Sunday, February 19, 2006

Flies and lies

In the kitchen, Mom made sandwiches for our lunch, and I watched her. But before we could eat them, we had to go attend to something in another room.

"Won't the flies get the sandwiches?" I asked.

"We'll put this wax paper on top," she said, arranging it hurridly. We were in a rush, or at least she was.
From my vantage near counter-height, I could see that the tops of the sandwiches were covered, but the sides were exposed.

She took my hand. "Let's go."

"Won't the flies land on the side?" I asked.

"No," she said. "Now let's go."

"How come they won't land on the side?"

"Because they can't. Now let's go."

For many years, some part of my mind believed that flies were incapable of landing on a vertical surface. This belief was not a conscious thought, but part of my internal storehouse of knowledge. I never compared it to the evidence before my eyes of flies landing on the wall.

Left grip is 22 pounds (22, 21, 19), right grip is 70 pounds (70, 64, 60).
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