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[P]
9.8 m/s^2

By transient0 in Fiction
Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 09:06:34 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Georgie wasn't terribly bright. Sometimes that got him down. Once he had been so low that he almost threw himself out of the twenty-fourth story window of the Manor Manor hotel. Fortunately the young master had been there. The young master had said, "you don't want to do that Georgie."

When Georgie had insisted that he did, the young master had asked him if he knew just how fast he would fall if he jumped out the twenty- fourth story window. "Yes," Georgie had replied, "nine point eight metres per second." He was surprised to hear himself say it. He hadn't known he'd known.

"No," the young master corrected him, "you would fall at nine point eight metres per second PER SECOND. That's much much faster than nine point eight metres per second."

Georgie had been so awed by this that he forgot all about jumping out of that window.


In the intervening years Georgie had wondered many times if you could just keep making things faster by adding "per second" to the end. "Just how fast", he would wonder to himself as he scrubbed the toilet bowl, "would nine point eight metres per second per second PER SECOND be." Georgie tried to solve this riddle by himself, but he was not terribly bright. Sadly, by the time he had found a good way of phrasing the question, the young master had long since become an adult and moved to America.

One day Georgie found himself back on the twenty-fourth story of the Manor Manor hotel and couldn't help but remember when the young master had kept him from jumping. As he was scrubbing the toilet that day the "per second" question troubled him more than it ever had before. Before he knew it he was repeating "per second per second per second per second" over and over again under his breath and he was scrubbing so hard that the bristles began to fall out of the brush.

It was time, he decided to settle the question once and for all. Leaving the brush lying haphazardly in the toilet, Georgie marched into the library and for the first time in his life addressed the old master without being spoken to first. "Sir," he said, "I have something very important to ask you."

Surprised, the old master looked up from his book and removed his pipe from his teeth. "Yes Georgie," he asked kindly but with some slight impatience in his voice, "what is it?"

"How much faster, sir," Georgie began tremblingly, amazed at his own gall and filled with trepidation and excitement at the idea that he would soon have the answer, "is nine point eight metres per second per second per second than nine point eight metres per second per second?"

The old master narrowed his eyes slightly and then gave a very tiny shake of his head. "Those are accelerations Georgie, not velocities," he said as he placed the pipe back in his teeth and returned to his book, "for all you know the speed is zero."

Cowed, Georgie retreated from the room.

"For all you know Georgie," he said to himself as he opened the twenty-fourth story window, "the speed is zero."

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9.8 m/s^2 | 74 comments (46 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
Nifty (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by Narux on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 12:19:50 AM EST

This story made me grin, for some strange reason...

A closed mouth gathers no foot.
+1FP (1.50 / 5) (#13)
by Simowen on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 12:50:12 AM EST



Nice story. +1FP (3.33 / 4) (#17)
by Sciamachy on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 05:53:36 AM EST

Short & punchy. Good stuff.
--
Fides Non Timet
Congratulations (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by bob6 on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 06:19:38 AM EST

I think Richard Matheson himself would be envious for not having written this short short story.

Cheers.
Superb (3.50 / 6) (#19)
by nebbish on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 07:37:47 AM EST

Best piece of fiction yet on K5. In fact it's wasted here. +1 FP.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

That doesn't say a whole helluva lot.... (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by morkeleb on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 08:12:32 AM EST

...for the fiction section then. It was cute....but best?

I guess I haven't been missing out on a whole lot then by skipping the fiction stories.


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
No, this is a really good story (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by nebbish on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 10:48:44 AM EST

It has atmosphere, two amusing characters with personality, along with a plot and questions on the nature of physics, all in 535 words. It is concise and was a joy to read. It could easily be published professionally.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

hahahahahaha (2.33 / 6) (#40)
by morkeleb on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 08:55:28 PM EST

It could easily be published professionally.

oh wait....

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

ummmmm....yeah I think that about does it.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Don't laugh. (4.75 / 4) (#42)
by Redemption042 on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 10:54:30 PM EST

The shorter the story, the more difficult it is to write.  While this story doesn't have the entertainment value of an epic, it most certainly is  a work of art.   This individual has accomplished what he disered in the least amount of words possible.   Think of it as a poem and you will see what I mean.   This does indeed have publishing possibilities.

[ Parent ]
That takes the cake. (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 10:45:09 AM EST

You don't read much fiction, do you?

Atmosphere?!

Yes, I have such a clear picture of these characters and their world -- the elegant Manor Manor Hotel and the one-of-a-kind "old master". What a load of crap! This story has no interesting characters. The protagonist is suicidal for no apparent reason. The "young master" might as well be the fucking Discovery Channel narrator. The "old master" might as well be a physics textbook. There's no middle, no build up of tensions, no throughline for character development, no climax, no resolution.

In other words, this is not even a story. This is a parable, maybe, and not even a good one of those.

I think the fiction section of K5 is doomed because no good writer is ever going to submit their work to the public domain. All you'll get is nerdy, sophomoric crap like this.
------------------------------------------------

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[ Parent ]

I read a lot of fiction (none / 0) (#49)
by nebbish on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 11:51:17 AM EST

And Im a big fan of short stories, there's an elegance to them. What you are asking for is a novel - do you really think you are going to get all you ask for in your comment in 540 words? Try using your imagination a bit when you read.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Wrong. (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 12:10:49 PM EST

Short fiction follows the same rules. Sure, you can condense elements of a story in short fiction(e.g., climax/denoument), but you still can't shortchange the reader. As I said above, you can call this a parable, a setpiece, a fragment--all of which are fiction--but it's not a story because it lacks a few of the major features of a story. For that reason, it strikes me as incomplete, unmoving, underdeveloped and generally malnourished. The fact that you are pleased with it says something about your appreciation for the art.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

It is a story (5.00 / 3) (#54)
by speek on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 01:21:40 PM EST

And you're an overly-self-impressed idiot.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

It's about one eighth of a story. (1.50 / 2) (#55)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 03:47:52 PM EST

You just don't know what makes a story a story.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Calm down (none / 0) (#59)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 02, 2003 at 05:02:01 AM EST

The fact that you are pleased with it says something about your appreciation for the art.

There's no need for that. You're undermining your own argument, you know.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Read a lot of romances, do we? (none / 0) (#73)
by starX on Mon Oct 06, 2003 at 01:00:19 AM EST

"This story has no interesting characters. The protagonist is suicidal for no apparent reason. The "young master" might as well be the fucking Discovery Channel narrator. The "old master" might as well be a physics textbook. There's no middle, no build up of tensions, no throughline for character development, no climax, no resolution"

Since when are any of these things necessary?  A story can be as simple as "One man walks across an empty room."  Of course, the flowery prose of 18th and early 19th century romances works the same way; page after page of character description and tension that is incidental to the core of the story to add action.  

I applaud the author.... it's better to say too little than to say too much.  Say too much and you will always bore away your audience, say too little and you'll leave them wanting more.  A favorite English Prof of mine had a saying: A [piece of writing] ought to be as long as a woman's skirt: short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to cover up what's important."  This story is a great example of that in action.  

And yes, I can see this being published in any number of magazines or webzines devoted to short fiction.  An award winner it is not, but it is certainly publishable.  It may not be a brilliant story, but it is a humorous one, and it is short enough that a reader will take a chance on reading it because it doesn't require a great time investment.  


"I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust
[ Parent ]

read this while doing physics homework (3.33 / 3) (#20)
by omghax on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 07:49:51 AM EST

kakaka

+1fp for some reason

Funny because it is true. (3.66 / 3) (#23)
by Easyas123 on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 09:34:07 AM EST

The sentence I like best:
He was surprised to hear himself say it. He hadn't known he'd known.
But he didn't know. HA!

Good work. +1

***********************
As the wise men fortold.

why? (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by n0nick on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 07:43:06 AM EST

Goergie's answer, "nine point eight metres per second", is a speed value.
--
"Outside? Is that the big room with the blue sky? There aren't any computers out there." -- DesiredUsername

[ Parent ]
But not acceleration. [N/T] (none / 0) (#52)
by Easyas123 on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 12:43:15 PM EST


***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

exactly (none / 0) (#53)
by n0nick on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 01:02:04 PM EST

and the other values he repeated to the old master, these were acceleration values. thus no one of them is "faster" than the other, because they don't express the velocity. but the first value he suggested was in fact a velocity value.
--
"Outside? Is that the big room with the blue sky? There aren't any computers out there." -- DesiredUsername

[ Parent ]
This is what I was takling about. (none / 0) (#56)
by Easyas123 on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 04:21:14 PM EST

From the text:
When Georgie had insisted that he did, the young master had asked him if he knew just how fast he would fall if he jumped out the twenty- fourth story window. "Yes," Georgie had replied, "nine point eight metres per second." He was surprised to hear himself say it. He hadn't known he'd known.

"No," the young master corrected him, "you would fall at nine point eight metres per second PER SECOND. That's much much faster than nine point eight metres per second."

Thus his answer was incorrect. Are we talking about the same thing here?

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

At 24 Stories high? (none / 0) (#62)
by Alannon on Thu Oct 02, 2003 at 11:15:19 PM EST

Assuming 3m per story, that's 72 meters up.  At 1 second, he'll be traveling 9.8m/s and will have fallen only 4.9m.  At 2 seconds, he'll be traveling 39.2m/s and will have fallen an additional 24.5m, for a total of 29.4m.  At 3 seconds, he'll be traveling 88.2 m/s, and will have fallen a total of 93.1m, or would if he hadn't hit the ground shortly before.  He'll have hit terminal velocity shortly after 2 second anyways.

Therefore his answer is correct.

[ Parent ]

Wha? (none / 0) (#63)
by Easyas123 on Fri Oct 03, 2003 at 10:45:02 AM EST

You are basing his correctness on the fact that he will eventually stop accelerating?

Hmmm.

No. He is still wrong. Try and slip that one past a physics professor.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

erm... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by php4me on Fri Oct 03, 2003 at 06:59:34 PM EST

velocity is given by the fn V(t)=Vi+at, where Vi is initial velocity, a is acceleration, and t is time in seconds. therefore, his velocity at 3 seconds would be v(3)= 0+9.8(3) = 29.4m/s, but he wont get going that fast because he becomes analogous to a trash bag filled with tomato soup at approximately 2 seconds (2.06091), at which point he is travelling at v(2.06)= -9.8(2) ~= 19.6m/s. when you say he would have hit terminal velocity, maybe you meant he hit the ground...hard. either you have your position and velocity funtions switched, or you are horrible at simple multiplication. in which case i would recommend you vist your local 5th grade math class. good day to you, sir.

[ Parent ]
Hooray for FICTION!! (3.20 / 5) (#24)
by Dinner Is Served on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 09:55:43 AM EST


--
While I appreciate being able to defend against would-be rapists who might suddenly drop in from the sky, I don't appreciate not being able to see the Northern Lights. -- mfk
Whoa. (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 11:55:36 AM EST

Man, I love this story. Vignettopia!

The great thing is, what brings it all together, see, is that my vote brought it to 42! Ha! Easy destiny.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

Loved It! (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by Akshay on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 11:56:06 AM EST

How fiction should be. Hope this gets voted through!

Off topic (4.60 / 5) (#30)
by SwampGas on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 12:17:46 PM EST

Reminded me of a joke from the physics days:

2 cats are on a roof.  Which one doesn't fall?

The one with the bigger meu.

Hardy har har.......

Found my new sig (n/t) (none / 0) (#45)
by rf0 on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 03:07:30 AM EST


--
a2b2.com - Stable, Friendly Decent Hosting
[ Parent ]

nice work (4.50 / 4) (#41)
by vinayd on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 10:42:23 PM EST

really liked it. post more.


One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one chatters and quarrels. - Nietzsche
If this wasn't a ... (4.80 / 5) (#43)
by mikelist on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 11:09:13 PM EST

...one up conceptual thing, you're a hell of a writer. Even if it was, hella concept.

nice (4.33 / 3) (#44)
by makaera on Tue Sep 30, 2003 at 11:13:28 PM EST

I really liked this one. Keep up the good work.

"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post

omg (4.50 / 4) (#47)
by wji on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 09:14:06 AM EST

Fiction that I have no complaint with. In fact, I kept coming up with the standard complaints about every k5 fiction piece here, and then realizing how stupid and inapplicable they were. Good job.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Suggestions (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by fenri on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 12:06:06 PM EST

I think you have a comfortable approach to style, but there is room for improvement (when is there not?).

You have at least one grammatical error that breaks the flow (the "As he was scrubbing..." sentence), and the overuse of "young master" is troubling near the beginning.

Try laying off some of the adjectives and adverbs.

You lose a little realism when the bristles fall out of the brush. That isn't likely to actually happen. Find another way to get the scene across here (it's coming off a little trite).

Show me Georgie isn't bright instead of just telling me. Otherwise, it lacks conviction that he's a bit dumb. It would be more effective if your readers could feel that.

Please don't take my comments as being negative. Personally, I don't feel I can improve my own work with praise: I need someone to tell me I can be better (and hopefully point me in the right direction).

Keep up the good work!

Show instead of tell (none / 0) (#65)
by Eater on Fri Oct 03, 2003 at 08:34:13 PM EST

Why that seems to be the line most often spouted by writing teachers at all levels, I honestly believe that in this case, it is MUCH more effective to say that Georgie is not too bright rather than show it. The actual story is very short, and adding even a paragraph to demonstrate Georgie's intelligence would severely unbalance it, taking away a lot of its impact.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Not nearly... (none / 0) (#66)
by fenri on Sat Oct 04, 2003 at 10:12:39 AM EST

...enough teachers say "show instead of tell." Trust me. And if they do, they rarely know what that really means. The author here can easily characterize Georgie through a simple action--possibly adding no more than four or five words to the length.

Though I don't agree with your movtives, I've taken another look at the situation with this story and can somewhat agree. Since Georgie (at the beginning) is considering his own intellect, I think it's alright to simply state he's aware of his situation directly.

[ Parent ]
Simple answer (none / 0) (#67)
by epepke on Sat Oct 04, 2003 at 12:10:57 PM EST

Georgie knew he wasn't terribly bright.

Only a couple of words more, and it adds an extra flavor to it, as the story ends with the idea of "for all you know."

I think it's fine as is, though.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
pointless (none / 0) (#70)
by ziminjidah on Sat Oct 04, 2003 at 11:42:53 PM EST

Georgie wasn't terribly bright. Sometimes that got him down.

We learn that he knows he isn't bright because it gets him down. Why say he knew it? The way it is written is so general that it implies everyone knows he's not terribly bright as opposed to it being self-deprication.

[ Parent ]
as an ex janitor (none / 0) (#68)
by caca phony on Sat Oct 04, 2003 at 12:33:12 PM EST

I assure you... it is possible to scrub so hard bristles start falling out.

[ Parent ]
Was Georgie related to Jimmy? (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 08:11:28 PM EST

Jimmy the Gimmie Pig was one of my all time favorite short-short stories, but I have no idea who wrote it. (I remember Asimov was the editor of the collection though..) 100 short-short stories in one paper back.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


Great story, keep writing, +1FP [nt] (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by twh270 on Wed Oct 01, 2003 at 11:14:58 PM EST



Nice.. (none / 0) (#69)
by wsb on Sat Oct 04, 2003 at 01:09:46 PM EST

Short and great, nice work.

It's somewaht entertaining. (none / 0) (#71)
by Vesperto on Sun Oct 05, 2003 at 08:31:21 PM EST

When i saw who it was by, i was expecting something like this, so it was sort of a disappointment. A nitpick: use <sup>2</sup> next time in the title, looks better 2 :)

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
yeah... (none / 0) (#72)
by transient0 on Sun Oct 05, 2003 at 10:15:37 PM EST

HTML doesn't work in titles.

I tried.

grin.
---------
lysergically yours
[ Parent ]

Vote! (none / 1) (#74)
by squigly on Mon Oct 06, 2003 at 09:23:41 AM EST

Georgie wasn't terribly bright. Sometimes that got him down. Once he had been so low that he almost threw himself out of the twenty-fourth story window of the Manor Manor hotel.

And this sis someone who wants to be Governer of California?

9.8 m/s^2 | 74 comments (46 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
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