Will Meinen | The Omaha Tattler
OMAHA, Neb. – Newton’s First Law (Inertia): A body at rest remains at rest and a body in linear motion remains in motion with constant velocity until and unless an external force is applied on it.
“According to Sir Isaac Newton, honey,” proffered doctor of Physics Len Feldman, “it is inevitable that I remain on the couch unless an external force, say a Division II linebacker or the lash of a whip, were to act against me; and to be completely honest, the energy transfer necessary to get to my feet is not justified by the tasks awaiting me in the yard.”
As her husband lectured from the living room Lynn Shefield (maiden name) finished unloading the dishwasher, blowing a strand of hair from her face as she bent down to return the silverware basket to its molded home. This was not the first time Len had unnecessarily used principles of physics to explain events. To Lynn’s embarrassment he once used classical mechanics in his recounting of a traffic accident to a beat cop: his proposal of marriage included references to molecular physics and thermodynamics.
In the nascent stages of their courtship she found her husband’s intellectual curiosity and academic study titillating. They shared a small apartment in Madison, WI with a rescue cat named Archimedes while Len attended graduate school. Dates consisted of renting Robert Altman films, eating Indian take out, and drinking bargain bin Shiraz. Seduction took the form an annebriated treatise of Jaun Maldacena’s latest paper on the quantum microstates of black holes.
So many commonalities can be found between the complex nature of love and the natural philosophies; there is no better way in fact to understand the relationship between space and time than to fall love. These thoughts had occurred to Dr. Feldman while defending his dissertation, six years prior, in front of a committee that included a tenured faculty whose claim to fame was working on a team with Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratory expanding the use of laser technology in modern life. His attention shifted again, now to the ring in his pocket, he was planning to propose to Lynn at his dissertation party, and yet again to the uses of lasers in modern life (cutting holes in bank vaults, converting his Chevy Dart to a getaway car, defeating robot armies). Why not a laser ring?
Nearly seven years since the day of their wedding the two were ensconced in the intricate gaming of a long term affair. While Len lingered ever longer on the couch in a symbolic act of insubordination and individual freedom, Lynn played the part of good wife and martyr in the other room: Nag and Cad. Neither wanted to be either; the roles were forced upon them by the same phenomena that produced sun spots. An opportunity presented itself each day to break pattern and choose a new paradigm, an evolution of similar significance to Australopithecus, but each day it was somehow overlooked; the momentum of the relationship propelled at such a speed that to reverse it would take the energy equivalent of a split atom, perhaps a split cell.
The phone rang, first hers and upon not answering then Len’s, which was on vibrate. It bounced across the table generating a crinkling sound as it sat atop the translucent window of a Sprint bill. She answered.
We’re good, Len’s just waking up from a nap and I just finished putting some dishes away. How was your weekend?
Did Dad see the doctor yet about his toe? Stay on ‘im or he’ll just let it go and continue to complain about it.
I’m still feeling a little off in the mornings, I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, probably just a touch of the flu.