Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mass Consumption

When I was little, mass meant 'my ass', i.e. Mom, I fell skateboarding, mass hurts. When I was fourteen I took note of a show on television called 'Mass For Shut-ins'. The title always had me perplexed, until a few years later while attending a Roman Catholic church service with a friend. I didn't enjoy it, mostly because sitting on the pews made mass hurt.

In high school, mass became a concept for Physics class, taught to me by my diminutive, marathon running teacher, Mr.Simmons. That was a long time ago, but if I remember correctly a body's mass also determines the degree to which it generates or is affected by a gravitational field. If a first body of mass M is placed at a distance r from a second body of mass m, the first body experiences an attractive force F given by F = GMm/R2 where G is the universal constant of gravitation, equal to 6.67×10−11 kg−1 m3 s−2.

Physics was always such a breeze for me.


Mr.Simmons was married to Mrs.Simmons, that's how things worked when I was a boy, usually, unless you were Richard Simmons (I always wondered if he was gay). Mrs.Simmons was my grade eight teacher who awarded me the Best Actor trophy for my class (fortunately little, runny-nosed Bradley Pitt was sick during drama week).

I can just imagine the conversations that Mr. and Mrs.Simmons had over dinner:

Mr.Simmons: I've got one student in my top level Physics class who I think has a learning disability. Either that, or he's really stupid. His name is Varty, Ian Varty.

Mrs.Simmons: Ian Varty! He was a student in my grade eight class. I remember that he was a brilliant comic actor. He's probably just pretending to be dumb...he's just acting.

Mr.Simmons: Well, in that case, he is a very talented actor.

I probably learned more about Physics in grade seven, admiring/contemplating Ms.Spinney's magnificently upturned banana boobs. They defied gravity:

Gravity: You can't do that.

Ms.Spinney's Left Boob: Not only can we do that, we are doing that!

Ms.Spinney's Right Boob: In your face, Gravity. You can't stop us.

Ms.Spinney's Left Boob: Hey Righty, look at me, I'm counting ceiling tiles. What are you doing?

Ms.Spinney's Right Boob: Oh, not much, just a little astronomy.

Today, in the new millennium, I think of mass in terms of consumerism. I saw an image in the post Boxing Day Fredericton newspaper which captured two hundred bargain crazy junkies lining up outside to get into Future Shop for the post Christmas deals (note: quantities limited to two per store, no rain cheques, see you soon....suckas). I wouldn't line up to get a 96" plasma HD/AWOL/ADHD/KFC/SOL tv for $99. I wouldn't line up for anything retail, besides if I wanted a 96" plasma tv I could probably find one by accident at Costco.

Costco is quite the place. I walked into Costco looking to buy a pack of double AA batteries and I walked out with a 96" plasma tv, a foosball table and some jeans that I don't really like because they make mass look big, but they were on sale and who was I to resist a bargain? There is a tendency toward mass over consumption at Costco, and that's why I don't have a membership.

It's too bad that I don't have a membership, because a friend of mine wanted me to bring some King Cole tea to Toronto when I visit. I could have surprised her with a really big box of it. Just my luck...Costco has the lifetime supply cartons on sale this week. Inside each crate is two hundred and forty pillow-sized tea bags! It's almost incomprehensible.

M'ead hurts just thinking about it.


  1. Viking Wife said:

    I laughed mass off. I never knew that boobs could talk, you are doing the world a great service in education with your blog Ian. Keep up the good work.

  2. Stay away from Costco...Who wants to buy their eye glasses, meat, tires, perfume, jewelry and books at the same shop? Not this guy. Costco and Wal-mart are a main reason that this world is so fucked!!

  3. I've only shopped at Wal-Mart three times in my life. The items that I bought from them, on two of the three occasions, turned out to be poorly made junk.

    I've never written about Wal-Mart because I never go there anymore. The fatwa holds and will not be broken. Ever!

    I like shopping at the small stores in Sussex. The people at Moffett's Hardware could not be any nicer or more helpful. They make shopping a pleasure and they give GREAT, old-fashioned service. Ditto for the Winterwood Health Food Store. I absolutely love them!