You’ll all be pleased to know that the Laws of Physics are still in full force and effect. The particular law which I was able to confirm tonight is Newton’s lesser known but still dreadfully important Fourth Law of Motion: “The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall.” The venue for the experiment which confirmed the continuing existence of this law was our backyard while sledding with my three boys in a snowstorm.
Christian – only seven but still the daredevil of the group – had been standing on his sled like it was a snowboard. At times, he could stay on the sled all the way to the bottom of the hill. Neither of the other two tried it at all, given the scant snowcover and forbiddingly frozen ground.
Father, though, would not be outdone, especially infused with a dollop of liquid courage from the recent cocktail hour. I stepped on my sled, carefully schussed over the edge, and made my way down the hill.
I found myself going much faster than anticipated and, perhaps not surprisingly, the sled shot out from under me at the bottom. I fell hard on my left side, and my knee dug into the gravel driveway. Pain shot through me, and I shouted and curled up in the fetal position.
From the top of the hill, Walker – oldest and steadiest of the bunch - yelled “I told you, Dad.”
I couldn’t even answer him the pain was so severe. I did manage to stand up and hobble about for a minute, rescuing a small slice of dignity in front of my three kids. I cursed under my breath. I finally danced around for a while and managed to work out the kinks. It allowed me to continue sledding, but I know that I did some damage.
I’m sitting here now in front of the computer, occasionally rubbing my bruised and swollen knee. I’m reminding myself that Newton was a pretty smart guy, and that I should think twice the next time before trying to test another one of his laws.