The great physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, wrote: “An object at rest tends to remain at rest, especially when a remote and recliner is involved.” At least, it was something like that.
My wife, Marianne, who has a limited understanding of physics, tends to feel an object at rest needs to turn off the television, get his tail up off the recliner and get some yardwork done. As the ‘object’ in question, I can’t help but notice Isaac Newton was a bachelor. It is easy to develop world changing scientific discoveries when you are unfettered by the slings and arrows of married life. The rest of us have yardwork to do.
I was working on a cure for scurvy and studying a re-run of Gilligan’s Island as an allegory for a ground breaking paper I plan to write on isolationism in the post-modernistic world, when Marianne made clear to me the world, post-modernistic or not, would end if the carport and driveway was not cleared of leaves before her sister, Lisa, arrived. As a student of sociology, I realized her request originated from a yet unrecognized fear of abandonment by a “mother-figure” in the form of her older sister – probably a result of some long forgotten childhood trauma. I assured Marianne that Lisa would love her the same regardless of the leaf-count in our carport. With that in mind, I felt I could put off the leaf clearing for another time. Marianne expressed a dissenting opinion that was clear, cogent and rattled the windows of the adjoining rooms.
Leaf clearing finished, I was stepping through the front door with plans to catch a re-run of the the 1994 Bassmaster’s Classic on Lake Murray as part of my ongoing study of fluid dynamics and the affect water temperature has on the wobble of small, wooden objects with hooks as they are pulled by a string, when I was stopped by an equal and opposite force in the form of Marianne standing just inside the door of our house. “You need to trim the bushes,” she said.
I personally find branch trimming to be a cruel thing to inflict on a bunch of helpless plants. I base this on a study my kid conducted for a science fair project years back where one tomato plant was played classical music all day while another was played heavy metal. Her study demonstrated conclusively that tomato plants died if you didn’t water them. That, and your parents threatened violence on your person if you ever again picked a project that required them listen to either classical or heavy metal music all day.
What the experiment was supposed to prove is plants have a sense of their surroundings, which no doubt includes being aware of having their appendages cut off. I explained to Marianne I can’t be a party to such cruelty. She told me she understood and she would hire someone to do it, but it might cut deeply into my fishing budget.
Coming back in from trimming the bushes, I was met in the kitchen and asked to take out the trash. This is a job usually reserved for our son, who, not unlike an electron circling the nucleus of an atom, seems to be able to disappear from one location and reappear in another far away location when energy is to be expended. It also occurs when grass needs cutting, his room needs cleaning or groceries need taking in.
Conversely, he manages to reappear spontaneously from great distances when the same groceries are to be consumed.
When I think about it, so do I.