Specific Gravity

Here's a very short story that I wanted to get out there in the world so it exists. I'm not sure what it is - but I like it and don't want to forget: It's called Specific Gravity:


Something strange has happened to the universe.

It began with airplanes falling out of the sky one day, and then a few buildings collapsing in on themselves, and then a bridge fell into a river during a charity fun-run.

Eventually science figured it out. Gravity had become specific. 

Somehow the laws of physics had been subverted or messed up, and the gravity of an object started being determined not by its mass, but by its worries.

For most animals (except dolphins, apes, elephants, and curiously, honey-bees) this didn’t matter - they didn’t have consciousness and they didn’t have cares, but for humanity - the shift in the physical world was catastrophic.

Our problems were weighing us down.

For those with the most problems - the most on their mind - this shift in gravity became almost crushing. They couldn’t get up off the ground, they moved as if burdened by hundred of pounds. Some couldn’t breath, some dare not even try to go downstairs. Some became trapped in their basements, too afraid of the elevator.

Suddenly the poor and the wealthy had something in common, for money comes with its own issues. The powerful and the powerless, the extremes of all society became suddenly and instantly immobile - held down completely by their concerns. Like all real troubles, it was a problem which only got worse once you had it.

And for the carefree among us - the opposite became true. Without any problems to hold them down, light-hearted idiots would fly away - float up until the lack of oxygen gave them cause for concern and they’d plummet to Earth - pulled by the sudden weight of their folly.

Babies, of course, had to be tied down - as they always should have been. Happy children floated along on leashes and padded ceilings would become all the rage. Parents would be judged by how high their offspring could float… but, ironically, that obsessive need to make light and happy children, would drive such parents into the floor.

With gravity being determined by our problems, the self-help industry blossomed - books about letting go and not holding grudges were everywhere. Meditation and yoga became a religion and people struggled to find balance in their lives. Worried enough to stay on the ground, but not so freaked out that you end up crushed to death by your thoughts.

It became a rather complicated time.

We found a new metric for attraction; because who wants to adore a floating idiot, and who could cherish a beautiful floor-pancake? We judged people less on their looks (although we still did that a lot) but more on their gravity. “She was too heavy” became a phrase that stopped referencing size, and started referencing emotional well-being. The manic sexy girls with their gorgeous baggage couldn’t even stand up, let alone dance - and the vapid beautiful men with their simple thoughts all floated away and died in the first week. Sad nerds remained in their parents' basements, unaware that anything was going on.

So now we try to stay centred. Quality of life has taken on a new meaning - and those of us left try to smile, but not too much. We work - but we don’t care about every little thing. We don’t let regret pile up, don’t invest ourselves fully in anything. We try not to be sad, try not to forget our small problems… and we don’t dare fall in love.

Because nothing weighs you down like a broken heart. 

And nothing lifts your spirit like being truly, completely happy.

It’s a complicated world now. But we try not to think about it.