“When we fill the glass with water, we notice right away that it can go over the brim of the glass without spilling. This is because of surface tension. Surface tension holds the water together and acts against what would normally cause the water to fall – gravity – because each molecule of water is attracted to the other water molecules around it. This attraction causes the molecules to stick together and avoid spilling down the side of the glass like gravity would like them to.

Unfortunately, the attraction between the water molecules is only so strong. As we add coins, the amount of water spilling over the edges is getting larger and larger until the water just can’t take it anymore! Gravity is pulling on too many of the molecules for their attraction to keep them up, and the water spills down the side of the glass.” – American Physical Society ©2020

Been thinking quite a bit about “surface tension.” I had my molecules spill down the side of my glass last week. I had driven the long way to the grocery store. I was looking for a spot at the far end of the parking lot, when “Life Line” by Harry Nilsson began to play. It was all I could do to park my car. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to the plea to “please send down a life line.” The gravity of life had become too much. The surface tension was no longer strong enough to hold us together.

I was overwhelmed with information – real and imaginary. I was disappointed in people in positions of power and authority who refused to act on behalf of the sick, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the children and the list goes on. I was weary of trying to sort out the facts. I was saddened by the loss of life which I believe was facilitated and hastened by incompetence, greed and political ambitions.

But wait, it’s not really that bad. “We’re all in this together.” The news outlets, sports organizations, corporate executives, celebrities, politicians, preachers, car manufacturers and beverage companies assure us that they are here for us. Folks are singing and dancing on Facebook and sharing pictures of where they’ve been. And prized recipes are shared with great delight. Have mercy don’t you feel better now?

Not one damn bit. I am amazed by the talents of mankind. I am impressed by the dedication of those who work in dangerous and deadly conditions. I applaud the generosity of philanthropists.  But I felt that way before. My greatest fear is that when the virus is no longer “breaking news” and the dead are buried and the grieving comforted, the world will forget. We will forget to sing to each other, to call each other, to speak to each other as we pass by. We will once again excuse lying and cheating. We will look the other way when innocents are vilified, threatened and, perhaps, injured because we are told and believe they are not like us. It will be just like before, only worse.

“Hello
Will you please send down a life line?
Down
And there isn’t any hope for me
Unless this dream which seems so real
Is just a fantasy.”

Songwriter: Harry Nilsson
Life Line lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc