,
and her mom and dad and her dad’s mistress
and the sheriff her mom was in love with,
but Maggie realized everybody
was having a hard time not only her
so in the end she became less grumpy.

Now the transformational story arc
of the department store is wrapping up.

At least until someone makes a sequel.

Maybe something about an empty lot.

Maggie became a less grumpy Maggie.

The department store turned into a pile
with a 38.7 degree
angle of repose. These days I suppose
that’s a happy ending—piled up neatly
and somebody using a computer
to work out careful numbers about you.

Now the real fun’s the anticipation
guessing what will happen in the sequel.

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