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A Fun And Informative Party

Yesterday was my friend Maria's birthday. She was having a small get together for the occasion, and even though I was  fairly busy, I decided to stop by.

 She immediately offered me scotch and birthday cake. I told her I would just have some birthday cake, although a decadent combination like that was tempting. 

A lot of our mutual friends were there, as well as a friend of hers I had never met before. He was an architect and the fake name I will give him is  Niraj. When I found out he was an architect, I couldn't resist telling him that I had always wanted to pretend to be an architect. It took him a minute to get the Seinfeld reference and chuckled. He told me had a friend named George who was an architect and  looked like George Costanza. His friend heard that joke all the time.

I felt comfortable enough with Niraj to point out that since he really was an architect, he couldn't pretend to be one and would have to pretend to be a marine biologist

There were a lot of intelligent people at the party, so the conversation moved towards more substantive things, among them the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Niraj  said that Kurt Vonnegut came from a family of architects, and that his nephew worked as an architect here in Charlotte. 

The conversation then drifted towards physics. It was a natural topic since Maria is a physics professor, her boyfriend Steve  is a physics student, and one of her housemates recently got a physics degree. This is where the party became quite informative.I suggested that quantum physics is a popular topic of discussion among laymen because it's indeterminate nature makes it easy to talk about when you don't really know anything. Everyone seemed to agree.

Then the subject of Schrodinger's cat came up. Schrodinger's cat is one of those topics  about which ignorant physics laymen, myself included, often speak glibly. I said I didn't believe a cat could be alive and dead at the same time. Maria told me it couldn't and that Schrodinger's thought experiment was actually an argument ad absurdum against a particular kind of quantum theory.

That made perfect sense. And I was right about cats not being alive and dead. I thought maybe it was just a deficiency in my knowledge of physics. I felt very enlightened.

Later we talked about board games. I told about the humiliating defeats I'd had when I played checkers with my niece Andi. Steve said "you never move the back row". I wished I'd known that when I was playing checkers with Andi. I thanked Steve for enlightening me. He told me he got that tidbit from watching Tommy Boy.

I've never seen Tommy Boy, but I just assumed it was a stupid comedy with no educational value. So I've amended my to-do list to include the following:

  • Watch Tommy Boy
  • Visit my brother and demand a rematch with Andi

All in all, it was a wonderful party. In addition to some very moist and delicious chocolate cake, I spent quality time with friends and learned a lot. Here is a recap of what I learned:
  • Kurt Vonnegut's nephew used to live in Charlotte
  • Schrodinger knew that a cat couldn't be alive and dead at the same time, and that was the point of his thought experiment.
  • Never move your back row when playing checkers
  • Tommy Boy has more educational value than I thought it did.
  • My sobriety is so robust I can turn down birthday cake with scotch.

I think I am probably twice as smart as I was before the weekend started.