Given a constant velocity and the exact location of two points on a continuum,the time required to traverse the distance between them may easily be calculatedas may the absolute time at one point provided the same for the other isknown. –Kurt Hauptmann Astronomy 1797
It is touching that I don’t know for sure whether today is Saturday or Friday. I’m sitting at my desk early in the morning biting my nails and blowing the chips against the landlord’s wall. I am crying softly because it is, for sure, not Sunday and there is, for sure, no NFL game until at least tomorrow–and even then this miserable Salt Lake City T.V. doesn’t broadcast the Redskins (Willmy aging father back in Washington, who watched withme through twenty lean years of Sundays, screaming atthe picture tube “Put in Bukich–why won’t they ever putin Bukich!” when even as a child I knew that Eddie LeBaronwas doing as well as any quarterback could, given thatlousy team, live to see the Washington Redskins win a SuperBowl?) but rather lets the signals from the East just zoom by overhead to disappear forever in space. In the sky this Sunday, only a dozen feet over my roof, the plays of the three-hour game will stream by like weather, the linebackers red-dogging through breaks in the clouds like horses in an apocalyptic painting and I’ll be sitting down here not knowing a thing about it until the highlights are shown on the news, hours later.
I think hard about yesterday for any clue to its identity so that by a rational Eighteenth Century process I could make a definitive deduction about this one late Twentieth Century day. I cry harder and wish for snow to fall from the charged clouds to freeze all that motion out the window and deaden things like a shot. The powerful stadium-shaped dishes on the planets of distant galaxies are at this moment still picking up the Redskins of the fifties and sixties. A lot they know. If it should happen that today is Saturday, then right now Eddie LeBaron is fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, retired and growing old, his hand poised behind his head about to make a long cast.
At this moment one of the super sensitive antennae Out There is receiving the Redskins-Browns game of Sunday, Jan. 15, 1959. The speed of light being a universal constant, if I knew just where that signal was right now, today would be a simple calculation, but I don’t, and it isn’t, and we are in the last quarter, and all their Redskin fans are plenty worried and drinking their kind of beer fast. At this very second, Eddie’s arm is cocked somewhere about to throw the game-losing interception, and is frozen in that pose forever, hurtling past planet, planet and planet, like a painting, a painting of the only believable life after death.
[Reprinted from The Sunday Naturalist]