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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Life in low-definition, and the changing laws of physics

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

For the last couple of years, we've been hearing that high definition television is just around the corner - that very soon, we're going to be seeing the clearest and most unbelievable pictures since the first Playboy magazine.

So, while I'm waiting, I'm watching normal television. Last night on one channel I saw Peter Jennings; on another was Dan Rather; and on a third was Barbara Walters. Suddenly, I got the feeling that these three are stalling the whole hi-def revolution. They don't want high definition. They want the picture to be as fuzzy and unrealistic as possible. That's why they use old-person camera lenses. They have no lines on their faces, their eyes aren't clear, and they almost have halos. High definition is obviously for people under 35. Low-def is much easier on the rest of us. So, if you're ever in Hollywood, I suggest you take a piece of wax paper with you. Then, when you're in a restaurant and you see an elderly woman at the next table, try looking at her through the wax paper. I bet you'll say, "Oh my gosh, it's Barbara Walters."


From Nostradamus on, there have always been people who claim to be able to predict the future. Why are so many of us fascinated with this ability? There's a pretty good chance that it's all baloney, but more importantly, the last thing you want to know is the future. Take a look at your own life over the last 20 years. How much of it would you have preferred to know was coming? You would have been depressed waiting for the bad, and you would have missed the delightful surprise of the good. It's way better not to know. As long as you have 100 bucks in the bank and an extra pair of clean underwear, you're pretty much ready for whatever the world throws at you. You don't go to movies where you know the ending, and it would be a shame for you to be standing in the lobby while your life plays out on the screen. Most of us have no idea whether or not there's life after death, and that's the way it should be. We all find out eventually, and I think it's very thoughtful that so far, nobody's blabbed.


The physics I learned in high school is no longer valid. Here are a few changes that need to be made to adapt the Laws of Nature to the middle-aged person:

* The shortest distance between two points is the one where you don't have to bend over.

* Bodies in motion tend to fall onto the couch.

* Bodies at rest tend to be disturbed.

* Whatever goes up, you probably sold last week.

* Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can, however, be wasted.

* Infinite mass is achieved at the speed of light and also during Thanksgiving dinner.


One of the most important lessons in life is not to peak too early. And I don't mean just in the bedroom. We only have to look at people like Gary Coleman or Jerry Mathers to realize that early life accomplishment can be extremely debilitating. (Opie is the exception.) For most of us, it's important to delay success as long as we possibly can. There's nothing worse than being a has-been. The ideal plan is to achieve the zenith of your personal and professional achievements just prior to passing away. Be sure to point that out to your wife as your excuse for never being successful. You've just got too much to live for.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Life is a trip, but you're not driving."

Red Green writes weekly for the Pilot-Tribune.