Anyone who has seen Repo Man knows that a plate of shrimp, or a plate and a shrimp, is never just a plate of shrimp. It has a purpose (albeit enigmatic) that is related to meaningful discussions while burning clothes in an oil drum, radioactive cargo, aliens, and a huge reward for a beater car.
What do you do with coincidence? I’m just asking. ‘Cause, I have no advice for you people. I am as confounded and mystified as you are from time to time.
I do have some questions, though.
- How many discrete elements does it take to constitute a ‘meaningful’ coincidence; in contrast with, say, just a ‘plain’ coincidence?
- Having thus counted the coincidences, how do you determine their degrees of significance, on some kind of scale. What elements are significant in the coincidence and what makes the coincidence more (or less) significant, over-all?
- How do you end up interpreting any meaning from a coincidence? Do you just decide something is important because you want it to be important? Do you make judgments on some system of symbols that are useful to you or that are available in the public domain?
- What actions do you perform after having made an interpretation?
Well, at the last point, you really are just left with a normal decision-making process, aren’t you? It is all of that preceding weirdness that is the elephant in the room.
Back to Repo Man
In the end, Otto says fuck you (actually) to the “half-baked goggle-box do-gooders”. Not all his words (Parnell gave us the bit about the do-gooders) and he was really just talking to Leila, but that was kind of the point of the exchange. He then takes the car door handle in his hand and gets into the car that he had been looking for through most of the story. The car, with its hot cargo, flies away into the night and we never find out how it all turns out for him.
What you do
After I get over the whoa moment of a coincidence, my thought about it is that coincidence is bunk: If the result of coincidence is something really great, you thank the gods and your ancestors for your life. If the result is bad, you curse your gods and ancestors for being a bunch of pricks.
Like Miller said, “People get so hung up on specifics, they miss out on seeing the whole thing.”