Sunday, April 24, 2016
Newton’s Laws of Marriage
I wish we could derive the rest of the phænomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from mechanical principles.
—Sir Isaac Newton, “The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”
LAW I: A body in motion will be kept in motion. A body at rest will be asked what its plans for the day are.
The First Law deals primarily with inertia—which is often mistakenly identified as “relaxing”—and the different ways one body can affect another inert (and perfectly content) body. Conversely, it states that a body in motion will be kept in motion with a list of errands, written on the back of an envelope, before that body “becomes one with the couch for the rest of the day,” which seems like an unnecessary characterization. Also known as “The Saturday Principle.”
An object at rest will not start moving unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. But definitely don’t use the word “unbalanced.” That will not work out well for the object. Also, any force that causes another body to transition from a state of inertia to “trying to maybe accomplish something today” technically can be measured by describing its magnitude and its direction, but never describe the force’s magnitude.
When an object in motion finally comes to rest (so many hours later than it wanted) and it becomes clear that the object has forgotten one item (I) that was written on the other side of the envelope (E), it will get zero (0) credit for the things it did remember, and for which it waited in traffic (T), thanks to a screw-up with Waze (W), we can say that (E – I)(T + W) = 0.
LAW II: The heavier the object, the greater the force needed to move it, especially if it refuses to move, in a misguided effort to make some kind of point.
The Second Law states that the heavier an object is physically, mentally, and emotionally, the more it is affected by inertia, and the more the object can expect to have that thrown in its face if, God forbid, the object refuses to get out of bed for three days after losing the only job the object ever loved.
The oppositional force provided by the inert object is affected not only by its literal mass—which increases due to forces of gravity, time, too much takeout, and low-grade depression—but also by its tendency to actively resist change. This tendency is either due to the constant and unreasonable nature of the forces acting on it, or a psychological aversion to being told what to do because of some weird thing with its dad, depending on who you ask.
The more opposition that is provided, the stronger the force required to overcome it, which often leads to mutual structural damage, also known as “saying things you can’t take back” and “slamming the silverware drawer so hard you break the soft-close feature.”
The inevitability of this law and its consequences may be expressed as the mathematical equation F = ML, where F = Fuck and ML = My Life.
LAW III: For every action there is an opposite and bewildering reaction.
The Third Law states that one object will always appear to have a completely disproportionate negative reaction to the action of the other. This is called the Out of Nowhere Fallacy, and is based on the illusion that reactions are responses only to the action at hand, rather than to every similar action that has occurred in all previous interactions between the two objects. This is often referred to as the Cumulative Fatigue with Your Bullshit Index.
Take, for example, an object in motion that tries to rest, just for a moment, to keep from crying in front of the kids, like that one time, and happens to audibly lock the bathroom door. While it seems mathematically impossible that this would cause a two-and-a-half-hour blowout fight, the reaction is appropriate when corrected for the fact that this brings up trust issues from the time the secret checking account was discovered, even though that was a million years ago, or 106 (y).
While far less common, an action can also cause an unexpected positive reaction. Consider an automobile travelling from a restaurant to a house: while the acceleration is affected by mass and external friction, it is also affected by forces inside the vehicle.
If two bodies are at rest inside—alone by a scheduling anomaly; held together by time, a mutual expansion of mass, and the indefinable constant of love—one body may notice something about the other body, like the way it pretends to know the words to the song on the radio, and it may take the other by the hand and smile and suggest a change of direction, because the sitter isn’t expecting them for an hour, and tonight, for once, neither body is pushing or pulling at all.