If you’ve never seen the tower on Carleton and Shattuck, then you might as well skip this little article. If you have seen this little monstrosity, then you have witnessed the city of Berkeley’s greatest mystery. Greater than Dwindle. Greater than the identity of the gas being expelled from the so-called “steam” vents all over campus. Greater even than the mystery of Barry Kurtz.
The Carleton/Shattuck Tower as a I have come to know it resides in the corner of a parking lot for what looks like a long since abandoned auto-repair garage. It bears no resemblance to any tower I’ve ever seen and serves no obvious purpose. As a result, it has vexed my very existence ever since I saw it for the first time two years ago. It’s taken me hundreds of hours and more brain power than I have to spare, but I have finally come up with several viable theories as to the identity and purpose of the Tower. Please carefully examine each of these theories and reach your own conclusions. I will be conducting a phone survey over the next couple of months, so just be ready for my call.
Theory #1: The Tower is the air traffic control tower for the world’s first all midget airport. It’s the right size and there is just something about it that screams “little people.”
Theory #2: The Tower is one of the lesser known gifts to our nation from the French. Not quite the Statue of Liberty, but a lot better than that whole hairy armpit thingy.
Theory #3: It is yet another failed attempt by religious zealots to produce the Tower of Babel. I don’t think this one’s making it to heaven either.
Theory #4: It is a communication device made by frugal aliens. They wanted to phone home but didn’t have the cash to spare for a couple of pyramids or a few crop circles.
Theory #5: This is Berkeley after all, so it could just be a case of a few hippies with way too much time, acid, and sheet metal on their hands.
Final Theory: There is no tower and this has all been a waste of time. You all hate me! Give me back my underwear.
Since writing this, it has come to my attention that the mighty tower has fallen. I can only assume that the midgets, aliens, French, zealots, hippies, or psychotic episodes responsible have reclaimed it.