It Couldn’t Hurt
“If you’re in an elevator that’s falling would jumping at the last second before it hits bottom help save your life?”
It got real quiet when one of the Usual Suspects asked that question. I’m not sure if it was a stunned silence or a thoughtful pause to reflect. An answer to that came shortly.
“Oh, Good God,” I said to myself. I was not about to get sucked into any old Brain Cell Black Hole like that.
“What do you mean, ‘That depends,’” said someone, throwing kerosene onto a smoldering fire.
“It depends on whether you are in the elevator or at the bottom of the shaft about to be hit by said elevator.”
“Y’know, at first that statement seemed to make some sense – up until you got past the first two words. After that – No,” I said.
It was if our usual morning coffee chat had turned into the Bozo the Clown Salon.
“Don’t be so critical,” said the retired university professor. “Please explain how ‘It depends.’”
For the next two minutes Mr. “It Depends” rewrote the Hyper-Physics Laws of Motion. He tried to explain to us that it all had to do with the speed of the elevator, how far it was falling, and, for some reason, how much you weighed.
Isaac Newton was spinning in his grave like a KitchenAid Blender set to Puree.
“It couldn’t hurt.”
If it couldn’t hurt why did I have a headache?
I don’t pretend to be a scientist in any discipline. The closest I come would be putting some cream into my coffee and observing, “It’s pretty.”
When he finished his discourse on falling elevators I sat there in a mute stupor. I was stunned, not because of what he said, but because none of us got up and beat the fool about the head and shoulders with a chair. For that lack of Rational Courage I felt ashamed. Then I remembered who in the heck this guy was.
While there is a core group of yahoos that comprise the Usual Suspects, there are a small number of people who might be classified as “Associate Members,” “Auxiliary Hangers-on,” or “Not Yet Involuntarily Committed.” Our “Neo-Newton” aka “It couldn’t hurt,” was one of those.
He was the same person who, the Sunday before, had tried to convince us that George Washington had surveyed and laid out the street plans for Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Everybody jump!”). It didn’t seem to bother him when it was pointed out that Terre Haute was settled in 1818 and that G.W. passed away in 1799.
There are mornings, we all have them, when the planets do not align, the tea leaves are just tea leaves, and the pharmacy runs out of Thorazine. Those are the mornings when the complexities of conversation get tied into Gordian Knots. We could get our sword to cut the knot, but we could also sit in the lotus position and try to undo it like a messed up shoelace.
It couldn’t hurt.