Monday, November 8, 2010

Decision Points

The universe has always seemed to revolve around me. It might seem nonsensical to you but never in my experience was there an incident that was NOT something witnessed by me, something I learned about, or something that I had a direct hand in. If a tree fell in the forest, and I didn't see it, become aware of it, or chop it down myself, then I'm not so sure it happened.

I know I've just alienated everyone else who might feel that they are the center of the universe. Just be forewarned that I'll find it hard to accept your evidence secondhand. While I have surmised I must be the center of the universe for quite some time (maybe since I was about 2 days old or so) the idea of an alternate universe hadn't occurred to me until recently.

The television show Fringe taught me about this idea of an alternate universe. Just to explain the concept: in one episode of Fringe, Walter, the main character, has invented a sort of framed pane of glass through which he can view the alternate universe. In this alternate universe as seen through the glass, the Hindenburg disaster never occurred. So from a New York City balcony, Walter can see dirigible type airships docking at the top of the Empire State Building, just like they were meant to be had there not been a great tragedy. Walter can even see the alternate universe Walter.

Now I am absolutely positive another Michael exists out there in another universe that revolves around him. This "alternate universe Michael" leads a slightly more peaceful life than I do. For instance, last week no one came running up to him saying "THE BIG CLOCK IS WRONG!" He never had this happen, yet I did. Looking up to the oversized clock that covers pretty much the entirety of a wall where I work, this BIG CLOCK was indeed wrong.

Oh, I know you're thinking "Daylight Savings Time." Throughout my life, people have informed me of this "Daylight Savings Time" thing and they usually remind me exactly at the times I need to know about it. How lucky is that?  However, this entirely different phenomenon that effects the BIG CLOCK is decidedly not our universe's Daylight Savings Time. There is no weather guy reminding me, no supervisor telling me not to be early or late to work, no cute morning news show making jokes about why I might need another cup of coffee, and most importantly no one warning me beforehand that the BIG CLOCK might just be WRONG the next day. This shows no signs of being the Daylight Savings Time I have become used to.

The answer, of course, lies in the fact that we live in a universe where George W. Bush was elected to the presidency. Perhaps in our universe Ralph Nader didn't die in an exploding Ford Pinto before he could run as a third party candidate, as might have happened in the alternate universe. Perhaps it was a butterfly flapping it's wings, or butterfly ballots, or some really odd thing that led to another, etc etc. that eventually caused a mistaken election outcome. In any event, a long sequence of strange occurrences and high level decisions have now led to, among other more important things, a different Daylight Savings Time. But, the BIG CLOCK doesn't see it. It stands steadfast in the alternate universe that it was made for, time passing it by, so to speak. It doesn't waste it's time changing itself on our mistaken universe's schedule, while it does change time on the appropriate alternate universe's schedule. So the statement "THE BIG CLOCK IS WRONG" has become a quadrennial event in my life. Alternate universe Michael never even bothers with his BIG CLOCK while I have to change mine 4 times a  year, that's 2 times when the clock changes with the alternate universe schedule and 2 times when it refuses to change with our universe's schedule.

Now, I could sense from the beginning of this post, your doubtful nature: "What an egotistic buffoon this guy is!" Oh, how I often wish you were correct! If only the universe revolved around alternate universe Michael's BIG CLOCK, the reality that slipped through our collective grasp. However, with President George W. Bush's book coming out, the BIG CLOCK faces me as a monument to the Decision Points leading to our current shared disaster, Decision Points that followed our other more heart rending shared disaster.