Lost account access

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The unexplainable picture

Page type: Meme
Era: Internet centralization
First appearance: 2004


In 2004, a picture of a man in a tuxedo holding a sewing machine in front of a crashed truck started being shared around the Internet.

It was usually captioned with the word "Unexplainable", or called "The most unexplainable picture of all time".

It spread from website to website[1], puzzling and amusing a lot of people.



Even though this picture gained fame for its supposedly unexplainable nature, and even though the person on the picture[2] kept the mystery alive by never explaining the context, everything can be reasonably explained.

In order to keep your enjoyment alive, every element required to explain the image is hidden behind a spoiler warning. Feel free to reveal their contents at your own pace.

Is the image edited?: SHOW SPOILER CONTENTS

First off, it is easy but necessary to confirm that the picture has not been shopped. A quick investigation shows that it is in fact a genuine picture[3].

The crashed truck: SHOW SPOILER CONTENTS

The little bit of pathway to the left of the picture shows where the truck was backing up. Its driver must have underestimated the distance of the ditch and thus fallen into it.

The people in the back: SHOW SPOILER CONTENTS

The policemen are here for obvious reasons. The person they are talking to is wearing a UPS costume and the crashed truck is an UPS truck, thus it must be the truck driver.

The person in the picture is dressed in a tuxedo because they are attending a formal dress event. It is most likely a wedding, as evidenced by the clue below…

The sewing machine: SHOW SPOILER CONTENTS

It is a tradition to bring useful household items as gifts to weddings. The sewing machine is most likely a wedding gift.

Why was the picture taken?: SHOW SPOILER CONTENTS

The existence of this picture is the simplest thing to explain: because it's funny.


Sources & Links

[1] An old conversation around the picture on Ask MetaFilter.

[2] Don Sheehy's website the man on the picture.

[3] A writeup about the picture by Michael David Murphy on Medium.

[4] A geographical investigation of the picture's, in japanese by tangyorai on Twitter.

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