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Shake it Up

The most novice cook knows oil and water don’t mix. It’s basic chemistry. A tense meniscus forms between oil and water, their densities cause them to repel one another. Yet, we use this pair as the basis for most vinaigrette dressings, aioli and mayonnaise. Somehow, two things with known chemical properties upon which whole schools of logic are built somehow transform into an emulsion. How? It is not the water alone, nor the oil. It is the agitation. You convert these two repellent ingredients into a tasty dressing by whipping them together. Energy and motion converts them. No matter how long you study the properties of water or oil, you cannot know or predict what happens when you put them together. They make something new, something unexpected, something unpredictable. If you let that emulsion stand for too long or you chill it in the fridge, you can separate them. The oil floats to the top and solidifies. But they can never be fully separated once mixed. Microscopic drops of oil suspend in the water and equally minute molecules of water polka dot the oil.

People can be like oil and water. Their interaction is separated by a thick meniscus of tension, a membrane differentiating one from the other, like a force field or a DMZ.  They’re different, dissimilar and their properties when compared are all wrong. Those two will never get along. They have different tastes, different careers, different politics, they like different music. She can’t stand BBQ and he listens to heavy metal. But shake it up and oh lordy…..Pow! What was once a clearly defined disparity becomes this crazy chemistry. Who would have guessed? I wonder about those culinary accidents…the guy who first made mayonnaise or mustard. He stuck his finger in it and was like, “Damn! That is amazing!” People we meet are like this too. We could never predict it and might even try to logically avoid any interaction. They’re going to be a pain in the ass or an arrogant bastard….and then things get shaken up and Banjo Kazooie….then logic is really pissed. Logic hates being defied. But logic, in its grandest scale, is just an in vivo theorem. Logic functions under the auspices of “right” until it is proven “wrong”. The sun revolves around Earth. The world is flat. Marrying your first cousin is smart and protects the family blood line. Cocaine in sugar syrup cures all ailments, along with mercury, antimony and blood letting. Alcohol cures acne and prevents kidney stones.Yeah, right!

Sometimes, what we believe to be fact is just an assume bit of knowledge not yet proven to be true (or untrue). It is a factoid but not Truth. The older I get, the fewer truths I am sure I know. I accept the states of matter as truth, yet know a solid wall is made solid by the force fields created by weightless electrons encircling a nucleus. I should be able to walk through a wall for it is mostly SPACE and not matter. I know reality (my current reality) prevents me from bending the tenets of science. Yet science is a nebulous arena more closely associated with art and fantasy then we like to consider.

For why else connect to other people? Why else make friends? Why else would we collaborate? Why did we change from a nomadic species? Why else create social networks and spaghetti ourselves around the globe with Tweets and texts and emails and 1+ like? Why else love?

Could it be that we are all looking for the magic, the creation of something new from what was once know (or assumed) to be incompatible, inexplicable and absolutely nonsensical? The greatest fools in history are those individuals who rail against change, who accuse and persecute the heretic for saying the earth revolves around the sun. They mock the guy asking Queen Isabella for the coin to sail WEST to the New World. The explorers are a crazy lot, what they do takes some cajones. It is easy to stay in the pack, to stick to the predesignated path. You get herd immunity and the comfort of the bell curve. Being a crazy outlier lays you open for predation, ridicule and if you are unsuccessful…colossal, public failure. But…what if you are right? And your discovery changes the world…..literally changes the world. Now that’s something to care about. Shake it up.

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