Anatomy of a pratfall OR how gravity gets me down

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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On balance, perhaps, we should be grateful that gravity pertains exactly as is in this particularly corner of the universe.

Consider, for example, the grief we’d endure managing our small change were this mysterious force to abruptly be applied at, say, 50% of current capacity.

Why, nothing less than inverted pockets would keep said smash from simply floating off into the ether.

An increase of similar scale would prove similarly burdensome for all, bar those in the shoe business, one suspects, the entire population
effectively doubling weight in the twinkling of an eye (imagine Xmas only instant), thereby substantially reducing the life expectancy of our footwear.

Preferable, of course, to shutting off altogether this whole attractive force between bodies proportional to the product of their mass thing.

Assuming, that is, you care nought for the prospect of reading this sentence in space, hurtling rapidly away from a disintegrating world, as the solar system itself falls spectacularly apart on all flanks (ramp it to the max, by contrast, and you’d find
yourself getting around like a starfish throughout the calendar rather than merely once or twice a week when in drink).

So be thankful for the status quo. As Goldilocks said, shortly before being disembowelled by carnivorous caniforms, this one is just right.

All of which admitted, must the gravitational constant always be quite so bleeding constant?

Is it unreasonable to ask whether, every now and again, we witless apes could just be cut a little slack?

Take last Tuesday for example.

Surely it was obvious to even the most disinterested spectator that yours truly had no time for gravity’s fun and games.

Running late. Lots to do. Busy lives. We lead such busy lives.

So I left my tobacco on the side and only cottoned on once my feet hit the damp pavement? So what? Big deal. Is that so wrong? Does that merit what ensued?

Is it reasonable, in circumstances such as those described, for gravity to pounce on me like a famished wolverine the moment my slippery sodden crepe sole encountered the merest trace of hitherto unsuspected moisture in the hall?

Apparently so.

Apparently it is fine for mild-mannered taxpayers to see both feet suddenly rise before them at speed prior to crashing flat on their back with a gasping sob, the large paper-cup in their hand simultaneously popping its cap in all the excitement to dispense strong hot java over their clean, freshly-ironed shirt, trousers and face.

Not that my face was freshly ironed. But it was clean. Until gravity threw coffee in it.

Merci, gravity.