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I Feel a Story Coming On
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As I understand it, entropy is the heat death of the universe. It’s the time or point or place where or when the universe energy has slowed to a stop. It may also be the end of time; I don’t know. Everything—stars, black matter, light—will have been reduced to a formless, motionless gray, either light nor dark, neither moving nor stationary. The End.

Well, I don’t know about all that. I’m not a physicist, nor, on the timescale of my life, do I think it matters whether or not I even know about the heat death of the universe. But I do know about entropy in another way.

As I look back over the decades of my life, I realize that I have known two people who embodied and exhibited in their lives the principle of entropy. They did not improve the world they lived in; neither were they destructive. This story does not see them as good or evil, just as persons who sucked the life and energy out of everything and everyone they touched.

Both were charming and knowledgeable; neither was likely to impress you as anything other than a regular joe. But if you worked with them or lived with them long enough, you began to see a pattern to their lives and to the lives of everyone whose paths intersected theirs. Without a perspective of years or of distance, you would hardly be able to see what happened. The effect was so subtle, spread out over so many years, that friends and relatives who at first scoffed at the notion only gradually came to understand the power of entropy.

Every project botched. Screws lost, paint splashed indelibly on antique surfaces, computers trashed, cars brought to their knees. After professional repairs, “adjustments” once again made the situation worse than it was originally. Spills, scratches, wrong sized parts, fender benders, stained carpets were all part of the pattern. Everywhere you looked—literally every single place—the effect of entropy was seen.

“All I did was…”
“I just….”
“I couldn’t help it.”
“They must have sold me a defective….”
“I dropped the screw so I substituted….”
“This part will do.”
The more intelligent they were, the stronger the entropy effect. The whole time you’re thankful this person isn’t a surgeon and does not hold someone’s life in his hands.

By far the most insidious effect of these people who channel entropy is the effect they have on friends and family. Bystanders see the charm and the efforts to help; friends and family feel the effects of life-sucking negative karma. The excuses, the denial, the self-justification cover for a long time, but eventually it becomes clear that these people are not a bad persons—they are killers, draining the light, the joy, the spontaneity out of life and substitute nothing. Think of sex reduced to this number of these touches, that number of those actions and a count of orgasms. You’d be left with relationships which drain you emotionally and intellectually and living situations where everything is cluttered, dirty and nothing works right.

So who needs a grand theory of entropy spread across universes and billions of years squared? Let me introduce you to….

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