Bleeding at my typewriter

E = MC², smacking people and waiting for women

I am mystified by many things – women; why Zuma is still president, and E = MC² are some of them. According to Wikipedia, Albert Einstein’s relativity theory (E = MC²) “determined that the laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and he showed that the speed of light within a vacuum is the same no matter the speed at which an observer travels”. You want to lick my what?! That sort of gobbledegook will just not cut it at the next cocktail party. Yet it is impressive to ask who understands the theory as most will say they don’t. So my novel party trick is to say, “Let me simplify it for you” and then using a quote from Einstein (obviously I don’t tell them that it is a quote from him) to dazzle people with my “intimidating” intellect, I say, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity”. Works every time. So here are some examples from my own life:

• If you go on a Vespa scooter tour of 12 days, it flies past like a weekend. But if I drive on my scooter from Wilro Park to the office in Witpoortjie when the temperature is 1°, it feels like an eight-hour journey.

• If I assault someone, I am looking at three years in the bin. But if your surname is Mugabe or Manana, you don’t even get a slap on the wrist. (Here the relativity is directly influenced by your standing in society. A certain gun-wielding paralympic athlete’s jail sentence also springs to mind).

• When I am waiting in my car to go to church and my wife says she’ll be out in a minute, it feels like an hour. But when my one-year-old baby finally falls asleep for an hour on a Sunday afternoon, my own nap feels like I closed my eyes for five minutes.

• Having to get to the toilet while you are driving feels like an eternity, but your children grow up in the blink of an eye.

• Having to listen to my boss’ “blah, blah, blah” during a 15-minute meeting feels like a three-hour seminar on the joys of a root canal. But if the very same boss gets spiteful, because of the previous sentence I just wrote, and dumps 10 crucial assignments on me with a 5pm deadline and the threat of a disciplinary hearing if I don’t meet it, guess who is going to be in the boardroom on Monday?

Brace yourselves. Next week I am unpacking the theory of Schrodinger’s Cat.

Riaan van Zyl

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