The Curious Case of Billiards – End
In this drop I see the fields of gravity that hold our planet hostage to the sun, the force of air being pushed by a high speed bullet, the ability of light to contain huge amounts of knowledge in a tiny space, and the beauty of the chaos of our universe. And still, it is only a drop of water, in existence for a shorter time than we can blink.
The day for court arrived with much fanfare. The most important names and faces had been told it would be an interesting case, worthy of perusing for enlightenment as well as entertainment. No one suspected my end speech though, recorded here for posterity.
“Take your villeins and crimes, take your ideas of heinous and inhuman behavior and throw them out of the door. I want to talk about the art, the art today is the show. I had the opportunity to play on this amazing table, this amazing game, until my cue ball was swiped off the table and chucked out the window. I am… not of the world as most of you are, but instead, I run around and under it. I take on all kinds of nefarious doings, both the good and the bad, and I do them, and it is how I have made a good bit of money and enough of a name to gather all in the audience today. I have seen all of you here, in way or another, at your worst, and while I admit to the brothers being at their absolute worst when I undertook this case, I did not know I would see someone at their absolute best in return.
“We live in an extraordinary time. We have discovered we are on planet, we have found we live beside a star, and that the heavens are truly made of millions of stars. We have found that we only have this planet to live on, and we are indeed, in a delicate position. I shudder sometimes at the thought that this planet is somehow suspended in emptiness, and we could fall off of it any moment. While I spent time playing, I noticed something curious, my imagination was on fire! I indeed am still burning a bit this day, as my rambling speech can account to. I began to think about our lives, the lives of humans, in a giant galaxy, and what other lives like ours could be out there.
“As I played I thought of how would we ever get there? I know there has been some speculation since the maths have come to prove all of this true. I began to wonder, where are these ideas? Who is talking about them, and in the past month since I played, I have read science of the heavens galore, and begun to understand I know very little, as well do we all. I didn’t hear a word those brothers were saying until they interrupted my play, and brought me, so to speak, down to earth.
“My first reaction is the same reaction I bring to you today. I know it will ruin my reputation as a fair player, but in this instance, I think it may be time for me to retire from the big city, and go back home and read a bit. My reaction is indeed absolute frustration that this beautiful piece of art and knowledge be sold off to the nearest museum, as soon as possible, so that many people can come and be inspired. The inspiration I found in the game of planetary billiards should be had by all. Everyone should be thinking of the stars and the planets, and how we may see them and learn from them. Our basic physics models are from the astronomers, they pieced together the logic for us to understand nature. We have the illustrious Darwin learning of new species, guided by the stars. Friedrich Bessel measured the distance to a star almost 50 years ago, and accurately, using the same type of math an engineer uses to measure your property.
“We have let our shortsighted life of leisure ruin our ability to think. If we live in the lap of luxury and modern conveniences, what with gas lights at night, trains to take us hither and yon, ships burning coal to power us across the seas, we should also have the ability to think beyond our providence, to go beyond our daily life and see the energy and the beauty of the universe. The challenge we have in front of us is obvious. We can give over to silk and satin, or we can use it to our continued great age. I was given a challenge in my profession, and I have, fortuitously, failed that challenge.
“I can no longer fight for the rights of men, if we all no longer fight for the rights of man. I find in us a tremendous ability, and for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to see how we could become greater, and not lesser men. It is why I called you here today, so that maybe, we can begin to build a better snowball of enlightenment, and not a greater castle for the lords and ladies. What these two brothers fail to see, is something we are all doing these days, we are not allowing ourselves to be greater. Their mother is a grander creature than they, and sees how best money could be used. No bank master or accountant would agree, they will only see the limited ink with which each purchase was recorded, and only feel the loss of weight in the bags of coins. They, as the brothers do as well, would not be able to feel the fire of imagination, or the beauty of the table itself.
“I call this my last case, for I can expect no new clients to trust me with their secrets, and I indeed intend to turn back to my country manor and educate the young in my town. I ask that the court understand the devilry wrought at the hands of profit, and instead see that the mother is holder of our true values. She is the one who took the industry and fortune of our time and turned into something anyone can appreciate and learn from. It is her I ask the court to side with, and turn those poor children of hers into wards of the manor, and allow her to find a better way to spend her money and time, than they would want.
I took of my wig and gown, folded them neatly, and walked out of the court. For a minute, you could only hear my steps as I shuffled away, but then suddenly a great noise went up from the courthouse. Everyone was yelling out loud to see the table to save it, to help the mother. Eventually I learned that the court had the museum purchase the table, and once a month, they have a lottery as to who can play a game on it. It has brought good fortune on the town, and is considered a great luck if one is chosen. I have kept my word and retired, and now I teach math and astronomy to the children of my township, for free, in my house, with a replica billiards set.