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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

[In the Style of Dave Barry] Inertia

"In the Style of..." is a series in which I attempt to imitate the writing style of some of my favorite writers.  This is an essay I tried to write in the style of humorist Dave Barry.  It was a lot harder than I thought.


           Today we are going to talk about the physical property of matter which states that an object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest.
            Yes, I am referring to inertia, as you no doubt were aware because you paid attention in your high school physics class rather than spending your time giggling with your friend as you tallied the quirks of all of your male classmates.  Unfortunately, I was the second type of student so I can’t tell you much about inertia. 
            We made our tallies on the brown paper bag that served as a cover for my physics book.  We kept track of all sorts of things: the number of times we thought our teacher was fibbing about whether or not something would be covered on a quiz, the number of times Robbie almost fell over backward as he leaned back onto one leg of his folding chair, the number of times Billy made a snide remark about Matt’s soccer skills, and so on.  We even had a column for the number of times a certain classmate’s voice cracked.  This column was called “R Crack,” and R was NOT PLEASED when he saw it on my physics cover and guessed what we were talking about.
            We had another friend in the class who was so devoted to his study of physics that he spent most of his class time sitting across the table from us, with his back to the teacher.  It’s funny that I really don’t recall much about physics at all, but I vividly remember the day that guy spent the entire class patiently chewing off an inflamed taste bud.  I also clearly recall the day that Alex licked his finger and stuck it in my friend’s ear, which was a cause for some high-pitched squawks from my friend and a disapproving look from Mr. B.  
            Anyway, inertia.
            Inertia means… Let’s see.  I’d look it up, except I don’t have Internet right now so I’d actually have to find a book or get to a library.  Which I don’t want to do, because… inertia!
            Inertia also explains why I’m resting on my couch instead of making lunch, even though I’m hungry and it’s already 4:41 p.m.  An object at rest stays at rest.
            My guess is that a lot of major world problems could be solved if we could just get rid of inertia.  Take highway construction projects, for example.  Why don't they get done faster?  Well, at the end of the first day, all the equipment was shut down and all the workers went home.  They discovered that a memory foam mattress and a "Nature's Sounds Sleepytime CD" feel a lot better than a day at work, and they never went back.  An object at rest will stay at rest!
            Inertia also states that an object in motion will stay in motion.  Congress is a good example of this principle.  Back when our country was founded, our founders knew we would need some laws.  So they created a governing body called “Congress.” 
            “Congress,” they said, “You are in charge of making some laws.” 
            Congress set to work writing laws, which was very helpful because at that time we needed some basic regulations on the books, such as how to elect a president and what to do with murderers.
            But those basic laws all got written in the first few years, and someone forgot to tell Congress it was OK to stop making laws.  This explains why our federal tax code would, if printed on standard printer paper, fill the state of North Dakota to a depth of four feet if it was scattered on the ground.  I made that up, but you get the point.  (It would actually fill the state of Alaska.)
           Recently, the logical-law drought got so bad that California was forced to write a law outlawing plastic bags at grocery stores.  For centuries, this country has gotten along just fine with the question “Paper or Plastic?”.  We won two world wars that way. Then one day Congress ran out of things to do, and you find yourself committing a crime by providing your customers with a plastic sack for their eggs.  Blame inertia.
            I wish there was some way we could stop inertia so that we could stem the tide of silly laws, and our road projects would get done on time, and I could finally get some lunch.  Unfortunately, they must have covered the topic of overcoming inertia on the day that I spent physics class learning how to make a necklace out of paper clips, so I guess we’re out of luck.
            But there’s a paper clip on the footrest next to this couch that would make a lovely ring.

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