Elliot: What’s the matter? Cat got your Godot?

In which the steppingstones to reality turn out not to be a step function.


DI columnist Beau Elliot

Recently, it seems, reality has come under some fire — which is sort of interesting, because so often, reality also seems hard to pin down, even under fire. Especially these days.

(So much is especially these days. Ever notice?)

Anyway, let’s not get into a discussion of what is reality and what is wood, woodn’t, because the way that always ends up is with one or both of us waiting with a bowl of warm milk for Schrödinger’s cat or Godot to show up. Neither, it turns out, has a good attendance record.

None of this has anything to do with the reality of Mars crashing into the Earth and causing the creation of another moon. Or another summit in Helsinki, depending on your perspective.

You didn’t hear about the Mars/Earth crash? You should get out more often. Right now, or several thousand seconds ago, depending on your perspective, Mars and Earth came the closest in their orbits that they will for several episodes of “Sharp Objects” or perhaps until that damn cat shows up. (Pretty soon, we’ll have to put up posters: Wanted, Schrödinger’s cat, dead or alive. Or whatever.)

Anyway, Mars and Earth came so close that superconducting hyper-electronic communication with Mars only takes three or four minutes or 10 or 12 minutes. Which has led some people with too much time on their hands to posit that the planets might crash, thus creating a clash of civilizations.

Not that Mars has a civilization. Hard enough to find one on Earth, most days.

Just judging from the view outside from my windows, the Mars and Earth did not crash. Of course, my windows could be lying to me.

And it would have been something had the two crashed when RAGBRAI was partying in town. Some skeptics would contend that RAGBRAI was partying in town was a sure sign that Earth and Mars had, indeed, crashed.

This is why you don’t want to get so close to reality that you touch it (it doesn’t like to be touched). It all depends on your perspective. Kind of like that Supreme Court justice trying to define pornography, though it might as well have been reality: I know it when I see it.

Hmm. Reality, pornography. You say potahto, I say potato.

Our Grand Buffoon had a brush with reality lane recently, probably unexpectedly, because that’s the way he rides.

In Kansas City, no less. Storied home of famous barbecue and, well, the Pendergast Machine. Say what you will about Democrat machine politics, none of it good, I suspect, the Pendergast era also gave us the nurturing environs for three jazz giants: Count Basie, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker.

Two steps forward, one step back. Of course, that may just make us like that Ancient Greek’s frog.

OGB, speaking to a Veteran of Foreign Wars convention, was so moved by a contemplation of reality that he told cheering conventioneers:

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

See? This is what happens when you start fooling with reality without professional guidance.

There are other examples. The White House on July 23 held its Made in America Product Showcase. “We are here today to celebrate the greatest products in the world — products made with American heart, American sweat, and American pride,” OGB said.

Turns out, the silverware at the event was made in China.

What if, just to say potahto for a change, what if it’s not Schrödinger’s cat in Schrödinger’s box? What if it’s Godot in the box? What does that do to quantum superposition?

More importantly, what does that do to “Sharp Objects”?

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