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I am standing at the checkout counter of a grocery store. There, swaying on the taunt string to the music of artificially cooled air is a balloon. Inside that balloon are millions and millions of tiny particles dancing a chaotic dance obeying dogmatic laws we have not yet created. Each stead fast in its direction until it meets another. Then, in an instant, sometimes gently, sometimes with a smash, their path is forever changed. This locomotion plays on and on even after the tiny little specs of elemental mud escape the bondage of their world the balloon.


I look down from the universe of bouncing helium to the somewhat plump face of a young lady.

"Your total is 18.72"

I smile and pull out a one hundred-dollar bill and lay it on the counter. As she takes the cleverly designed piece of legal tender I notice a slight scar on her hand and wonder what group of confined particles did that. And why.

"Do you have a food lion card?"

"I do. Somewhere. I am just not sure where."

She takes her card out from under the register and rings it in. Electrons fly their way and make a -.79 appear on a little black screen in front of me.

"Your total is 17.88."

"Thank you." I smile and she smiles back. I gather my bags and leave.

Sometimes the change in direction is little. Sometimes big. But the particles keep going on their merry way.

Image Source


chris nelsonComment