I love science, I just don’t understand much of it. I see it, I believe it, but I can’t explain it. I tried.
I’m pretty good at identifying plants and animals, but I could do that when I was in kindergarten. Sadly, I haven’t progressed much beyond knowing that a cow goes “mooo!” and a flower is pretty.
Where I have truly fallen short is going from the concrete (white, hard stuff that you make sidewalks out of) to the theoretical (mumbo-jumbo stuff with numbers and symbols).
So, when I was recently assigned by my editor to write a column about abstract science, I knew I was in trouble …
“Michael, I’ve got a topic for your column this week.”
“Great! I hope it’s something about food or battery-powered lawn tools or stuff that drives my wife crazy.”
“Nope, it’s time for you to expand your catalog of subjects. How about something dealing with the laws of thermodynamics? You could pick whichever law you want to write about.”
“Thermodynamics? Geesh, I don’t know anything about him. How about something about victims of shopping cart road rage? … I have lots of experience with that.”
“No, Michael, it’s thermodynamics or your next column is buried on page 24 under the hemorrhoid relief ad.”
OK, thermodynamics it is. First, I had to pick which law I would write about.
The First Law of Thermodynamics says energy cannot be created or destroyed.
That’s like saying you cannot make a Transformer and you cannot destroy it either. Excuse me, but I believe that Megatron was created by Hasbro and destroyed by Optimus Prime.
So much for that law.
The Third Law has something to do with absolute zero. I can’t write about this one because it brings back too many bad memories of my test scores from school.
So, I’m stuck with Law No. 2, which is cool because this is the one most popular among scientists, many of whom think it is the most important law in the universe, with the exception of how Spider-Man shoots unlimited webbing out of his palms and why aluminum foil on telephones will protect us from wiretaps.
What is the Second Law of Thermodynamics? After watching several YouTube videos and reading Wikipedia, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on it. It has to do with disorder and chaos, of which I have a bit of experience with.
This law is a kind of measure of the pandemonium in the universe, which scientists call “entropy.”
The higher the entropy, the more muddled and messier things are. Evidently, stuff in the cosmos, and therefore in our lives, moves naturally from low entropy (order) to high entropy (disorder).
Perhaps the best example of entropy is a husband. Yep, if you want to define something that naturally navigates life in a state of progressive shambolic existence, it’s the guy you married.
This law quickly explains clothes on the floor, food stains on shirts, upright toilet seats and open kitchen cabinets.
It clears up why containers and lids are never together, how things get lost and when it’s time to call a real plumber.
And, wives, sorry, but according to this law, we husbands are not our own fault …
“Michael, why can’t your underwear find its way into the hamper?”
“Sorry, honey, it’s entropy, and it’s the law.”
I bet if you wives compared notes, you’d find a lot of common denominators among us entropatical husbands. We are not lazy or disorganized, we are simply innocent victims of the immutable laws of science. And, according to scientists, the chaos is only going to get worse.
Just thought we’d let you know.
• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. He continues to bravely fight the fine fight against husbandry entropy, but is falling behind because Newton’s Law says that a body at rest tends to stay at rest. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.