Monday, November 3, 2008

Help! I'm in the wrong Trouser Leg!

I suppose I should explain myself. It makes my head hurt, and I will undoubtedly fail most heinously, but here goes.

Some scientists believe that everything that can happen actually does happen*. Terry Pratchett refers to this as the Trouser Legs of Time. There is a moment when reality splits and one reality heads down one leg while the other heads down the other leg. For instance, let's say you are the Vice President of the United States and you go on a hunting outing with a buddy or two. Whoosh! A bird flies up out of the brush, you aim your gun and... one of your hunting buddies has gone and put his face between your gun and the bird. Two things can happen here; you empty both barrels into your buddy's face, or you hold your fire and don't shoot your buddy in the face. These scientists I was talking about earlier claim that both things actually happen, but the universe splits at this point and becomes two universes. In universe A you have just made hamburger out of your hunting partner's face and created numerous jobs in the stand-up comedy industry. In universe B, you held your fire, didn't shoot your pal in the face, and now all those would-be stand-up comedians are standing in line at soup kitchens. These Trouser Legs of Time occur an infinite number of times, creating an infinite number of universes:

The Birth of a Universe.
Trouser Leg A) I think another drink would be a very good idea, and I bet wearing my underpants on my head would make a daring fashion statement.
Trouser Leg B) Thanks, but I'll pass on that drink and go home.
Shazam! Instant universe.

Somehow, I seem to have found myself in the wrong Trouser Leg. One day, I was living in a universe where all Republicans and quite a few Democrats seemed to be enamoured of that Trouser Leg's version of the President of the United States, whose name is George W. Bush. (In my home Trouser Leg, Bush came to power by stealing not one, but two elections. Hard to believe, but that's what really happened.) Bush could do anything he wanted and Republicans and Democrats did what he said. Yes, it's true. "President" Bush would tell the country we had to go to war, and Republicans and Democrats alike would reply "When can we start?" Rape the Constitution using something cynically called The Patriot Act? Yes, Mr. President! Require public schools to spend money on federally mandated testing while withholding funding to pay for the tests and cynically calling it No Child Left Behind? Yes, Mr. President! There are even more examples, but you probably wouldn't believe me.

Then, one day, I realized that the universe had changed, but I can't say exactly when it happened. I started to notice that both Democrats and Republicans were in agreement that this Trouser Leg's President Bush was The Worst President Ever, and they've always believed that. None of them ever supported Bush. They blame him for getting the country into an illegal war through lies and misinformation. They hold him responsible for policies that created our current economic crisis. The Republican candidate for president goes to great lengths to point out that he is a maverick who has opposed, not only his own party, but, by golly, also, too, President Bush, at every turn. 'Cuz he's a maverick and he's surrounded himself with a team of mavericks. (In my own Trouser Leg, this same candidate, in his own words, agreed with Bush over 90% of the time! It's true!) I hope that things turn out better in this Trouser Leg than they do in my own. When I was still there, the future was looking pretty grim.

So, you see, I can only conclude that, somehow, I jumped from one Trouser Leg to another. If I ever figure out how I did it, there may be a Nobel Prize in my future. It probably has something to do with Quantum.

The Turtle Moves.
(Apologies to Terry Pratchett.)

* Would that be an awesome job, or what?
Scientist A: Hey, man, what if, like, everything that can happen, actually, like, you know, does happen? Like, we could take your cat and put it in this box, and, like, until you open the box, it would be, like, alive and dead at, like, the same time?
Scientist B: Whoa!! Dude!!! And, like, reality would, like, split into two different universes that exist, like, simultaneously, you know? Only, it wouldn't happen until we, like, opened the box?  'Cause of Quantum, you know? That's crazy!!!!! Pass me that joint!
Scientist C: Dude, you look, like, totally awesome with those underpants on your head!!!!! Pass me that joint!!!!!
Cat D: MMROWWWRRR! (Translation: How's this for a new universe; you morons quit trying to put me in that box and feed me before I shred you to ribbons?)


gomonkeygo said...

Best Political Commentary Ever.

I'm gonna finish my coffee, make smoothies for one and all and go vote.

BTW, I've got a bunch of early Genesis live shows for ya - drop me a line at gomonkeygo_jo (AT) yahoo (DOT) com and tell me where's I can mails them, eh?

Suzy said...

Excellent post. I have been thinking of doing one along the same lines myself ... only not as creative or funny. Yeah, when did it change? Because 4 years ago GWB was also the worst president ever. He didn't change. Everyone else did.

Anonymous said...


Even the Republicans here in Georgia talk smack about Bush. It really is like an alternate universe.

Anonymous said...

Ed - Regarding the possibilty of multiple universes, do you know that Mark Everett's (from Eels) dad was a leading expert in this area of quantum theory? He proposed an infinite number of universes and it does sort of make some sense to me. Oddly, when I was a kid I used to believe this in a very intuitive way. I would often be involved in some action and suddenly start thinking about all the other possible outcomes if I just did B instead of A. Makes you think.

As for politicians...they all live in a parallel reality.