Gravity’s Story

by Robert Rickover

What’s the first feeling you get when you hear or see the word Gravity?

Gravity rues the day he was “discovered” by Newton.

For a great many people it conveys something negative, or heavy – something we need to fight against to keep our body from sagging as we get older.  Or perhaps a grave situation – or even a graveyard or a grave stone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Gravity lately and so I set up an interview with him – and yes, Gravity insisted he was definitely a he.  Gravity agreed to let me talk with an avatar he had created as a kind of public relations spokesperson.  As Gravity said, his job requires him to be on the job 24/7.

Gravity’s avatar is named Gravity and here is a partial transcript of the conversation I had with him:

Me: Welcome Gravity.  It’s good to get to talk with you – you’ve been a strong influence on me since I was born.

Gravity: It’s a pleasure to speak to you as well.  I’m very happy to have this chance to set the record straight on a number of points.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to start with your last statement because, in fact, I was influencing you from about 9 months before you were born.

Me: Of course – it’s just so difficult for me to remember.  But seriously, you’ve got to admit that you don’t get very good press these days.  Just mentioning your name can be a real downer, so to speak.  How does that make you feel?

Gravity: Not good.  Not good at all.  Here I am working – I believe as you humans might say “my butt off” – and all I get is the kind of disdain you mentioned.  Do I ever get thanked for keeping you tethered to the earth? For keeping your atmosphere from drifting off into outer space?  Indeed for keeping your earth in it’s orbit around the sun?  No – hardly a word of praise.

And that’s not even talking about the blame I get for the sorry state of your posture and coordination.

Me: I feel for you Gravity, I really do.  It’s that last point I like to get into a little more deeply.  Can you explain why we shouldn’t be fighting against you to stand and sit upright?

Gravity: Well to start with, it’s the force I apply to your heads, balancing on top of your spines, to nicely counteract the backwards pull of your neck muscles.  You humans evolved to take advantage of this and now you seem to have forgotten it.  As God said in the Bible, you are a stiff-necked people.

Me: Well those of us who teach and study the Alexander Technique are well aware of that…

Gravity: I know – and believe me I’m grateful for it – but it’s not a widely-held understanding. And another thing – it’s not just the work I do on your heads – I apply my force to all the other parts of your body and indeed to your whole body.  And for the most part you fail to realize that that’s at least as important as my “head work”.

Me: Well I plead guilty to having been entirely ignorant of the significance of that for many years, even long after I started teaching the Alexander Technique.  It took a low back injury to get me thinking about your effect on all of me before I started to actively utilize my center of gravity.

Gravity: Yes and I’ve heard about your new project, Up With GravitySM.  I have to say I like the name and I wish you best of luck in getting the information out there.  I applaud you for showing how people can actually harness my force for good.

Me: Thanks so much for that Gravity – it’s wonderful to get that kind of praise from the source, so to speak.  Is there anything else you’d like to say to the human race?

Gravity: Just that my name only started being used 300 years ago – and has absolutely no etymological connection with graves.  I’d really like to make that clear.

Me: Maybe you should have been named Uppity?

Gravity: Well, just about anything would be better than the name I have.  Still, I must go on keeping the whole earthly system going.  Never a moment to rest.

Me: Well please let me express my gratitude for all you’ve done.  I hope that someday you gain the respect you so richly deserve.