This is the seventh in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. You may want to read these in the proper order by skipping to episode 1: [ click here ]
Part VII: JimmyIt was Saturday morning and I was sitting in the stands at Red's soccer game. Grandma Pynesapp was helping prepare for a church supper with Red's parents so I volunteered to drive Red to the game this morning. It was half way through the first period and Red was still sitting on the bench (figuratively speaking) when a young man, who was about Red's age, walked over and sat down beside me.
"You're Red's Grandpa?" It wasn't a question.
"Hello. My name is Jack Pynesapp and yes, I am Red's Grandfather. How did you know?"
"I saw you drive up with her and you're too old to be her dad."
I thought, "Too old huh? Well thanks a lot, kid
I said; "That's some pretty good deduction work."
"Yup. I'm pretty good at that." He beamed.
"So, I'm Jimmy." He continued, "I'm a friend of Red's"
"Hi Jimmy. It's a pleasure to meet you. Red talks about you a lot."
"Yup. I know. Did she tell you how smart I am?"
"Yes, she says that you're very smart and that you know a lot about the universe."
"Yup, I'm really in to space, and science, and all that stuff."
"Well, I'm interested in all that - stuff - too."
"Yup, I know. Red's told me all about it."
"She has, has she?"
"Yup, she says you believe that black holes are interstellar vacuum cleaners."
"Yup, and she says that you believe there's more than one universe."
"Jimmy, I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that I believed this."
"Well Red says you do."
"Yup, She says you've been talking about this and you've been telling her all sorts of other crazy stuff that isn't true."
"She's told you that she thinks this 'stuff' isn't true?"
"Nope, She never said that because she believes you".
"Look, Jimmy. It's not a mater of believe or not believe, or even true and not true. Red and I talk about things and we think about things and we have fun exploring possibilities."
"Yup, I know. So you make things up. "
"I don't know if I'd say that. But we do think about alternatives."
"Yup, I know that. But Mr. Pynesapp, aren't you a little old for make believe?"
"Well, I don't think you're ever too old (or too young for that matter) for make believe. But even so, how do you know this is make believe."
"Hey, it's simple. Even I know it's make believe and I'm just a kid. This stuff is crazy! You know? This stuff you're telling Red - it's fantasy. It's a bunch of bull.
"You think so, do you?"
"Yup, I know so." He continued; "Like - things really get smaller as you walk away from them. Are you serious? Give me a break. And the bit about each of us living in our own universe? Earth to Mr. Pynesapp. Oh please!"
I realized that what Jimmy was saying was probably true but he was starting to rub me the wrong way so I wasn't going to give in.
"How can you be so sure that we're wrong?"
"'We'? Who we? You really think Red really believes this crap?"
"I don't care if she believes it or not. Like I said it's not about believe or not believe. It's just looking at things a little differently, that's all. We're exercising our minds."
"Warping your minds - more like. You're an adult, Mr Pynesapp. You're supposed to be setting a good example for us kids. Not filling our minds with garbage."
I was about to say something snide about all the video games, movies, and TV shows but I didn't think it would help my case so I decided to let it pass. After all, how much of this stuff is produced by kids? When you think about it he has a strong point to make."
"Come on Jimmy, you're smart .."
"Yup, I'm very smart." He interrupted.
".. yes, and you must realize that there are still mysteries to be solved in the universe. No matter how smart you are. Even you don't know everything. We can't know everything - none of us can."
"Yup, I know that Mr Pynesapp..."
I interrupted; "Jimmy, why don't you call me 'Jack'. Okay?"
I figured that if we were going to argue philosophy we could, at least be on a first name basis.
"Yup, okay - Jack." He paused for a minute and let this sink in. Maybe I'd thrown him a curve. But then he continued ".. maybe we can't know everything but some people know an awful lot about this stuff. People like Newton, Einstein, Hawking, Higgs, and Hubble. These guys have spent their whole lives studying this stuff. They know a whole lot more about it than you do."
"Yes, you're right Jimmy. And I don't pretend to know as much as they do - and I don't pretend to be anywhere as smart. But that doesn't mean that I can't use my senses and my sense to think about possibilities."
"Yup, I know - to make up lies and then try to spread these lies around onto unsuspecting kids."
"Come on Jimmy, don't you ever look up at the stars and wonder what's really going on up there?"
"Yup. I've done that. But I know what's going on up there. I've read about space and the stars and all that stuff -- about comets, galaxies, black holes, nova's and supper nova's. I know what's going on up there because all these smart guys have already figured it out and I've learned all about it from them."
"Well, what about dark matter? What about a unified theory? They haven't figured this stuff (as you call it) out."
"Maybe not. But they've got telescopes, and super computers, particle accelerators, and caverns deep in the mountains filled with water to help them figure this stuff out. What have you got, Jack?" He said with a snide smile.
"I've got my eyes and my ears and my brain. And, most importantly, I have learned how to keep and open mind."
"Yup, you're right, you're out of your mind more like."
I'd had about as much of this kid as I could take in one sitting and as luck would have it, Red was just heading onto the field. So I was saved by the bell - so to speak.
"Jimmy, Red's going into the game now and I'd like to watch her play. You know, I have an idea; why don't you come over to the house with Red sometime and we can talk about this some more."
"That sounds great Jack. Will the squirrels be there too?"
"Ah, I see that Red has told you about them, too."
"Yup, she told me. "So," he continued, "I guess if they're there, at least I'll have someone intelligent to talk to."
"Well, well, ", I laughed. "You know, you may be right about that. I look forward to hearing that conversation."
"Yup, me too. See ya, Jack." He said smugly as he got up and started to walk away.
"Good bye, Jim. " I retorted.
And I settled back and enjoyed the rest of Red's game. I wasn't sure if I was really looking forward to seeing Jimmy again.
[Continue with next chapter...]