The Cameron Column #64
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      Whenever I am at a party where people don't know me very well (and, let's face it, if they knew me well they wouldn't invite me to their party, now would they?) I like to amuse myself by claiming that I am a scientist. This gives me license to make up all sorts of audacious facts that defy common sense, which is what scientists do for a living. "Yes, we now believe that at one time the entire universe was a piece of fruit-the "big banana theory," I'll say. Or, "the elephant is a direct descendent of the mosquito. Indeed, it's believed that in some parts of China, elephants still suck the blood of their victims."

      Often I am called upon to express my educated opinion on the issues of the day. "Due to global warming," I warn, "Wisconsin may someday be as warm as Minnesota," and, "Rats exposed to the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes a day are three times more likely to file a lawsuit than unexposed rats."

      Imagine my shock when I learned that one of my more hilarious fabrications, "Yes, the universe is infinitely large, and it is getting even bigger!" turns out to represent generally accepted scientific theory.

      Let's be reasonable. If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding in TO?" Ok, granted, there is lots of room in Wyoming, but scientists insist that this expansion is moving at millions of miles an hour--which, by the way, is now Wyoming's legal speed limit. The whole thing reminds me of arguments I used to have with my sister in which she would claim to be smarter than me by a factor of "infinity plus two." Obviously, you have to be a scientist to comprehend how this is possible.

      If anything, the universe is SHRINKING, in my opinion. How else to explain why every year I have less and less space in my garage?

      For the universe to be growing, it must be inside something else even larger--like Ross Perot's ego, as an example. But if this were the case, don't you think we should be able to look up in the sky and SEE it?

      "Hey Dad, what's that out beyond the edge of the universe, there?"

      "Why son, that's the universe's container, the Uni-Bag."

      So, to sum up my arguments, the universe is not expanding because

  1. we can see that it's not
  2. that would be really stupid

      Apparently, though, I'm not going to be allowed to debunk my own theory, because scientists, in a pique of jealousy that I thought of this whole thing first, won't publish the letters that I have been sending to Pocket Protector Magazine. They cite a "disturbing lack of credentials," even though as a reference I enclosed a copy of the petition I received from the cheerleading squad in high school stating that, as a group, they had resolved that none of them would ever go out with me. This, plus a photograph of me holding a slide rule (I don't claim to know how to use the thing) should count more than any diploma as far as I am concerned.

      But remember, these are the same people who claim to have "discovered" gravity. (Before the discovery, stuff just floated around in the air, making cattle ranching a particularly unpleasant business.) They aren't likely to allow someone like me into their midst: I might wind up spouting common sense at one of their parties.

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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1998
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