Alvin Richardson

(I bet y’all thought I didn’t know about stuff like the laws of physics. Luckily, you have a local columnist who is both smart and witty. I hope you appreciate that fact.)

One fine spring morning Sir Isaac Newton, the noted mathematician and physicist, was musing about the forces of nature and noticed that an apple fell from a tree. From that simple event came the origins of a theory that we now refer to as gravity. What goes up must come down and that sort of thing. Of course, mathematicians and physicists muse about things somewhat differently than do you and I. My musings run less toward the forces of nature and more toward fishing and playing golf. In fact, I can never recall musing about the forces of nature, but what do you want from an old retired coach?

Nonetheless, Newton gave us the first inklings about gravitational force, and unbeknownst to him a Pandora’s Box of stuff was let loose on our world. Let me explain.

We all know about normal gravitational pull. If you turn loose a hammer in the middle of a swing it will land on your toe. If you let go of a glass of water it will hit the floor, break into a thousand pieces and make a mess. Normal gravitational stuff. Then there’s the more complicated principles. Ocean tides and planetary orbits are typical results of gravity that are a little harder to understand.

But then there’s the unintended consequences of Newton’s gravitational theory.

Take this for example. I used to have a lot of hair and now I have much less. Where does it go? My notion is that gravity is directly responsible. It steadily keeps pulling downward and over the course of six or seven decades, my hair has slowly succumbed to that pull. Not only am I losing the hair off my head but that hair is going directly to my nose and ears. The hair that used to be on top of my noggin’ has now been dispersed to other areas of my body. And don’t think for a minute that the hair thickening shampoo they advertise on TV works. I’ve tried it out desperation and found it to be a fraud.

It is an aggravating state of affairs.

I currently have so much hair in my nose that when I sneeze it looks like one of those blow-out party favors people use on New Year’s Eve. As for my ear hair, you would think I was Big Foot if my wife didn’t constantly pluck them out. If things continue at this pace she will soon need shears rather than those little tweezers to get rid of them.

Gravity is the root cause of this problem and that ain’t all.

Gravity also seems to have a negative effect on body shape. To put that in concise terms it means that I used to have at least a few muscles in my upper torso along with a flat stomach but those muscles have now all been mashed down over time into what has become a big fat belly. Not only that, I actually have an upper and lower belly. The dreaded two-belly syndrome. Can’t even buy a pair of pants that fit correctly. Gravity doing its evil work.

Then there’s posture. I used to be 6-feet-2 but now with a notable stoop that number has shrunk down to around 6-feet and if things stay on this pace, I’ll be shorter than a circus midget in no time at all. All because of Isaac Newton’s musings.

I doubt that old Isaac realized all the unintended consequences he turned loose on us by discovering gravity. 

On a slightly different note, I’m sure that gravity has had similar effects for females although I can only postulate about what they might be. My gut instinct is that plastic surgeons are grateful for gravity and its influences on women. It allows those fine doctors to all have BMW’s and condo’s in Palm Beach so there’s at least a few people in this world who appreciated old Isaac Newton’s idea.

Of course history tells us that in 1705 Isaac Newton became “Sir” Isaac Newton when Queen Anne knighted him for all his musings on gravity among other things. Had dear Queen Anne known what we know now about the unintended consequences of gravitational pull and its effects on the human body she probably would have had him jailed.

Newton later came up with another idea that went something like this: “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.”  I think he stumbled on this concept once he had seen the effects of gravitational pull on the human body. Just some casual musing at work.

So with all this said I suppose we can come to a final conclusion. Whether its hair, hammers, glasses of water, body fat, posture or the stuff plastic surgeons lift up there is one inescapable law and that is that what goes up must come down.

I kind of wish Newton had not seen that apple fall.

Send your thoughts on physical laws to dar8589@bellsouth.net

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