Terrance screwed his face into one big ball of disbelief. He folded his arms across his chest and turned to the source of his annoyance. “Haven’t you heard Feynman’s theory? Electrons don’t all just look the same; they are the same. They’re one. They’re not “they,” it’s “IT.” There’s only one electron in the whole universe, in all of existence. It just keeps going backwards and forwards, turning into antimatter, and then turning around again and turning into an electron. That’s why ‘all electrons’ look the same. We’re just one gigantic dot matrix for God. That’s Feynman. Don’t you know that? Hey man, those religious types that tell you we’re all one – ‘they in us and I in you,’ mumbo-jumbo? They’re not too far off the mark, eh? So quit acting like you’re some kind of unique being that can leap tall buildings . I don’t care what blazing rock you crawled out of all naked and invincible Kal-El. You got that?”
You iron neck-clasper. You heart-thumping tasker. Indifferent to yearning, your constant page turning gives no pause for rest - just unending test. Tick off, Time! You bat out of hell; You thoughtless vulgarity trolling the bell! Be gone, Time! And leave us to dwell in transparent void fabric, fondling the quell. Cease fire, Time! The war to a close, a permanent armistice, "little while" froze. Yet now we are stalling our possibles lulling. This present now lasting our longing now fasting. This moment relates no past/future fates. Noble Time, be our friend. Slow your tock, physics bend. Give us hum, Beating Drum. Let us dance to your strum. Change your race to a walk; feel the sun; have a talk. Whisper sweet nothings into our ears - find adoration stroking your years.
I wanted to capture how we have such a love-hate relationship with time. We stress over deadlines and regret how much it takes from us in the form of moments we wish we could spend cherishing a little longer. Yet we need it to appreciate moments, to strive for better moments; and we wouldn’t seek to improve the quality of our time if we were trapped in a vacuum … even if that bubble was a “time-loop” that let us enjoy the best memory or most enjoyable time we’ve ever had. Then there’s the traditional fear of “what am I missing, being caught up in this cycle of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home.
Get this! I went looking for a picture or a video that could symbolize this stream of thought and I found better! Jazz is the perfect music to capture this thread. And the artists that put Maurice Brown’s video together present this point perfectly! Enjoy!
We got it wrong. Years we said its possible that an entire other world exists, an antimatter world, maybe even on a parallel course in the universe in the time/space continuum. We spouted that and more like we’d been there. But we hadn’t been there. Like so many spiritual believers we waved our scientific journals, thumped our Einsteins and Hawkings and preached the Schrodinger’s cat box. Then in the quite of our cubicles, we entertained doubt, wondered what if it would ever be revealed to our senses and not just our hearts and minds.
It does exist, or rather they do. How could we have been so far off the mark? A new-age “Brigadoon,” they appeared visible, one day through the “mist.” I touched. I watched and listened. And when it came time to make my decision, stay and be lost to all I’ve known forever, or return and remember until the experience becomes a lost story of myth so many generations from now … I came back through. And, of course, I chose wrong. But that fits the facts. We are doomed to a choice, and damned to choose wrongly based on our banal nature and misplaced hubris.
“Adam Smasher … is that your real name?”
I controlled my desire to breath a long, exasperated sigh. “Yeah. In case you didn’t catch that, it’s spelled A-T-O-M like the particle.”
“Are you, like, a professional wrestler, or a cage fighter or something?”
“It’s more like the particles that make up mass… um …” I shrugged. “You bet. Now can I please get my service turned on?”
The truth is, I’m not a violent person. I’ve never been in a fight where I actually got a punch in before being beaten to a pulp or having my privates suddenly strangled by the morphing of my Hanes into a hammock by some punk at school … or wherever. My parents were inspired by the advances in physics and the fact that they could make some kind of sense of the latest happenings. Having such a perfect last name to assemble their homage, they named me after the common phrase for the particle accelerator that was to be called the Tevetron. It was being built to crash atomic particles into each other. This would test quantum theory, string theories, and the bounds of our abilities in the universe, the multiverse, and perhaps (once the Higgs boson particle is discovered in 2012) even an eleventh dimension.
At first I loved my name, taking it upon my little self to tell all my elementary friends that I was actually a superhero in the making. Then the actual superhero of comic book fame was created in the 80’s and I was an even bigger hit. As a teen and older, I hated it. Bigger and dumber kids were attracted to all the seemingly clever ways they could brag about mashing or bashing “the smasher.” Then I embraced the fact that I was actually smarter than my tormentors and dove into all that was physics. Einstein and those that followed became my superheroes, and I completed our family by fulfilling my role as geeky, intelligent, hermit, role-playing gamer.
My sister called me once and freaked me out. “Atom, I don’t get it and I had to call you and ask. Schrodinger’s Cat. So, I get that there’s a box, and a cat, a gun, some uranium, and a geiger counter. I get the part about the cat either being alive or dead if the gun fires or it doesn’t because the uranium particles deplete or not. But even if the gun doesn’t go off, doesn’t the radiation kill the cat anyway?”
You have to understand – my sister is a Sociology major. So physics, especially of this variety, is not typically her thing. Then I understood that it was her clever way of sisterly love, showing an interest in something I was into, and trying (unsuccessfully) to make a joke for me. So, I replied.
“Sis, the fact is, the cat would be more than just alive in one universe, and dead in another. It would actually be alive in two separate universes and dead in two entirely different ones. Furthermore, beyond those four universes, there would be tons more. A pregnant cat, a dead pregnant cat, a rabid cat, a three legged cat … all of these and more are probabilities that factor into the Everett interpretation of the boxed cat in the realm of quantum superposition.”
The line went silent until she finally snorted out a laugh. And regardless of our lack of amusement in our loving health-nut geek parents’ naming principles, we’re doing fine. My sister, Apple, and I are in this thing together.