Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos apparently likes to challenge interviewees to solve this puzzle. If you guessed, so it’s easy to “roll the covers into place,” you would be incorrect. The answer has to do with geometry.
This guy is walking along downtown when he sees this blonde jumping up and down on top of a manhole cover shouting “32! 32! 32! 32!” And he walks over and says “Hey! What… What are you doing?” And she says “Oh this is just a game blonde girls like to play. You probably wouldn’t be good at it.” And he gets all insulted and demands to play. He gets on top of the manhole and starts jumping shouting “32! 32! 32!” and she says “No! No! No! You need to jump waaaay higher!” And he leaps into the air and shouts “32! 32! 32!” And before he can hit the ground, the blonde pulls away the manhole cover and he falls into the sewer. She replaces the manhole cover, gets back on top and starts jumping up and down shouting “33! 33! 33!”
The latest Pentagram Paper, Overlooked (TD696 .W55 2016 Folio), was designed by Marina Willer and the Pentagram team. The booklet’s neon colored rubbings of street covers bring attention to the decorative elements of industrial design, which are often overlooked.
“London’s streets are filled with secret subterranean compartments. Vast cavernous tubes that hold our electricity, our water, our transport, and that once stored the coal that pushed out city into the industrial revolution.
We wanted to celebrate the gatekeepers to this underground world: street covers. Impeccable pieces of industrial design, these metal lids are examples of the beauty threaded throughout the functional fabric of a city.
Our hope is that this collection of street covers can serve as a reminder that a city’s beauty isn’t limited to art galleries or grand architecture, and that intricate design is everywhere.”
This is (was) going to be short, but the memory sprung into my mind a couple days back and I thought it would be worth sharing.
I live in North Wales, UK. For anyone who has had the pleasure of
visiting, it truly is a beautiful place to live, though, for an
adolescent boy, it is certainly lacking in things to do. As a result,
my friends and I would often find ourselves mindlessly exploring areas
of countryside and coastline.
Despite it being quite sparsely populated, in comparison to the
closest cities, there is a dual carriageway running right along the
coast from Wales into England. Also, train tracks run alongside this
road for most of its course, occasionally passing overhead via a small
Anyway, there was one night a few years ago, when about four of us
randomly decided to try and explore the inside of one of these bridges,
as one of the group had observed a man-hole cover nearby which we
believed to be the entrance. On closer inspection, we discovered that
several tools would be required in order to gain entry.
We returned with the necessary equipment and proceeded to unbolt the
cover. This had to be done stealthily as the train track was right
beside us, not close enough to be of any danger, but definitely a
sufficiently small distance to cause panic for any train driver. And
panic usually means Police.
It wasn’t long before we had removed the heavy steel disc, and had
started descending the ladder down into the structure. Once we had all
safely reached the bottom, we decided to progress to the other side. At
this point, we are totally confined into the narrow space that leads
into the main area. If you are confused as to what the hell this
‘bridge’ is supposed to be, you probably should be, because it was
rather peculiar. I mean, I would have never known there was even an
inside had we not found the man-hole.
So, as we squeeze and crouch, and at one point scrape along our
bellies, to the other side of the structure there is a growing sense of
claustrophobia between us. The distance from end to the other is
surprisingly long, but by the halfway point you can look down through
narrow gaps onto the motorway below. This was actually pretty cool,
which helped keep us calm, in a strange way.
At this point, apart from the mild discomfort and confinement, we
were still just a group of guys on an adventure. This was about to
No more than a few metres beyond halfway (which we could tell due to
the symmetry of the passageways through the bridge), one of us claimed
they could see some object in the distance at the far end. Slightly
hesitantly, we agreed to investigate. Bad move.
I reached the end first, and let me tell you, I have never felt the
same sense of dread before or since. In front of me was a single
fold-away chair positioned facing a wall. On the wall was a partially
torn page from a newspaper, or a magazine, showing a fully naked lady in
an erotic position. The reason I don’t just refer to it as 'porn’ is
because something was different about it; I can’t put my finger on it
but it seemed more sinister than sexy, if that makes any sense.
More disturbingly the eyes of the woman on display had been cut from
the page. Removed with precision, not just hastily ripped off. The scene
that lay before us had rendered us completely speechless, and an
overpowering sense of panic could be felt collectively. That was when we
found the condom. The horrendous, gut-wrenching, blood-drenched condom.
Needless to say we got the fuck out of there as fast as humanly
possible, smashing our knees and shins against the sharp cement edges,
that lined the path to the ladder by which we had entered. Of course, we
were all praying to God that the man-hole hadn’t been re-sealed, as it
was impossible to tell until you reached the ladder itself. Thankfully
the exit route was clear, and we promptly dashed as far away as our legs
could carry us.
I’m sure this ending comes as a disappointment to some of you reading
this, as we (luckily) never bumped into the twisted individual who sits
in that chair, but I must stress how radically out of the norm this was
given where I live. The reason I mentioned the population earlier was
with purpose; there is easily enough people here to escape the realms of
'crazy country folk’, yet nowhere near enough people to have someone
clearly lose grip on society without somebody taking notice. For
example, there was literally only one homeless man, who everyone in the
area knew and grew fond of, eventually resulting in a mass gathering at
his funeral when he passed away.
I sometimes think, though not recently as I had more-or-less
forgotten about that night entirely, about the person who climbs down
into that bridge and navigates through the darkness to sit facing a
wall, and do God-knows-what, that ends up with a condom full of blood.
You honestly couldn’t envision a more surreal situation.
It has just come to my realisation that what we unearthed that night
has not once been uttered to another soul. As a naive teenager, it was
the type of thing you just wanted to forget, but thinking about we
probably should have let the Police, or at least someone know about what was down there, because it wasn’t the doings of a healthy-minded individual.
So, there you have it. Apologies for the length, I got a little
carried away as it is my first LNM post and I wanted to make the reading
experience as similar to the reality as I could. Now I’m a few years
older, and hopefully a bit braver, I’m considering going down there
again, accompanied of course, to see what fucked up shit might be
waiting. This could well happen in the next couple days, and rest
assured I will 100% post an update as I currently have no job, so time
Thanks for reading.
EDIT: As promised, here
are the photos from the return visit. We went early evening, so there
was still plenty of light, and as a result I have decided to use a
simple filter on most of the outdoor shots, simply to reduce the light,
and give it the eeriness it deserves.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t adequately conveyed my plans to
those accompanying me, and they had presumed I just wanted to check out
the small area before the entrance to the passageways, as they had been
there before. When I expressed my wishes to navigate through the bridge,
they instantly nope’d the fuck out of there! As you can imagine, I was
massively disappointed. I hope to go back soon with a different bunch of
guys, but I can’t promise when.
Perhaps, if everyone who would like to see the re-return visit, just
leaves a single comment saying 'Update’, I could reply to you
individually so you don’t have to keep checking back, just wait for a
message? Just a thought.
Either way, the pictures are definitely worth your time! Thanks again guys :)
38. My childhood career choice.
I wanted to be a golf cart driver. 🏌My dad told me to learn to say ‘Do you want 🍟 with that?’
39. Favorite 🍧🍦🍨 flavor.
I’m gonna have to go with cookie dough, but finding soy ice cream out here has been impossible.
43. Sexiest person that comes to my mind immediately.
Sebastian Stan…he’s ruining my expectations for other men.
44. A random fact about anything.
I know why man hole covers are round. Do you?
(Sorry couldn’t help myself with the gif)