Sat, 22 Sep 2001

Dear Mr. Wonderful,

Why do humans always insist on designating the gradient of gravity as "down"?




Dear Top,

What are you, a Vulcan?

No offense, Chico, but the "curious about these hu-mans" robot shtick went out with HAL. If aliens and computers can speak fluent English, they can consult a dictionary. They don't need to keep asking their shipmates stupid questions.

Anyway, what does gravity have to do with goose feathers?

You know, contrary to the popular joke, you can get down off an elephant, it just takes patience and a massive amount of inbreeding.

Take Dumbo: Disney whitewashed the whole thing, but if you'd been there in the Chicago Zoo that night (1939, I think it was, but I was doing a lot of Bennies back then), you'd never forget the trumpeting quack of a feathered pachyderm.

And think about this - "designate" vs. "design" Only three letters difference and the same root, but English speakers add that extra "guh" for no damn reason. I bet you weren't thinking about that when you wrote your query, but many things are revealed inadvertently. For example, I am currently revealing that I am in love with language and all humanity, particularly the bits that rhyme with Halma Sayek, and not JUST because I am drunk on Irish Coffee, but also because we all need love and I believe in a finer world. Did I intend to do so? Probably not. But there it is.

"Down", in terms of direction, has no meaning without gravity. You've got your cause and effect backwards. Please return any unused portion for a full refund.