A switch must have flipped in my brain last night because I woke up with three comic ideas in my head. Guess it’s time to start drawing again. Or flying south, I’m not sure which.
It’s the kind of evening that makes you want to lie down on concrete and stare at the sky until the back of your head starts to hurt from the ground pulling on your hair, and your eyes make dark spots in the sky from the brightness. The kind of night where you wander among disused metal poles stuck in cracked concrete, the white paint flaking off where someone stuck a piece of tape to it and someone else pulled it off again. It reminds me of what I thought it would be like when I got here. I imagined days and nights much like this, classes in high-tech buildings made of glass and metal and concrete, where the fluorescent lights glint off your watch face as you make sure that you’re not too early, that you’re avoiding eye contact, that you’re not lost. I thought of nights like this, when the sun has just gone down and everything is shadowless and bright and blue, wandering past buildings where the hallways are deserted and the office windows have lights on behind their shutters. The hallways are full of flyers for things that I could go to, but probably won’t. They’re hand-drawn in ink, photocopied on colored paper. The shading is good, but the proportions are off, and there are little flecks of color in the black where someone was filling something in and then decided it was good enough. You can tell they got the person with the nicest handwriting to do it. The lettering’s bold, like every stroke is really two with a thin pen, and they even added serifs. They could have typed it, but of course, Microsoft Word is sitting under an LED lamp on someone’s cheap PC laptop, a document open with just a name and the professor’s name at the top. The room is dark except for the orange and red and blue lights from a ten-dollar disco ball from Wal-Mart, glinting off of exactly twenty-four cans of beer. Is that enough? No one knows, they’re freshmen. I guess they’ll find out. The computer speakers are blasting MGMT, but there’s no bass and they drown in the voices of people. Downstairs, there’s a saggy couch in a tiled hallway under a bulletin board decorated with palm-tree cutouts. There’s one person on the couch. He wishes there were another one. The lights are cold and they flicker sometimes. The walls are purple and green and orange when they aren’t grimy desaturated beige. There are no primary colors here, although there is a guy from Canada who will debate with you at length about why “colour” should be spelled with a “u”. The laundry room door is painted red, it’s got a square little window in the middle with those reinforcing wires that keep it from exploding if you punch it or whatever. It’s covered with bumper stickers, flyers, ads, printouts of lolcats, random scrawled scrapings ranging from the Nietzschean to the obscene. College is like high school, except you can say “shit” in class, and no one cares. The lights are cold, and they flicker sometimes. Outside it’s dark, and the world is very large, and you’re standing on an edge of it. But when the light is on, and you try to look out, you see your face staring out of the blue blackness, and you say to yourself… so the light stays on, and people crowd together for warmth and laughter, their smiles reflecting off each other’s eyes until they forget how they got here. Their voices keep me awake.
Not everything will die.
Pi, for example. Pi will never cease to be. It existed, as a cosmic truth of mathematics, before anyone thought to derive it or calculate it or measure it. It will still exist after all life has evaporated from the Earth and the universe has cooled into a silent, homogenous void punctuated at unbelievably great intervals by solitary atoms of helium.
And pi is more than immortal. It is infinite. Its digits stretch on and out forever, in no particular pattern, never looping, always changing. Because of these properties, pi can be shown to contain any sequence of digits imaginable, no matter how long. Pi contains your phone number. It contains your birthday. It contains your name and the name of your first crush, translated into their ASCII numerical equivalents and concatenated, side by side, as if they were meant to be there. But of course, they were not meant to be there, just as you were not meant to be here. They, like you, are the product of chaos.
Pi contains the complete works of William Shakespeare. It contains the exact same information that is stored on your computer’s hard drive at this moment. If you dumped the digits of pi into an infinitely long WAV file and played it back, every song in the world would eventually emerge. It contains your genome, and the genome of everyone else on earth. It contains the genomes of everyone who has ever died. It contains the genomes of people who will never be born.
Of course, most of this information lies out in the extreme far reaches of the digits of pi, at a decimal depth so great that not even the most powerful computers could calculate it in the lifetime of the universe. Because pi, unlike the universe, is infinite. The universe has a finite amount of matter and energy, but pi goes on. The digits of pi contain more information than the entire universe.
Because of this, pi contains not only this universe, but all possible universes. Anything you can imagine has already been dreamt of by pi. The universe where you can play guitar. The universe where you can fly. The universe where there is justice. The universe where you said No. The universe where you said Yes.
So start memorizing digits. Somewhere out there in the zillionth decimal place is the information that represents you. You as you are right now. You as you could only hope to be. You, memorizing the digits of pi, on and on into oblivion, for who knows how long. Far beyond the digits you know is the information that could tell you when you will stop.
Can it be? Has Moss actually returned to life?
I can’t promise to update MWF this summer because I actually have a day job, but I’ll post when I have time. The reason there haven’t been updates recently is that I’ve been writing a play, which may one day be posted on this site. So stay tuned. I haven’t given up yet.
I promise I’m working on a comic, but right now I’m totally engrossed by this:
Clearly, neither side had as much time as they would have liked, even though the debate was over an hour and a half. If you have an opinion, you can comment below.