Jul 14

Something very strange happened to me one day as I was walking across the school playground.

My primary school had a large asphalt area that separated the main school building from the toilet block. On this particular day – seemingly no different than any other – I was crossing this barren expanse, having been excused from class owing to a call of nature.

I was halfway across the schoolyard when, without warning, I was hit hard in the side of the head by a heavy object. I raised my arms as protection from whatever was raining terror down onto me, but no more blows came.

Tentatively I looked around for the cause of my assault. There was not another living thing in sight. The schoolyard was empty for at least fifty metres in every direction. I looked up. The sky was a perfect, cloudless blue.

As I recovered from my initial shock I realised that my face was wet. I ran a hand through my hair, which was matted and sticky. I put my fingers to my nose and found that they had a familiar, sweet smell. Looking around I saw lying at my feet several large chunks of apple.

I had been hit in the head by a half-eaten Granny Smith.

Confused, I headed back into the school building and resumed my seat in class. I don’t recall whether my re-appearance garnered any reaction from my teacher or classmates, but I would imagine they were a little bemused when I returned only moments after having left, looking somewhat dazed and drenched in apple juice.

For the rest of the day I sat in class with my hair matted to my skull with the sickly sweet syrup. For some reason it never occurred to me to wash my hair. All I could think of was, where did that apple come from?

Looking back on this mysterious episode, I can see how several possible causes could be postulated. Maybe a bird flew over, dropping the apple onto my head. Perhaps another child – or a teacher – hurled the apple at me from an unseen position at the edge of the quadrangle. Or the apple might have been tossed unthinkingly from an aircraft passing overhead (this would explain the apple’s impact at near terminal velocity).

None of these scenarios rings true, however. What now seems most likely is that the apple arrived through a wormhole in space-time.

A wormhole is simple enough to conceptualize via the analogy from which it takes its name. That is, a worm can take a shortcut by boring through the centre of a tomato, rather than walking around the tomato’s surface. Similarly, a wormhole traveler can take a shortcut from one point in space-time to another via a “topologically non-trivial tunnel” – a wormhole.

Why exactly a wormhole appeared for a brief moment in the playground of New Lambton South Public School on a sunny morning in 1979 is something I cannot explain.

Nevertheless, I like to imagine another young boy, not unlike myself, wandering across that same playground, perhaps in the recent past, perhaps in the impossibly distant future. He carries in his hand a shiny, green apple. He takes a bite from the apple, then carelessly tosses it into the air, where it magically disappears right before his eyes.

Be more careful next time, mate.

One Response

  1. A Gal Says:

    i cant recall how many times i witnessed the explosion of fruit flavour on someones cranium whislt attending school. The pleasure felt when watching a fruit fight was long forgotten until now.thank you snubian.