On Place, and the Holding Thereof

French Open, Day 15

(2) Nadal leads (1) Djokovic, 6/4 6/3 2/6 1/2

Those expecting any kind of recapitulation of the unfolding, stuttering, lurching, despair-inducing, adjective-laden Roland Garros men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are bound to feel disappointment when I say that I am about to offer no such thing. Those with different expectations are probably going to feel disappointed in other ways, to an extent commensurate with the extravagancy of their hopes. Those who for whatever reason had been sure I was about present a new Grand Unified Theory, if not a Theory of Everything, may well be the most disappointed of all. To all of you, I can only say sorry. This post is merely a placeholder.

For those of you who’ve never visited the internet before (I’m flattered this was your first port of call) or even created anything more detailed than a shopping list, I’ll explain that a placeholder is traditionally the thing you put in when you cannot think of the right thing at that moment, with the intention that you’ll return later when inspiration is once again flowing like pomegranate juice down your chin, which is my usual state while writing. Douglas Adams argued persuasively – and posthumously – that the ‘La’ bit in ‘Do-Re-Mi’ is a classic example of a placeholder that somehow snuck through the entire production process without being fixed. All the lines in the song more or less work, but ‘La, a note to follow So,’ really stands out as a temporary kludge. Less controversially, the original beta of World of Warcraft featured the character Captain Placeholder (pictured), who gained a cult following, and is spoken of with some reverence to this day. This may seem obscure, but when we consider that the total number of people who’ve played WoW is easily four times that of the population of New Zealand, I’d suggest that the least the Kiwis could do is save a spot for the good Captain on their next installment of Dancing with the Stars. Saving a spot for Captain Placeholder . . . did anyone else just experience a postmodern rush?

This post will no doubt achieve a similar cultural impact, with the key difference that once Nadal and Djokovic have eventually manufactured some kind of outcome – the weather outlook suggests this might be some way off – I will replace this post with a proper one. This current post will consequently vanish forever. Those who save it now will therefore possess a rare collector’s piece, a true shard of folklore. It will be for the market to decide what its value will be, but I’ll hazard that it might exceed a full sheet of Penny Blacks.

Furthermore, in that post – this post – is embedded a secret code that will one day unlock a hidden part of the website. Upon entering, the true fan will discover a surprise.

Spiders. Lots of spiders. In fact, all the spiders.

And one precious kitten.

Fade to black.

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