I was reviewing some of the convoluted connections that have turned up in my reporting of the past and present activities of The
Dread Deadbeat Pusher Kimberlin, and Rube Goldberg came to mind. That, in turn, reminded me of this post from five years ago today.
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Here’s how Chapter 7 of Citizen K, Mark Singer’s biography of The Dread Pirate Kimberlin, begins:
A couple of weeks shy of his eighteenth birthday, in May 1972, Kimberlin was indicted and charged with having sold 2.3 grams of cocaine to someone who turned out to be a government informer. … The prosecutor who directed the grand jury that returned the indictment believed, because of what he’d been told by witnesses and federal drug agents, that Kimberlin was a substantial trafficker in cocaine, LSD, marijuana, and hashish. After Kimberlin’s arraignment, the prosecutor and agents were greatly surprised to learn that, legally, he was still a juvenile. In time, the government and Kimberlin found themselves in accord that the cocaine bust fit a pattern: The authorities saw a pattern of criminal behavior, while Kimberlin detected error and malice on the part of people supposedly enforcing the law. From either perspective, the episode could be regarded as a first domino—although the domino metaphor, inasmuch as it implies a linear progression, seems inexact. More fitting, perhaps, would be to think of it as a spring-activated lever in the Rube Goldberg contraption that delivered Kimberlin to his complicated destiny.
With apologies to Mr. Goldberg—Hand (A) pulls string (B) releasing hook (C) which starts small car (D) rolling down tracks (E), bumping monkey (G) who jumps in fright, causing hat (H) to fly off and land on the end of lever (I). The other end (J) of the lever rises, and rope (K) opens curtains (L) letting in sunlight through magnifying glass (M) focusing heat on joint (N). Cop (O) smells smoke (P) and applies handcuffs (Q).
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I couldn’t have made of the characters in Team Kimberlin if I’d tried.