Boys On The Subway

Riding the subway today, I was standing next to a few young boys who were talking animatedly. One exclaimed that he believed mermaids might actually exist. He figured that since “we” haven’t been able to explore the ocean’s floor, who knows what’s down there? “For all we know,” he exclaimed, “there could be a magical fish at the bottom of the ocean who grants all our wishes. But, too bad for us, because the water pressure is too much and we can’t make it all the way down.”

I almost started to giggle! The reason for my humor wasn’t even the outlandish things the boys were saying, it was because of the seriousness of the conversation and the fact that the boys were rationalizing their thoughts and, realistic or not, had an argument to support their ideas. The were doing subway science!

The conversation ended this way:

Boy 1: “Sometimes you’ve just got to let your mind wander so you can know things.”

Boy 2: “But if you let it wander too far you go insane, and that’s what you are.”

As I left the train, I smiled to myself as they laughed and called each other names in the typical fashion of adolescent boys. Who knew so much science could happen on an underground train :-)


One response to this post.

  1. Lovely,

    They may have been talking about Demetri Martin’s ‘vertimaid’.

    It is like a mermaid but instead of being divided into an upper half that is a woman and a lower half that is a fish, it is divided along its length into a fish/woman – hence the name vertimaid.

    It is said to be less appealing than a mermaid and it has trouble swimming.

    On a more philosophical note, there is an idea that in a world created by God, atoms and more fundamental sub-particles did not exist until man started to look for them.

    This idea rests on the principle that the world is rather like a film set, and until the extra bits out the back are needed for certain scenes, they don’t exist.

    It is fun to think of God working at top speed with utter aplomb, building the skeletons that underpin the apparent universe.

    I admire the Boy 1 who said that one must give rein to imagination.

    It is always good to keep in mind that more things are possible in existence than can be determined from past experience. And as you say, that is science.


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