Shootin' the Breeze


by "Bummer"

 
 
bummer@abate.com

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March 2007

    [Look out kids. Bummer’s gonna get “out there” on this one. . . . . ]

    An old friend that I always enjoy discussing/arguing profound things with was over the other day. It was a nice day and he rode over so’s we could do some wrenching on his bike. Like close friends sometimes might do, we occasionally discuss things that would seem sorta “trippy” to others. Kinda like when we were 18 years old and searching for the meaning of life [the words “Orange Sunshine” come to mind, but we’ll just pass on all that].

    And that sorta stuff is something I don’t usually wanna get into with just anybody. By the time people get to be my age most of us bluff others into thinking we have all the answers. But we never do. Nobody does. As if to be a mature adult means that ya know it all. Speaking for myself, I don’t know squat. Perhaps those who are labeled insane have answers others don’t, but they don’t seem to care and nobody listens to ‘em anyway.

    The reason I call Frank my friend is that in all the years I’ve known him he’s been honest and dependable as well as just being an all around good guy. The reason he’s such a gas to debate with is that he can be such a pessimistic, atheistic, down to Earth, pragmatic sour puss. Closed minded people are usually a pain in the ass, but in his case it’s kinda funny ‘cause he’s intelligent [whatever THAT means, but that’s another thing] and such a nice guy.

    When we were done with his scoot and we were kicking back he commented on a TV show that was on about UFOs:
    “This is all just so much trash Bummer. If there was such a thing as aliens from another planet we would have solid proof instead of here-say and innuendo.”
    “I dunno Frank. A lot of people say they’ve seen some weird stuff.”
    “But where’s the absolute proof? After all these thousands of supposed sightings you’d think there’d be solid proof.”
    “Oh, I’m not saying I believe….I’m just saying I’m not certain about anything.”
    “Well, I always say that if I can’t see it or touch it then it doesn’t exist.”

    At this point I paused in my response because I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go into it all with him again. Ya see, we’ve had similar discussions many times and to tell ya the truth it’s frustrating because my whole point is that nothing is sure….nothing is completely black and white or absolute. And life has so many mysteries that can’t be rationally explained that a few more don’t really upset me.

    Hell, I’ve always wondered how pencil manufacturers got the graphite into those 8” long wooden sticks. What do they do, take a huge 8” deep block of wood, drill thousands of 8” cylinders, fill ‘em and somehow trim off the excess wood? Of course I could do some research on this and find out, but that would eliminate my game of trying to figure it out on my own.

    Some things are impossible to figure out though. If yer still reading this and wondering where I’m goin’ with all this nonsense, forgive me but it’s to illustrate what I think is a very important point. Perhaps one of the MOST important points anyone could make.

    Scientists spend most of their lives studying deep space and quantum physics to explain some of it. But in the end I think they just invent words and theories that defy explanation to make it sound like they know what they’re talking about and to ensure they keep getting grants so they can keep on studying. Bookwork aside, it sounds like a pretty good gig to me. AND some of ‘em get big bucks from books written from their research and to appear on television as “experts”.

    But to illustrate just one of these many mysteries all ya gotta do is think really big. For instance, point your finger up and think what you’re pointing at. Well, of course there’s the ceiling if you’re in a room. Then the roof. Then the atmosphere. Then the stratosphere. Then the solar system. Then the galaxy and the rest of the Milky Way. Then what? Of course there’s more words to label and explain what’s next but there’s gotta be an end eventually. And that end must have something on the other side of that ending. Either way we’re talking about infinity and THAT is such an incredibly HEAVY word that most people can’t even get their minds wrapped around it. I know I can’t. Physicists then go on about the fact that the only way one can illustrate infinity is by a circle, which brings in time warps and the space/time continuum and all the rest of that crazy crap including black holes and other things that give most people headaches.

    While we’re thinking about all of this stuff we’re sitting or standing on a round planet that’s spinning through space at an incredible speed circling a star. One star among an infinite number of stars in an ever expanding universe.

    OK….now, reverse all that and look at things from the opposite perspective. Think small. Eventually things break down to atoms. Below that in the kingdom of small is the sub atomic. But eventually there HAS to be something smaller than the smallest particles we can measure. Of course we’re talking about nuclear theory now and somehow, according to Einstein, it all relates to time. E=MC2 translates to Energy equals matter at the speed of light squared. Whew! Now, if yer talkin’ about speed then yer also talkin’ about time. But where the Hell does TIME figure into all this? In many ways infinity and eternity closely relate to each other. They almost mean the same things to most people.

    But to sum up my point, just two simple words, “Big” and “Small” beg questions that are hard to even contemplate, so most of us don’t. Instead we concern ourselves with relatively unimportant things like politics, paying our bills and the state of humanity, which by the way, has only existed on THIS planet for a very brief time in relationship to that other baffling word “eternity”.

    All in all I’ve resigned myself to appreciate the mystery of things. That’s all anybody CAN do unless they just wanna bring their minds to an absolute halt and refuse to think about this stuff. Which is what my friend Frank has done and what I’m GONNA do as soon as I sign my name to this and crawl into my bed for tonight.

    So, if anybody knows how graphite gets in a pencil, don’t tell me. Let me occupy my time thinking about THAT so my head doesn’t explode and I can get some sleep.

            Bummer
 

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