They say that one of the ways to stave off dementia is to keep the mind challenged. My mother does crossword puzzles to keep her mind active. My dad engages in mental gymnastics by watching four different programs on TV at one time and avoiding any commercials, while simultaneously complaining that there’s nothing on.
For those of you with no access to crossword puzzles or high-performance remote controls, I found an engaging thought experiment while driving home from work this evening.
Back in the early 1970s, after he stopped being The Cute One and before he became some sort of bogus knight (Seriously, how many dragons did he slay to become a “Sir”?), Paul McCartney formed the band Wings with future ex-wife Linda and fellow musician The Other Guy (who later went on to fame as The Other Guy in Wham!, I think).
In 1978 Paul McCartney and Wings hit the charts with the song “With a Little Luck”. It’s a pretty little ballad about the power of serendipity and love to achieve… um… to bring about… er… it. Yes, definitely it.
Now, Paul is an extremely talented musician and billionaire, but the man who once expressed the concept “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”, and was at one time confused about the proper usage of the words “hello” and “goodbye”, isn’t known to be the clearest of communicators. So I began to try to process the song in order to discover the mysterious “it” that is so influenced by luck.
So let’s apply a little Donnie Iris-style logic. What do we know about it?
First, we know that luck will allow us to “help it out” and “make this whole damn thing work out”. So we know that it needs help, and does not participate in a voluntary exercise regimen. From this, my initial hypothesis is that “it” is me.
We also know that whatever it is, it can be laid down by two people with the application of minimal affection. If I’m it, this is a non-sequitur. I can lay down by myself in the face of little or no love, almost any amount of anger, excitement, depression, listlessness, or other symptoms that I should consult my doctor about.
As an aside, the things that we can do together are without end. Except possibly keeping the town from exploding. More on this later.
Want evidence of our endless capabilities? Check out the adventures of the costumed superhero The Willow. In Adventures of the Willow #36, The Willow defeats the deadly trio of Sleet, Snow, and Freezing Rain by snubbing them, and escapes with nothing more than a cold shoulder. And we can duplicate the heroics of one crimefighter easily! Heck, there are two of us!
(Disclaimer: Here in North Carolina, the combination of sleet, snow, and freezing rain are referred to by meteorologists as “wintery mix”. This euphemism is incorrect. “Wintery Mix” sounds like a seasonal Christmas latte at Starbucks. What it really means is “God is calling local drivers home right now”.)
Meanwhile, “it” can be cleared up and safely returned to the ground if conditions are favorable. Also, a big part of the confusion results from the fact that it is off. If it were on, we’d be able to understand its functions. Together, we have unlimited opportunity to comprehend. Just as the Willow is able to get his hands around monsoon conditions behind his back. (Disclaimer: The Willow’s arms are double-jointed, and he has no problem reaching around behind him to seize atmospheric phenomena. Do not try this at home unless you and I are together.)
Moving on, we discover that it can be set off by pushing its buttons. (Disclaimer: Again, this is much like me. I get particularly annoyed when people describe something as “legendary”, and yet cannot tell me the legend.) Unlike it, however, I am not sure I can be sent rocketing skyward. I would never pass the astronaut physical, and there is a height limit for getting in a space capsule (I think it’s 6 feet).
Also, by the way, it can be shaken up by a modicum of love, although the shaking might be due to the recent cometary impact. Surely, you felt it?
OK, gang, those are the clues. Any ideas? Here are mine.
(Spoiler Warning: I’ve spent waaaay too much time thinking about this.)
It shakes. It lays down. It rockets skyward and comes in for a landing. It can be cleared. It has to be turned on and pushed. Love plays a role, as does luck. And it is found in the presence of exploding towns and comets.
I believe the only answer which makes sense is that “it” is the spaceship Jor-El and Lara used to send baby Kal-El to Earth to avoid the destruction of Krypton. Clearly it took some amount of love, and more than a little luck, to put a baby in a rocket, get clearance to launch, avoid the exploding comets hitting neighboring towns, and bring the ship in for a safe landing, where it can lay down in a cornfield until farmers are available to raise him.
If you don’t believe me, remember this: the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve was released in 1978, just a few months later. Coincidence? I think not.