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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: The Truth About Time

Crowson self portrait_5.jpg

One day years ago during a frantic morning, I was darting around and doing the usual scramble-dance of a person with a tight schedule who is running late for work. As I sped my daughter to daycare, I was lamenting the fact that I really needed a few extra minutes. Why wasn’t there a Minutes R Us store nearby where you could pick up some extra chunks of time, take them home, store them on a shelf in the garage, and grab one the next time you’re late for something? Or for those of us who are seriously time-deficient, why can’t we go to a place like Sam’s Club and buy big amounts of extra time, loading down our shopping carts with bulk quantities of hours—maybe even a half day now and then?

So then I reached the conclusion that since time could not be sold, since no one has ever been able to figure out a way to make a buck off of it, time must not exist. It’s the ultimate test for existence in our consumer culture. Love exists because you can buy greeting cards, and flowers and diamonds that prove it. You can certainly buy sex. And as for the existence of God, well, just look at all the folks that make money from selling him. He must exist. But no one has ever been able to figure out a way to sell time. So, I conclude that time does not exist. There. Case closed. Please take note, Stephen Hawking and all you other physics hotshots.

Everything must therefore happen simultaneously. It’s just our relentlessly logical human brains that insist on quantifying time. We impose order on the universe because sequential events are all we can comprehend.

Most parents know this. How else can you explain the phenomenon of our children—my daughter Haley is a case in point here—graduating from high school just seconds after their birth?

As Karen and I looked, misty-eyed, through the photo albums recently, we clearly understood: It all happens at once. And there’s no monetary value you can put on it.