by Kurt Wilson
What goes up must come down. – Sir Isaac Newton
We live in a world of worries. International terrorism, a porous southern border and, for some, the theory of global warming disturbs our dreams. I am sorry to add to this already formidable list of fears, but it is my duty to warn our readers of yet another threat: Gravity is defective.
I first observed this worrisome new phenomenon during the simple act of bending down to tie my shoe.
“Is there anything else I should take care of as long as I’m down here?” I asked myself.
This thought had never occurred to me before, but now I noticed that the distance between up and down seemed dramatically increased. This past January, while packing away Christmas decorations in the attic, I was struck by the fact that the floor seemed a lot farther from the ceiling than it once was. For years the access panel to my attic has been eight feet above my head. I would pull down a folding ladder, take up a box of little blinky lights and go back down for the tree stand. Several trips up and down the ladder would have me squared away for the following 10 months. It was a quick, efficient process. I did, however, pause to wonder who decorated Isaac Newton’s house at Yuletide. If Sir Isaac had to do it himself, he would have written his gravity law thusly: What comes down must go up.
Now thoughts of establishing a base camp and bringing in tanks of oxygen filled my head. What I really wanted was a Sherpa. I caught my breath then pulled out my Stanley tape measure and ran it up the wall.
Eight feet. Hmmm.
Clearly it was time to take a break, fix another cup of coffee and ponder. After two more cups of joe, and a considerable amount of heavy mental lifting, an answer came. The distance between up and down has not altered; that was an illusion. No, eight feet is still eight feet. What has changed is that it takes a good deal more effort to make the trek. So, the real question is: What the heck is going on with gravity?
I’ve interacted with gravity for well over six decades, and until recently, the stuff has remained constant. It’s never taken off on Labor Day, changed with the seasons, gone on strike or called in sick. Here was a real Chinese puzzle.
Chinese puzzle. Hmmm.
“Wait a sec,” I said to myself and labored back up the folding staircase.
I switched on my mechanic’s light and began pulling decorations out of the boxes recently fetched from the living room. The strands of green wire and miniature light bulbs bore a little gold tag that read “Made in China.” The box of glass balls, the plastic tree stand and even the base of my artificial Christmas tree all bore labels with the same three words printed on them. I decided to descend and look at other recently purchased items. Reaching for the switch on my mechanic’s light, I noticed the words “Made in China” on its silver reflector. My tentative solution to this problem was confirmed when I looked at the new American flag I bought to display last Independence Day. It too was manufactured in China.
So, it’s not that distances are shifting, and it most certainly isn’t because I’m growing older.
The problem is that we are now importing our gravity from China.
©Copyright 2015 – Ronald Kurt Wilson