By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."
Well, for those of you counting, this is my 52nd column for The News of Mill Creek. Perhaps for some of you it is 51 or 52 too many. For others, so I’ve been told, it has been fun.
Among the benefits of writing a column in a local venue, which includes my photo, is being recognized occasionally. Like any “fame” or “notoriety” it is often fleeting and wrong.
For example, I was working out at LA Fitness and someone came up to me and asked, “Do you work in Dr. XYZ’s dental office?”
See, there was that recognition factor – but an uncertainty of where the recognition came from.
So I answered, “No, but I’ve been to a dentist in the past year.”
No laughter, nothing.
This reminds me of an old joke.
A very nervous guy goes to a singles bar with his friend. This guy is very unsure of himself and has a poor idea of how to attempt to strike up a conversation with a “new” (to him) woman.
His friend advises, “Just introduce yourself and let the conversation flow from there. Also complement the woman. Say something about her appearance.”
So the guy walks up to a woman and says, “Hello, I’m John Smith.”
The woman answers, “Hello, I’m Sally Jones.”
The guy says, “Gee. For a fat girl, you don’t sweat very much.”
That guy remained a confirmed bachelor for this entire life. No surprise there.
The Randomness of it all:
We make friends in our lives through the most tenuous connections. For example, one of my best life-long friends was someone at my college who dated the same woman as I did. We were both freshman and neither of us thought that much of this particular woman. So on that basis, our agreement that this “date” was perfectly awful (I can’t imagine what she thought of us), turned out to be the very small sliver of a connection that blossomed into a long friendship.
There is a great movie, called "Sliding Doors" starring Gwyneth Paltrow that illustrates how seemingly small events can have tremendous consequences.
The movie is about a woman named Helen (Paltrow’s character) who arrives at work and discovers that she has been unjustifiably sacked from her job. On her return home an amazing thing happens. Time reverses itself for a few seconds and a second reality is created.
In one reality Helen catches the London subway and arrives home to find her loathsome lover Gerry cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend Lydia. In the other reality, Helen misses the train, gets mugged, goes to hospital and eventually arrives home to find Gerry alone in the shower, not discovering his infidelity.
So much of life is so random. A few times I’ve come upon the scene of a bad auto accident, seeing accident victims attended to by emergency medical technicians. On a couple of those occasions the accident was fatal.
On these occasions, I think of “Sliding Doors” and wonder if only one of the vehicles was only a few seconds “off” the accident wouldn’t have happened.
Perhaps the car slowed down slightly around a bend or the car in front applied its brakes causing the car to be off in its travel by seconds. If one of these things happened, those people would still be alive.
Albert Einstein weighed in on this subject by saying, “God does not play dice with the Universe.” He was reflecting on the then emerging science of Quantum Mechanics – which alleges that you cannot predict the exact location of a sub-atomic particle – that it behaves somewhat randomly.
String_theory - which I will not even attempt to explain here – emerged from this.
Einstein hated the non-deterministic nature of this new science and thus his quote.
So as a scientist, Einstein believed in the “exact” nature of science vs. what most of us have come to know: “There is uncertainty about just about everything.”
The Heizenberg Uncertainty Principle is a definitive mathematical explanation of this. It states, most simply, that the observation of any phenomenon can change its state or outcome simply by observing it.
In real life, that means that when you approach a green light, simply by staring at it will cause it to change to red just before you get to the intersection.
As we think back, we all probably have interesting stories about how we met our “life partners.” As I like to describe it, “Some of us pick out our life long partners (in a bar) under lighting conditions you would not even pick out a piece of fish.”
So until another year passes, I’ll continue to write this drivel I call a column. That is, unless a meteor strikes me down as I walk from my house to my car. (The probability of that happening is only slightly less than the probability I could walk into a bar and say the “right thing” to a beautiful woman such as: “Gee. I didn’t know that dress came in such a large size.”