Whenever I almost trip and fall down the stairs, or narrowly avoid getting sideswiped by a car, or somehow manage to duck from a piece of concrete a construction worker is carrying that almost, almost takes my head off, I wonder if it's true, what they say about parallel universes. (Of course, I'm not exactly, precisely, entirely certain who 'they' are, but they sure as hell know a lot of shit about a lot of stuff.)
You know the theory: That every time we take a left, another version of ourselves, in another universe, a parallel plane of existence, takes a right. Whenever we go for the Doritos, that other self selects the salad. A multiple number of selves in a multiple number of universes, stretching on into infinity. (Sounds absurd, at first glance, but take a look at the Book of Mormon's beliefs, or the Old Testament, or a cursurory glance at Cruise's Scientology, and you will see that most beliefs are, in the end, kind of kooky. Or very kooky, when you get right down to it.)
I kind of like this theory -- that there is not just one of us but many of us, individually; that we exist, separate, but the same, in another sphere of existence. It almost validates, in some strange way, our own existence. We are, each of us, one of a kind, sure, got that, check, but we are so one of a kind that multiple versions exist in alternating temporal planes. (Yes, that makes no sense, but neither does the theory to start with, so work with me here.)
So. I almost fall down the stairs. That other Scott, in that other realm, does fall down the stairs. He breaks his leg, his foot, sprains his arm. Gets taken to the hospital. In the hospital he is inspired by an old paperback political book on Mackenzie King and says fuck it, then decides to chuck it all, his whole life, to enter politics. Within twenty-five years he becomes Canadian prime minister, only to fall victim to an assassin's bullet while campaigning in Barry's Bay, Ontario. His grave is visited by thousands every year. A theme park is named after him. Even a breakfast cereal bears his moniker.
All of the above is not going to happen in this life, this incarnation of Scott, but the option of other dimensions, quantam existences, holds forth the possibility, if not the inevitability, that we will get what we want, at some point in time, during some deviation of our presence here in this life. If all possibilities are possible, if all lefts can become rights, if all of our decisions have an equal and opposite reaction in the universe just next door, then surely triumphant success is likely, if not our birthright.
The opposite, of course, is also true. We will die young, come down with disease, be framed for murder, end our lives in prison. Possibly we'll be eaten by wolverines. Conceivably we'll be drafted into war, step on a land grenade, have our flesh devoured by cannibals in Sudbury. It's all up in the air; the ascent and the descent are endless.
I'm not sure that scares me so much anymore.
My life may turn out well or vile, prosperous or pauper-like, but so be it. More and more, these past few weeks, especially with the reality of cancer looming in my life (via another's struggle), I've realized that life truly is about the struggle. About the process. About how we change, shift or grow, for good or for ill. The only end is the end, unfortunately; the only conclusion is our own demise. Everything else is a journey towards that date.
Grim, it sounds, I know, but it's not. It means that every day is another notch in the belt, another road taken, another cliche enacted and set in the books. The becoming is important -- not what we become.
So it's comforting, I think, to believe that there are thousands, millions, infinite variations of our personalities, in neighbouring, almost co-habitating realms, that are pursing the same unlikely journey, with a plethora of alternate outcomes. We can't see them all; we can't see any of them, truth be told, except the reality we're in.
But the fact that they (or we, or us, or I) may, may, may be out there, somewhere, just next door, undetected but felt, makes one feel less lonely. It gives us ourselves as our own companions. It allows to belive, if only delusionally, that the decisions we make may not bear fruit, here, now, but somewhere, in some place, we have made a certain kind of peace with ourselves.
Of course, having said all that, I still wonder why the hell I'm so damn clumsy. Couldn't I, just for, like, a day or two, have some of that other Scott's mojo, the one who is suave and slick, the one inhabiting the realm just beneath this one?
Just for a day? That's all I'm asking.
Not sure if it's going to happen, but I'll let the day decide if it does.