Elon Musk has a thing for weird names. His SpaceX drone ships, for example, are named "Just Read the Instructions" and "Of Course I Still Love You." Literature buffs may be pleased to learn the name of Musk's first tunneling machine.
Musk announced that the name of The Boring Company's first machine would be named Godot, after the title character in Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot." Musk, a fan of the occasional corny joke, made sure to slip a proper dad joke into the tweet announcing the machine's name.
On the surface, "Waiting for Godot" sounds just as boring as the company that's borrowing its name. Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for a man named Godot to show up, and -- spoiler alert, if you can spoil a 64-year-old play -- he never does. Hey, at least the casting is cost-effective, right?
And in that skim-the-surface sense, the name fits. Vladimir and Estragon are stuck waiting for Godot to show up, and Musk's tunneling is currently limited to the SpaceX parking lot, since it's not exactly legal for him to just carve tunnels under major metropolitan areas for funsies.
Dig a little deeper (ha!) into the play and Musk's project, and you can find threads of absurdity, especially as it relates to life and the purpose thereof. There's certainly some absurdity to be found in the idea of digging giant tunnels under cities to relieve transportation issues. In fact, most of Musk's creations to date have been about humanity, its current direction and ideas about its future, so there's a whole bunch of existentialism floating around here.
It's about forging our own paths and not leaving things up to some imaginary idea of fate, and that's exactly what Elon is up to. However, unlike Beckett's play, we won't be waiting for Godot forever -- it's here, even if it's limited to Elon Musk's parking lot for now.