I didn’t so much learn this as remember it. It means “God from the machine”. I love this. This is what keeps me going when I’d rather jump into the harbour than spend another day in the office.
It’s a phrase from the theatre that literally refers to “God” being lowered down to the stage to wave a magic wand and give everyone a happy ending. (I know God doesn’t have a magic wand, it’s poetic license.) In a more contemporary sense it’s those clichéd plot twists in sit-coms and rom-coms that do pretty much the same thing, that corny last scene in the movie when the characters magically get their scholarship or find their missing family pet or pair off and stroll away into the sunset despite having spent the last 2 hours bickering like old women.
It’s usually considered a pretty poor story telling technique as it’s an easy get-out that’ll keep the audience happy. However, from the point of view of a “character” I think it’s what everyone wishes for every so often, deep down under all the independence and self reliance. It’s an instant, effortless solution to the frustrating job, the boring social life, the painful love life, whatever it is that keeps you up at night. It’s the secret fantasy that you’ll be spotted in the high street and whisked away to Hollywood to be famous.
It’s not like I rely on this, I’m fully on board with seizing the day and taking responsibility, but every so often it’s nice to think that the universe is ready to step in with a sign. A really obvious sign. Maybe delivered by Paul Bettany…sorry, sidetracked.
It’s that pinpoint light at the end of the tunnel. And sure it could be an on-coming train but that’s part of the build up, the anticipation. Waiting in the dark will only make it that much better when your rescuer appears with a packed lunch, a fantastic job offer and maybe a puppy to lighten the mood.