Saturday, June 17, 2006

Levitating Toast Strapped Cat Tale

Once, a very clever man got bored and started thinking. His mind bounced around from coffee tables to electrostatic principles while his eyes watched a cat fall from a tree limb most ungracefully, only to land squarely--and predictably-- on its feet. "Ahhh, now there is a principle I had almost forgotten," he mused. "A cat always lands on its feet." Just then his toast toppled from his plate (he was too intent on the cat) and it landed--predictably-- butter side down. "Ahh, now there is another!" he thought. "The dropped toast will almost always land butter side down." And since he was bored and his mind was thinking, a thought occured to him. He giggled. "What would happen to our laws, if I strapped the toast onto the back of the cat? Would this? Could this?" The very clever man proceeded to capture a cat (gently, of course, with tuna on his fingers) and toasted up a piece of whole wheat, slathered in butter, and tied the two together with the butter opposing the nimble cat's feet. He threw the pair into the air and the cat, twisting hard, turned and got its feet underneath it just in time. "Ahh", said the man, "that was what I expected." The man went and got a smaller cat and a bigger, thicker piece of toast. He heaped on the butter, tied the pair, threw them in the air, and watched as the cat twisted and strained and flailed its legs with its claws out, and, finally, managed to get its feet down underneath it, running off and then squatting and turning to lick the butter from the toast. The clever man was ecstatic, having 'seen' exactly what he was looking for. This time, he went to the pound, got a scrawny, almost sickly cat without much agility at all and the biggest, fattest piece of toast with practically a cube of butter slathered on it. Joining the pair, he threw them in the air. The cat twisted, the butter fell. The cat torqued, and the butter churned toward the carpet. At the last minute, they stopped. The cat and the piece of toast... levitating! Floating about six inches from the ground, the cat trying to twist, the butter obeying the laws that governed it... Magically... A levitating cat strapped with toast...Now. Here is the moral: If you can find the subtlest of balances in all situations, magic happens. As sure as a cat lands on its feet and butter lands face down on your carpet. Don't believe me? Go try it.