Watching Interstellar the other night reminded me of when I was a kid. Like many kids back then – less so now I think – I was interested in science, and particularly space. I remember I would quite often buy a magazine called Omni and Omega, to pore over the articles about black holes, space-time, worm holes, space exploration, and so on.
I have to admit looking back I sound like a bit of a nerd. I was about 15 at the time and living in Sydney, having moved from Melbourne with my family. I became interested in these things because I ran with a pretty nerdy crowd who were all into science and experimentation, and so on. I would suggest I was the least nerdish of the lot of them – and certainly the only one who played sport – and quite possibly had some cachet as being the new kid in school.
Geez, I remember it like yesterday. Can it really be so long ago? This was at Turramurra High School, one of the top schools in the state, located on the leafy, well-to-do North Shore. I started one term into Year 10. I recall being squired around the school quadrangles by a kid called Alistair Daish. How do I remember these things?
Being from Melbourne, south of the border, I was inevitably called a Mexican. I was ridiculed for my love of ‘aerial ping-pong’ by the beefy league supporters, though there were some who would seek me out privately to talk about footy.
What do I remember of myself those days? Not much. I remember I suffered as most boys did from adolescent puberty. In my case it was a bad case of acne, and an almost permanent hard-on. Oh how I lusted in those days – surely the glory days of lust, when it was still innocent.
I have only friend remaining from school there, but he is one of my besties. We’re an odd couple. I’ve always been the adventurous, curious, restless one, the tall, fair-haired anglo; he’s always been comfortably stay at home, short, dark and Jewish. Intellect and humour where our meeting points.
I could pick up the phone now and I know we could speak about the science of Interstellar for an hour. As kids particularly, it’s just fascinating whether you’re a nerd or not. Just try to wrap your head around space-time! Or black holes! Really, fucking, fucking fascinating and fucking mind-blowing.
That’s what I read about when I was a kid. How could this be? I read those magazines because they exposed to me wonders that were literally out of this world. I encourage any kid – any person – to get interested. These are things that engage the mind and your curiosity. They open up vistas, possibilities, encourage in a strange way the desire to be ambitious. It did in me, at least. Still does.
I still don’t get how a couple of minutes at the edge of a black hole is years on earth. Imagine that! I can understand the science, with some effort, but translating that to reality remains something almost beyond comprehension. Don’t overlook the wonders of the universe.