"Ohmygod, Have you seen gravity
?!" People say this with strained urgency, with a lot of, well, gravity.
Until a few weeks ago, if someone asked that you would be in worrying furtive glance territory. Maybe you would have let something drop to the floor as an example of gravity at work. Maybe taken them by the hand to a globe and set it spinning, explaining gravitational pull and centrifugal effect. But mainly you'd think, "Okaaaaay, that's kind of an off the wall question for someone over the age of 12 to ask out of nowhere..."
The first time someone asked me that this month my mind immediately went to Schoolhouse Rock. "Down, down, down gravity..." And then to the in-class demonstration I did on Sir Isaac Newton, complete with apple, feather and extra credit written and illustrated report titled, "Gravity is a Matter of Gravity." I drew pictures of various examples of gravity in everyday life, the cover illustration showed the effects of gravity on hair wherein I drew Isaac Newton floating away from an apple tree, reaching for a floating apple, his long, wavy locks floating away from his head. (Hey, I was 8, cut me some slack. I got an A and a spot in the "Academic All Stars!" display case.) And then to physics class where the teacher painted
"F = Gm1
Keeps Us Grounded!" on the wall, (I'm rather proud of myself for remembering that equation, and that I had more difficulty coding the subscript so it didn't throw off the line spacing than remembering the equation), and then to the religious kid in high school who used to hand out flyers in the science hall
. He'd say things like, "We can't see gravity, but we live by its laws. So it is with God." And, "God is like gravity. You can't see Him but you know He's there because we're not spinning out of control." Speak for yourself, religious kid. Back then I mused on the double meaning of the word gravity - the scientific phenomenon v. the synonym meaning dire importance - and wondered if the religious kid meant to imply deeper significance to his gravity rants. He never seemed very bright, so my guess was that his brain was too busy being proud of figuring out a simile between gravity and God to fire any synapses over the other
meaning of gravity, as in direly urgent.
I knew the recent onslaught of gravity questions pertained to the film, Gravity
, italicized with a capital G. But still, until Sandra Bullock took the big screen by storm, the question, "Have you seen gravity?" was left to elementary school science lessons. And that's where my mind goes when someone inquires if I've seen gravity. Or Gravity
What I find interesting is that people don't think about any of that when they pose the question. They don't hear the words coming out of their mouths and chuckle at the double meaning. They think Gravity
(italicized, with an upper case G, Sandra Bullock) and so gravity (lower case g, Isaac Newton and/or direly urgent) never enter(s) their mind. Even though the film is about gravity and
gravity. And when I point out the play on the word, that the title of the movie intentionally holds double meaning and a one word plot summery, perhaps throwing in a few interesting bits of trivia about Sir Isaac Newton, I'm
the one who's given the worrying furtive glances. Like the religious kid in the science hall at school, I'm
considered the weird one.
A friend treated me to a movie night, and so now I can reply, "Yes, I saw Gravity
." But even when I say it I have to divert my brain away from gravity and focus on Gravity
. In my mind I turn into the religious kid at school. "Gravity is everywhere. Gravity is the singularly most important aspect of life in the Universe." No one likes an imperious know-it-all, and my friends have been driving me batshit with their fingers always on the Google trigger, so I kept all this to myself. Live by example and all that. But as the frequency of the Gravity
question increased, and lack of recognition of the double meaning of the question, I decided to let loose on some of the more obnoxious wannabe know-it-alls in my life. Let's suffice it to say they can dish it out but they can't take it.
One final note on Gravity
. If you have children under the age of 12, it is of the utmost gravity that you do not take them to see the movie. I don't get out much (rarely), so my movie night out was a huge stinking deal to me. Huge. The movie is exceptionally well crafted, melding visual and sound effects in a striking composition. Silence is used to great effect. Or. Well, it would
have been a great effect if the children in the theater hadn't been crying/talking/playing on the stairway aisles in the theater during the entire movie. Do everyone in the theater a favor and keep your kids at home. You can show them this instead: