A Sandburg Moment

By Gil Hale – corbidae@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: All usual disclaimers apply.


“Jim.”

“Uh huh.”

“Jim, do you ever think about what it would be like in a parallel universe?”

“Nope.”

“I mean, seriously… By the way, Jim, that electronic toy in the advert you’re watching, it’s just something to shut a kid up so you don’t have to do something constructive with him; it’d make a terrible present.”

“I hadn’t decided yet whether to get it for you.”

“Ha ha. Parallel universes, Jim. Scientists believe now that there are hypothetical set of multiple possible universes. A multiverse, in fact. Physicists believe it. In fact Richard Feynman put forward a theory of multiple histories too. Jim!”

“I thought you were getting dinner. I’m watching the news.”

“You’re watching an advert for a product to cure vaginal thrush!”

“The news will be back in a minute.”

“Then you can spend that minute considering the possibilities of the multiverse. Do you realise there could be some parallel space time where I’m a cop and you’re a grad student?”

“Nope.”

“No you don’t realise it?”

“No, you wouldn’t be you if you were a cop. And I sure as hell wouldn’t be me if I was a grad student.”

“Well, yeah, I suppose that does raise some interesting philosophical questions about identity.”

“Can I ask a philosophical question about dinner?”

“No. Think of this. There could be a universe where the course of history was so different that the Nazis won the second world war. What would that be like?”

“We’d be dead. Or better off dead.”

“I don’t think you’re really trying to stretch your imagination here, Jim. Try an easier one – and if you pretend you’re concentrating on that probiotic yoghurt drink I’ll buy you some and make you drink it. Okay. Consider this. You’re you, cop, sentinel. I’m me, grad student. In some universes we’d definitely never have met. The nurse didn’t call me… you didn’t follow up my card… Little things and the universe could be completely different.”

“Sandburg, are you angling for a compliment here?”

“Huh?”

“No, you genuinely don’t get it, do you, chief.  You know what I’d call some universe where we don’t meet? Just hell. I can’t think of a better word for it. Luckily we live in this one, and I’ve no intention of swapping with the poor bastard who’s trying to cope with his senses on his own.”

“…”

“Sandburg?”

“Hey, I’m touched, Jim. That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me. Hell without me… wow!”

“Do you think there’s a universe out there where a starving sentinel actually gets a meal?”

~ End ~