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Chapter 9
Alternate Alternatives

Popularity of Gravity Waning

by SASKATCHEWAN KOLONOSCOGRAD, Alternate Reality News Service Existentialism Writer

A Fiat-Luxe Poll shows that over one third of Americans do not believe in gravity.

When asked the question "Do all objects with mass attract each other?", 37 per cent answered "No," 52 per cent answered "Yes" and 16 per cent answered "Don't bug me, Desperate Housewives is back on the air!" (Numbers may not add up to 100 due to severe rounding.)

Bette Bebobbie, one of the poll respondents, was surprised by the results. "Only 37 per cent?" she asked, wide-eyed. "I would have thought it was higher than that. I mean, well, there's no mention of anything called 'gravity' in the Bible, is there? And, this is supposed to be a Christian nation, isn't it?"

Bebobbie spent the next two hours telling us how great the Creation Theme Park - where men in loincloths hunt gigantic dinosaurs and the Flood diorama is guaranteed to be the highlight of your tour - was, but we didn't see how it was relevant to the story, so we quietly turned our tape recorder off after about two minutes.

Many noted scientists were appalled by the results of the poll. "Science is not a popularity contest," argued Stephen Hawking. "Although I have been voted Discover's 'Ssexiest Nobel Prize Winning Physicist with Parkinson's Disease' 17 years running, so I wouldn't discount the average person's opinion entirely."

"No, no, no, no, no!" insisted non-scientist, but nonetheless self-professed pretty smart guy Christopher Hitchens. "You cannot cede an inch to people whose understanding of the way the world works is based on an elderly bearded guy with mystical powers! Ooooooohhhhhh! Not that I have a problem with Stephen winning the 'sexiest Nobel Prize Winning Physicist with Parkinson's Disease' honour - he richly deserved it. I believe it is safe to say, if nothing else, though, that polls such as the one under discussion prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not curmudgeonly enough!"

If gravity does not exist, what keeps people from drifting off into space? "Yogis in mysterious eastern countries fly all the time!" Bebobbie cheerfully explained. Okay, but what keeps the rest of us - those who aren't as enlightened as Yogis, from drifting off into space? Bebobbie lowered her voice and, with more than a little awe, responded, "God's universal will."

So, when the apple fell on Isaac Newton's head?" Bebobbie laughed brightly. "That apple didn't fall, you big silly," she chirped. "It was pushed! By god."

Hitchens shook his head in disbelief. When he was asked why people would turn away from science and towards religion, Hitchens shouted, "They're morons! Idiots! Very, very silly people! People who can't follow a...a simple...you know, a logical, umm..." Argument? "Exactly!"

Isn't it possible that they're searching for answers just as scientists do, but in different places? Hitchens was asked. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeee!" he replied.

On the subject of polls, a rumour has been circulating for years that Fiate-Luxe conducted a poll purporting to show public belief in polling numbers. Alarmingly for the industry, only 12 per cent of respondents "Firmly believed" or "Somewhat believed" in the results of polls.

"It's a myth," responded Pollster Hall of Fame multiple nominee Minnie Maroon. "Never happened. Can you imagine what would happen if we did a poll about the integrity of polls? Then, we'd have to do a poll about the integrity of the poll about the integrity of polling. Then, another poll about the integrity of the poll about the integrity of the poll about the integrity of - you see where this is heading? Infinite survey regression! If anybody did this, the whole structure of pollsters, pundits and politicians would collapse in a heap of incomprehensibility!"

"I like comprehensibility," Bebobbie stated. "It's so much easier to understand."

Hitchens clutched his head and moaned in pain.

Other findings from the Fiat-Luxe survey include: 42 per cent of Americans believe the Earth is flat; 27 per cent of Americans believe that tooth decay is caused by "sin," and; 47 per cent of Americans - that's almost half, people - believe that the sun is pulled around the Earth by a god driving a classic Ford Cadillac.

At this point, Hitchens had a brain aneurysm and had to be rushed to hospital.

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