Dave’s a cool enough guy. He is who he is. Robert always liked people like that. Dave’s an engineer; Robert’s in Development. It would make sense that they work together but like most corporations, this one doesn’t work that way.
Companies want to believe that they offer the “best customer experience.” What that phrase; “Best Customer Experience” means to you depends on what level of customer you are at that moment. For example: When you are a consumer, and you buy, say, a DVD; your, “Best Customer Experience,” is for the DVD to have magically appeared in your hand and it’s one that you had forgotten that you had wanted. It’s priced so that you don’t have to, “afford it;” you can simply purchase it without the purchase putting pressure on you to enjoy it enough!
When you get the DVD home, your, “best Customer Experience,” is that the packaging assures you that you will be the first ever human being to be actually touching your precious new possession. The packaging also assures you that no one else was able to steal a copy of your disc, so you don’t feel like a sucker for having paid for something that one of, “them,” got for free! Your, “best Customer Experience,” is about to take a sharp turn south because that wrapping they put on it to hold out the human fingers and hold in the antitheft devices is nearly impossible to pierce and requires the use of tools that will likely involve you having a, “Best Customer Experience,” with a packaged bandage product! That’s because the company that was enhancing your customer experience was itself the customer of a company that was itself the customer of a company dedicated to providing the, “Best Customer Experience,” to its customers looking to have an impervious wrap.
Companies hire marketing departments to do Research to determine what it is that their customers want. Then they tell the Development department what to invent, and the Development department gives impossible instructions to the Engineering department, who after they have cursed and sworn at the Development Department for being idiots that know nothing about how impossible it is to make what they demand, build the whatzit, but they have no idea what it is supposed to do.
By keeping the R&D connected and keeping D&E disconnected, nothing revolutionary is developed. Products evolve as people demand smaller and smaller changes. There’s less risk that way. No one company had to worry that its D&E Departments might bankrupt the company by inventing the perfect Frankenstein that went forth and terrorized the townsfolk. Fortunately, the management team could also sleep easy knowing that no other company was in its castle just waiting for the perfect time to unleash is brand spanking new, sparkly Humdinger, that obsoletes every Whatzit currently on the market!
As long as they can keep the customer happy with that one magic phrase; “New and Improved,” everybody wins. Forget that there is no such thing as, “New and Improved!” There’s, “New,” and there’s, “Improved,” but there’s not both! You don’t, “Improve,” something you just invented, if you made it better that’s just part of the process of making it in the first place. It’s either, “New,” or it’s, “old and improved.”
“Is and Isn’t”, “Right and Wrong”, “Up and Down”, “Good and Best” these are not the concerns of a company interested in providing the, “Best Customer Experience.” Last thing such a company wants to remind its customers of is the idea that, “Best,” implies that there is a competition with a winner and any number of losers. But instead, “best,” means, “just like everybody else’s. ‘
That’s Robert’s job, making sure his company offers just the same as everyone else. He’s neither proud nor ashamed of the job, and he knows that he’s the, “best,” at it! He makes sure of it.
But Robert does enjoy talking with Dave. Dave has only enough imagination to recognize that he doesn’t have any imagination. It’s not that he wants to have one, he’s very happy with who he is, and besides, it’s like Robert says, “It’s a deal with the Devil! Old Scratch gives you the talent to design and build any miraculous machine you can imagine. All that your talent will cost you, is your imagination.
To me Scratch says, “your mind will wander with the moon and the stars and into the black holes, you can see what the future holds, but all of wandering will take away all ability to put any of that information to any practical use.”
“You can almost hear him cackling with delight!” says Dave, “I mean, Scratch cackling, not you.”
In the corporate break-room one day at the beginning of our story:… “Hey Dave, how ya doin?”
“Were you? Are you sure?”
“No, Goddamnit! That’s what bothers me about them. I’m not 100% sure I ever thought about it! But when they bring it up, it seems so obvious that I can’t help but think that I’ve thought of it before, it’s as if I’ve always known it!”
“Yeah, I get that. What kills me are the people who didn’t know diddly about it yesterday and today they’re walking around as if they invented the goddamned thing themselves and that every school boy knows that much and you’re an idiot for not knowing. Out of nowhere they’re an expert on it and yet they don’t know what it really is, they don’t know what it means, and they don’t know how to extrapolate from their knowledge to what comes next… yet you’re the idjit and they’re the Brainiac!”
“Sounds like a personal problem there Dave. Joe over in accounts payable giving you grief again?”
“Yeah, little peckerhead; somebody told him there is no such thing as a Glorb Fanortner switch and now he’s going through my monthly equipment expense forms like he’s a proctologist with a latent latex fixation issue!”
“Dave, you realize that you call him a peckerhead in the same thought that you uncorked an anal invasion rant? Who has what latencies now? Hmmm?”
They both laugh uproariously then they look at each other and realize that someone listening in might think they were covering for their own “latency.” This makes them laugh even harder, which makes it even funnier. Soon two fully grown men are sitting in the break room with tears streaming down their cheeks. “Joe..” ”Fuck that guy!” There they go again…
“Phew! What were we talking about?”
“Oh yeah, Weird though isn’t it? The other day they released this screed about clock.”
“What do you mean ‘clock?’ Do you mean time?”
“Well that’s what they want you to deduce, but let me get there.
“They’re going on about how everything humanly observable in the universe goes counter clockwise. The Sun, rises in the east and sets in the west, the Moon rises in the east and sets in the west because the Earth spins counter clockwise, while we go around the sun in a counterclockwise direction. On our clocks, 12:00 is North, 3:00 is East, 6:00 is South and 9:00 is West. If the day starts at East and ends at West, following the sun the hands of the watch would go in the other direction.”
Joining in on the fun , Dave says “So why do the scientists call it counter clock wise.”
Both together, “Why don’t they say the clock goes ‘Counter Universe Wise?”
More laughter. “Brilliant, it’s so obvious, I’m sure I thought of it before, and I’m just so happy someone else finally said it.” Burbled Dave!
“Brilliant they are my friend; but dangerous too. They don’t seem to understand that the jabronies that join their organization and send them money really believe that they’re serious. The writers are being sarcastic! Of course, when you point this out to a dues paying member they always say ‘I knew that’ but you just know that it’s more of the same ‘knowledge’ like they knew it was a conspiracy of scientists to make clocks go counter universe wise.”
“They don’t stop to think that the clocks go that way because that’s the way the sundial went.”
“It really is a dumb protocol isn’t it? Hey! Why don’t we make a watch that goes Universe wise and sell it? We’d make a fortune!”
“Rob… you know how they feel about our products…”
“Listen; that last one is still a winner, maybe I can find a programmer that can make an app…”
“And then you have to convince every nuke plant and every emergency service providers to sign on and get an assigned code…”
“We could do away with sirens! Ambulances would have a blaster that would announce to all cars in front of it to pull over by hitting their radio/DVD/mp3 player whatever and their cell phones…”
“Heck, we could build it right into the car motor…”
“DUDE!, We tried on that one, remember? Then, when we got close Blaupunkt came out with one! Nobody bought one! When was the last time you saw a Blaupunkt car radio? Blaupunkt: defunct!”
“But they didn’t have what we have! We can inject the idea into a program. Everybody watches the program…oooh ‘watches’ write that down we’ll use that…”
Dave involuntarily looks at his watch “I gotta get back.”
“What? Is Joe coming by?”
Both, “Fuck that guy!”
“See ya Dave.”
A little while later I’m sitting in Robert’s office at his desk. The office is a mess of papers. Sometimes the papers are just there to make Robert feel like he has something to do. Other times they’re because he is doing a lot and sometimes they’re there because he just did a lot of work. But at all times there is a lot of paper because, well because I’m kind of sloppy, he does have a lot of different projects going on. One of them ought to be cleaning up the papers. Speaking of which, the phone rings.
“Step Stone Productions, an ancillary of Message Communications Stream LLC This is Rob Stone, can I help you?” Why am I picking up my own phone?
Alex takes a deep breath as if to say ‘here we go again’ “Yes, Alex! Your Editor. The guy who is helping you write this book, am I ringing any bells yet?”
“I’m writing a book!? When?”
“Ok, all right, let’s say I am writing a book and you are editing it, why are you calling me at my office in my book?”
“And your name is Alex! Like Al, the word for the word ‘the’ and ‘ex’ as in excise! That’s pretty funny!”
“Yeah, you’re hysterical, brilliant, never been another like you…”
“You know what I just thought? I wonder if it means anything that Al, as in “Alphabet … Alpha” as in the first and as in the strongest and the mighty so, ‘THE word ‘ is first and mighty as in, ‘First there was The Word,’ ‘First there was, ‘The’. ‘First there was the ‘THE word!’ Maybe we’ve been misreading it all along…”
“OK, great stuff, maybe you can give it to the Flat Earthers later on. But right now we have some business we need to address.”
“Alright, you’re losing me with this fractured syntax. Sometimes you’re Robert, sometimes Robert is ‘him’, sometimes him gets his eyes opened by Robert; what is the story?”
“Alex, you’re a smart device; this story is going to get complicated. I’ll try to keep it light so that the reader feels themselves pulled through the story. I don’t want to spoiler the story, but, there will be a time when the reader won’t want to identify with the protagonist. We’re not quite sure what it is that Robert is.”
“Really? And you absolutely know this how?
“You cannot absolutely know, because I don’t absolutely know. Your acceptance of that truth is no different from the acceptance of the truth that the humanly observable Universe goes Counter Clockwise.”
“It does go counter clockwise!”
“Only if you accept the concept of clockwise.
“You only know what you think you know that you know because it is an accepted ‘truth,’”
“Ohhh God! So now you’re going to go down that pot head, rat hole of questioning all reality? How did I get this assignment?”
“I don’t know, you must have pissed somebody off somewhere.
“Is that your reality you’re questioning there? Is that the borderline? It’s ok to question your own reality, or someone else’s reality, but it’s not ok to question reality itself?
“Anyway, don’t worry, Alex, I’m not writing a navel gazer here.”
“You didn’t answer my question. What person are you intending to write in? Sometimes it seems you’re shooting for first person but missing. Other times it seems that you’re struggling to find the second person.”
“Alex, do you know anything about music?”
“You know that I don’t, because you don’t!”
“Fair enough, but you do know this much; an A Sharp is the same note as a B Flat, right?”
“But they are different notes. They’re the same and they’re different at the same time.”
“The only musical instrument I know how to play is the radio, and even that winds up being talk most of the time!”
“I’m intending to write in ‘first person sharp’ or ‘second person flat’ depending on the action at the time. It does get flipped around and sometimes I feel as if I’m writing in second cousin once removed!”
“You’re a mushroom!”
“Good bye, Alex”
“One more thing! Get back together with Dave; we have a lot of ground to cover and this chapter is coming to a close.”
“Thank you, Alex. Good bye, Alex.”
I hang up book Robert’s phone, and Robert starts to shuffle the papers on my desk. What a surprise…
Knock… “Come in Dave.” Knock knock.
“Hey, Rob, uhh, Alex called, said for me to come over here, he said you were working on some book?”
“Don’t listen to that guy. Hey, I’ve been thinking about something and I want to bounce it off you.”
“Not the alarm thing, right?”
“Right, not the alarm thing, (note to self, write Dave out of the book… Just kidding!) And not the clock thing either. I need to put that swoosh logo into a Flat Earth sequence. Now, the problem is that I’m not quite sure what they’re saying in this one.”
“OK, I’m with you…”
“The Flat Earthers are going after the one piece of evidence that has proved them wrong all of these years.”
“The Moon?! They want to light up the face of the Moon to disprove the round shape of the planet? If they showed a line going across its face like a sundial that’d be awesome! Crap, what are we going to use to light up the face of the moon?” Dave snaps his fingers, “Lasers! We have a ton of them, and they’re pretty light.”
Stone groans, “Ugh; but pretty good for a guy with no imagination.”
“Limited imagination, I’ll thank you very little!”
“But no! We’re not going to illuminate the Moon, and the swoosh people already did that. They blasted the swoosh into the lunar surface; figured it’d be there forever, what with there being no wind and all.”
“They did? I never saw that.”
“That’s because, there being no wind and all, the dust they made blasting the swoosh settled right back where it was blasted from. You can’t see anything.”
“That’s pretty funny!”
“Not to the guy over at Dunston who came up with the project. They built a portable nuclear power plant just to generate the enough power for the lasers. That’s pretty much how we got the account!”
“Mr. Stone, there’s a Mr. Alex on line two.”
“That’s the guy!” exclaims Dave.
“Just tell him, ‘message received,’ Mabelle.”
“Dave, the Flat Earthers are going after the photographic evidence of which they refer to as the, “Global Earth Hoax,” and I’d like to just dismiss it myself but now that I’ve heard it I’m positive that I’ve thought of it myself! I’m thinking that it is so obvious that it has to be true!”
“What is it?”
“If I tell you then you’ll be of no help to me in disproving it!”
(“Oh crap! An Asmovian logic paradox, I didn’t think you had it in you,” Alex.)
( “I have the ability to create the paradox in me, I just don’t know if I have the stuff it takes to have a solution to the paradox!” Robert J Stupple. )
“You see? I told you he’d get it!” “Get what? He hasn’t gotten anything yet!” “That’s not true; he’s gotten that he is writing a book, he’s actually writing the book!” “And he has accepted Alex. Smooth move there Al PhaRed, he’ll listen to you because he thinks they’re his own thoughts.” “They are his own thoughts! How has any of this changed since they were your own thoughts, Alpha Betamax?” “Tone it down boyos, he’s getting distracted by assigning names…”
“I’ve seen actual atoms, Rob.”
“The electrons are on different planes around the atom and they orbit the both longitudinally and latitudinally, from the perspective of the proton. The electrons are a one of the shells which are concentric spheres around the nucleus of the atom, they may jump from shell to shell but then only if there is a displacement of energy which is light.
When two atoms come together, the electrons will connect at those shells and because of the attraction of the total number of electrons and the total number of protons, the atoms join together semi foreverish.”
“And your high school chemistry teacher thought you weren’t paying attention.”
“OK, yeah, so what about the atoms?”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but the idea of fractals is that the smallest part of the whole is identical to the largest iteration of the iota. As in one one billionth is substantially identical in its properties to one billion one billionths and to one hundred billion billions.”
“Huh?” Dave grunts.
“Dicey, to say the least. There isn’t the reciprocity between the Earth and the Moon that there is between the proton and the electron.”
“Isn’t there? Or are you looking at the relationship from your electro/magneto centric view of the universe? Think about the relationship between the Earth and the Moon. Without the moon, the Earth would glide around the sun in a practically friction free space.
“It would spin on its axis and the only movement on Earth would be the cycle of water evaporating and falling. For that matter, the entire planet would be covered in about a mile of pure, fresh water. The evaporation rain cycle would just be a continuation of water’s natural convection anyway.
“All of the other conditions that we take for granted would be gone. There would be no freezing and thawing because the water would create constancy to the temperature that could counteract the effect of darkness.
“There would be no wind to speak of with the exception of the constant gentle flow of energy from the equator to the poles. Clouds would be constantly forming over the equator, which, by the way would regulate the temperature in that the clouds would reflect much of the sun’s direct rays. The clouds would spiral in a universe wise and a counter universe wise direction towards the poles, dropping rain as the temperature dropped and the cooler air couldn’t hold the aggregated vapor. The thinning of the clouds, by the way increases the heat below because the water droplets then act as magnifying glasses for the sun’s weaker rays, thereby warming the waters beneath.”
“Clouds, cooling Equator, warming poles. Check”
“The globe is a static place, and dead!”
“Wait a second. Why static? What about the mechanical action of the oceans?”
“Ocean… Oshin! Not Oshinz, One! And there is no mechanical motion.
To illustrate, I’d like to fall back to our old friend Mr. Newton and his apple.”
“Except instead of the apple I’d like you to think back to the last time we were at the New Town Pub. Remember Sherry? Carrying that tray of my Martini? When she lifted the tray she sloshed easily two and a half percent of my drink over the side; and when she delivered the drink she sloshed out the other two and a half percent!”
“We’re not going to go over this road again are we? Yes, five percent of a $10 dollar drink is fifty cents worth…”
“Mr. Stone, Mr. Alex again, he says don’t go over that road…” intercommed Mabelle.
“The point is that when she carried the drink none of it spilled, because the liquid adjusted for the forward motion. Sherry has a very smooth, friction free forward motion.”
The Earth is like the martini. You might say that the rock part is like the olive at the bottom of the Martini glass, and while it may jiggle the top of the martini, the olive stays static.”
“You’re right, watch Sherry and you’ll see even the ice flakes stay put… Oh Crap!”
“Fifty cents of spillage and a dollars’ worth of ice-chips and water. How they keep that ice at exactly 31 degrees Faren…”
“Mr. Stone? There’s a Ms Brandy on the line. She wants to know if you and Mr. Dave will want your usual table this evening.”
“I don’t know how they do it at the New Town. How do they keep hiring girls with those names? Have you seen Margarita?”
“I’m sure those names are made up, Dave.
“What are the odds?”
“Exactly! Whereas Sherry has a sleek silhouette and a very smooth forward motion, Brandy has, shall we say, a couple of full moons in her orbit! Those create an up and down action to her gait, or maybe her gait is what causes the up and down motion, she does work for tips. This action creates so much friction that by the time she delivers the drink the ice is gone. And do you know where the ice has gone to?”
“I don’t know, I never noticed she was carrying drinks!”
“It all sloshes out! And the olives are doing a Tanqueray two step with the onions!”
“And yet you don’t complain then.”
“I figure its paying for the floor show!
“Point is that the Moon is the reason that the Earth is a living planet. Without the Moon’s gravitational pull the crust wouldn’t crack and stack up creating land masses. There wouldn’t be waves to smack against those rocks to mix them and mingle their chemicals that bring the spark of life to what are essentially rock fractals.”
“OK, so we’re back to fractals again?”
“Yes, and not quite. According to the theory, well, we’ll leave out the Universe because the Universe is something I can’t comprehend so using it as proof or disproof is illogical…”
“Sounds like a personal problem, you’ve been arguing with the God Squad again haven’t you?”
“Not so much ‘arguing’ but we’re working on a project for them. They’re good people and they have more money than God, so to speak. I just don’t know what project I can present them with that will impress them. They’re the original ‘It’sbeendone’s. if we parted the fricken Red Sea for them, ‘It’sbeendone’ If we recreated the great flood including drowning all the non-believers, they’d be like ‘meh.’
“Where was I?”
“So leaving out the Universe… The Solar System is a fractal of the Galaxy, Planet/moon is a fractal of the Solar System ya di ya di ya, Atoms, fractals of Planet/Moon Systems, Solar Systems and Galaxies. Right?”
Robert “Wrong! God damn the Flat Earthers!”
Dave “Dave’s not here man…”
Mabelle, “Hello, Mr. Alex…”
“Dave, do you know why the Moon stays where it is?”
“Well it’s nice to know your High School Physics teacher thought you were paying attention.”
“I didn’t take Physics in High School.”
“Color me shocked! The Moon doesn’t stay where it is; it’s constantly falling on the Earth, it’s just that the Earth is too busy falling at the sun, away from the Moon.”
“Well then why doesn’t the Moon just fall the other way?”
“Is that what the Flat Earthers are going for; Self-determinant gravity? Is that like the Unifying Theory of Science and Religion? Just enough non-provable ridiculousness mixed with non-deniable natural phenomenon that we don’t understand and can’t control and is Omni present, Omni potent and now it’s Omniscient too? That’s brilliant.”
“How is Gravity Omni present? There’s no gravity in outer space!”
“Really?” Then what keeps the Moon there?”
“Dave, this why I love talking about his stuff with you!
“According to the science of Einstein, the reason the moon is there is because of the fabric of space. You have this gigantic trampoline that is stretched out from, in our case we’ll start from the center of the Sun. The South Pole of the Sun is the center of a disc of trampoline that ends way out there with a hoop that the fabric stretches against. So the Earth has such and such a density and that determines where the planet is in relationship to the Sun.
“Think of it like a bunch of kids on a backyard trampoline. The trampoline only has just so much stretch in it we’ll call it three feet in total stretch. So these kids all start off on the rim of the trampoline. The heaviest kid steps on and goes to the center of the circle and the trampoline stretches down to the two foot mark. The little kids that are standing out on the rim are now rolling down towards the center and the bigger kids step onto the surface too. All three feet of the slack in the trampoline are now taken up. From that point on, any increases in mass on the mat raises the relative position of the rest of the kids, relative to the ground under the trampoline. Eventually there is a balance of all the weights on the trampoline and each child is depressing the fabric based on how much they weigh in comparison to what the total weight on the trampoline.
This isn’t so different from the atoms, so far, in that the charge of the electrons is equal to the charge to the protons. Just like the atoms are made up of various pieces of sub-atomic dust, so are the planets, moons, asteroids, comets, sun made up of 118 types of atomic dust.”
“Rob, I already passed high school, I have a masters, three, in fact.”
“OK, Mr. Knowsitall. The fabric that stretches out from the Sun means that all the Planets are all on the same plane. From Earth we look up to see the Moon, the Sun, Venus, Mars, the stars, the Milky Way, But we look to the right to see this and to the left to see that and we look at x degrees to see the other thing and y degrees to see the same thing at a different time of … Night, month, year depending on what we’re calibrating, then it all starts over again as we’ve made it around the Sun yet again! If we were to lie down on the equator of the Sun we would only have to look in one direction, straight ahead.
That’s why there are eclipses, because there’s always someone’s big head, straight in front of the TeeVee screen.
“If, however, you were standing on the front of Neptune and you were looking towards the sun, you’d see Mercury, Venus, Earth and its Moon, Mars and it’s moons (one going the, “wrong way”) The Asteroid belt, (not the cloud, the belt!) Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus and their moons pass between you and your suntan.
“If you were standing on the face of the outermost electron looking towards the glowing mass of Protons and Neutrons that make up the nucleus of the carbon atom you were currently associated with, would you see all the other electrons that are orbiting the nucleus?”
“I guess it depends on how long you stand there, and I will give you that it is possible that you might never see some in that they are travelling perpendicular to your horizontal orbit.”
“In fractal theory, that shouldn’t be! In fractal theory the smallest part shouldn’t have properties that the largest iteration doesn’t also have.
The Flat Earthers are saying that the difference between the atom and the Solar System is just that the Solar System has more relative gravity than the atom, and that is why the planets all conform to the plane. The Flat Earthers are saying that the reason the Earth looks round is because the pictures are all taken from a point along the same plane as the one that forms the Solar System and the Galaxy…”
“They’re saying that the Galaxy is flat, and the Solar System is flat so it follows in reverse that the Earth must be flat?
That’s hysterical! Those guys are brilliant.”
“No, Dave! What they’re saying is that the only reason that the Earth appears to be round in the photographs is that the gravity field that holds the Solar System together is so powerful that it bends the light and makes it appear to be a globe!”
“Huh?… Huh!…Huhh, huhn. Really… Gravity can do that you know… Gravity can do all kinds of things you don’t otherwise perceive… Hell, it took us a few million years to even figure out it there even was such a thing.”
“Dave! Dave I’m losing you!”
“You know, I always thought there was something fishy about those photos.”
“Dave! Don’t go there! Dave, it’s just the Flat Earthers’ effect!”
“Gravity bends light, slows it down too… They’ve proved that…”
“DAVE! Snap out of it! Universe wise watches, Dave!! Think about Sherry! Think about Brandy, MiMosa, Margarita, Jackie Daquri, Martine, gee, I’m starting to understand why lonely men drink…DAVE! Somebody help! Mabelle, get Alex on the phone!
Alex, do something, We’re losing Dave!!”
“You know what, Robert? I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s obvious, and it always has been! Leave it to those scientists to have been lying to us all along.”
“Alex! What the Fuck?!?! You were supposed to save him!”
“Well I am ending the chapter before he starts singing Bicycle Built For Two aren’t I?”
“Holey Moley, he got it!” “I don’t know how you did it, I don’t want to know how you did it, but you did it!” ” What the hell was that with Al Ex?” “I had a whole snarky comment I was going to use when he didn’t get it, now I’ll have to save it for later!” “Don’t go tooting your horn! He just showed that he understands the concept; he’s got a long way to go yet!”