I missed the memo about retainers, laundry, and W.B. Yeats.
Seeing as how I was all grown up when I got my braces off, one might think I would have been mature enough to heed the counsel of my orthodontist when he told me to wear my retainers every night. I think I lasted about three months. I found my retainers the other day, in a box of cast off stuff under the bathroom sink. On a lark, I popped them in. These custom-made, expensive bits of metal and plastic which once fit perfectly are now the stuff of medieval torture. Despite my wishes to the contrary, I can’t keep my teeth in place by passive force of will; I do actually have to wear my retainers.
Similarly, despite my desperate pleas to the universe that laundry just stay clean, beds just stay made, and toilets just stay pristine, the natural tendency is for tidy things to become untidy. This is Entropy! (note the exclamation point; try to say this to yourself the way Johnny Gilbert says “This is Jeopardy!” Seriously…try it, it’s more fun…I’ll wait….)
Entropy, in a very basic sense, is the natural tendency towards disorder. It’s a law of the universe that my teeth want to revert to crooked and that my hamper runneth over.
I think I was first introduced to the concept of entropy back in 7th grade science or thereabouts, but I didn’t give it much thought until I was studying “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. Egads, that poem gave me the heebie jeebies. It’s beautiful, but the idea of a rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born really spooked me. And then there’s this line:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
“Things fall apart.” Holy crap. I’m a pretty perky person by nature, so the casual, yet desperate negativity in this language really just blew me away. But then a few years later, I saw this video, and I tried to lighten up…
(“Things fall apart…it’s scientific.” David Byrne has a way of saying things so I can understand them, kinda like Forrest Gump and his mama.)
So here’s what I think I’ve figured out: Entropy sucks, but the more aware of it I am, the less it sucks. Doing one or two loads of laundry seems a lot less daunting than 5 or 6. If I had been more consistent about wearing my retainers, my teeth would have stayed straighter, etc. Maintenance is a lot less monumental when done in regular intervals. Now, to overcome my inertia and start tackling all this entropy…OK class, that’s enough physics for tonight. Memo received.
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