I was sixteen and my demand for God right then and there was that “Crazy Times” by Jars of Clay would play on the “secular” radio station. If it did it would mean Lisa liked me. I turned on the radio and sure enough “Crazy Times” came on.
These days I’m more apt to display another type of naïveté and call that evidence of Quantum Entanglement. Spooky action at a distance, that’s the more poetic phrase for this factoid about our universe. As I understand it two particles are connected, though separated by distances that would take a crazy amount of time to cross. These particles can communicate with each other so that they lose their independence, thus entangled.
Physics also tells us that particles are constantly being exchanged within matter. We all are tied up with a bit of Albert Einstein in us, a bit of our neighbor, a bit of stardust. In his cosmic fantasy novel, The Dalkey Archive, Flann O’Brien comically explores implications of this very branch of quantum study. One of the character’s has this “Mollycule Theory” that posits people all over Ireland are turning into their bicycles and vice versa: “you would be unutterably flibbergasted if you knew the number of stout bicycles that partake serenely of humanity.”
For however wonderfully satirical O’Brien’s novel is, I can’t sleep on the Mollycule Theory. Books communicate to me, and I become them as I read. The good ones anyway; the ones that break off some humanity like it’s bread. So the goal is to read widely, diversely. The goal is entanglement with the atoms and molecules that compose words. Words and ideas and points of view that chase after what makes us live and breath, kill and suffer, laugh and shiver. And many, many times, usually at some distant point, I’ve discovered it’s those books that suddenly turn themselves on like a radio.
I never had the guts to tell Lisa she liked me because I heard a song on a radio — undoubtedly a good thing. But I haven’t learned my lesson. As a teenager in the bathroom I sang, You can’t attract/the things that you lack. So I’m still asking of radios, jokes, God, stories, songs, basketball shots, physics, to conjure connections that will deepen my entanglement with life.