A gigantic blue container ship stacked high with thousands of shipping containers on a body of water with hilly shore in the distance.
Photo: Ian Taylor via Unsplash

Are ‘Boats Blocking Traffic’ A Hot New Trend?

Two viral stories this week suggest the answer is ‘yes,’ but….

For the past four days, the Ever Given, a 1,300-foot-long, 200,000-ton cargo ship, has been stuck in the Suez Canal, one of the busiest and most important shipping lanes in the world. The resulting traffic jam includes hundreds of container ships, tankers, and at least one warship.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that a private boat somehow landed on Interstate 10 and blocked traffic but was quickly removed by authorities. There were no injuries in either incident.

Is this a trend? No. “Boats blocking traffic” is not a trend, since it has only happened twice this week. Sorry. You may be surprised to learn that there are actually very few immutable laws in the universe, even space and time can bend.

But there is one rule that governs fashion and that is three is a trend (three is also a crowd and a charm because three is a powerful number, like seven).

It takes three to make a trend. If something happens once, or twice, it is unique or a coincidence so, you know, it just so happens that two boats got in the way in the same week. Weird! Not a thing. This is not changing boats. Boats are going to keep doing what they've always done, which is float and carry people and stuff from here to there.

If a third cargo ship clogs up the Panama Canal or a cruise liner rams into docks or there’s some other maritime accident that stops international commerce, then “boats blocking traffic” will absolutely become a trend. I’ll let you know immediately. Until then, it’s just two boat stories, which is strange and amusing but I don’t see it growing into anything else.

I am an expert at trends, so feel free to ask me in the comments at any time if X or Y is a trend and I will happily tell you “no” or “yes” with very little explanation as to why I answered that way beyond the holy rule of three (there is actually a comedy-related rule of three but that is different from “three is a trend”).

Writer/editor. CONAN, Esquire, Sirius XM. 2X James Beard Award winner. I created Humungus, a blog about movies, TV & feelings.

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