Thank God It’s a Half

I couldn’t miss this “Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful” for I wanted to share a joke relevant to this blog, and the Challenge as well. A joke about gratitude, science, religion and life in-between. Life, which happens to be governed by laws of physics and moral principles.

Those who revolt against the former are the ones given Darwin Awards, posthumously. The Church (any branch of it) believes those who rebel against the latter would face unpleasantries after the show’s over and the eternally endless second act of their existence begins.

I pity those who attempt to put a fight to both. Clasping the bulky Darwin Award under one’s arm  while swimming over the River Styx to the gates of hell is not at all convenient. There’s rumoured to be a boat there, but I am sure it doesn’t let such guys on board. Not even for a Russian-sized bribe.

Now, why this joke is relevant to this blog. I am writing a post about religious paintings which in the contemporary art world are seen as something “outdated”, belonging to the past, to art history. Religious themes are dismissed by artists. It’s the age of quantum physics, voyages to Mars, blogging and facepalming. Sorry, facebooking. Well, maybe it is. But think about the distantly remote possibility that there’s no internet in hell. Yes, hellboys can also go with the times. Does it make you shudder?

This joke is a reminder that there are two groups of laws, and that the religious theme in art is still very relevant, whether you are a religious person or not.


An aspiring PhD in Physics has been hit by a car while crossing the road. People rush to help him. After the chorus of “Are you all right?” (of course he isn’t) he briefly gains consciousness, his eyes flutter and he whispers, “OH, THANK YOU, GOD ALMIGHTY, IT’S ONLY A HALF!” and then he blacks out again.

“What is only a half?” cries out the crowd, while the more professional of them bring the scientist back to his senses. “A half of what?”, people keep wondering, and who wouldn’t: maybe it’s important. The medics arrive, the guy’s consciousness is back, but the crowd is eager to find out, “A half of what?”

“A half of the mass multiplied by velocity squared”  feebly mumbles the scientist before the medics take him away.

Explanation for those who played hooky when they had physics at school:

The kinetic energy is equal to the mass multiplied by the square of the speed, multiplied by the constant 1/2. In formula form:

E_k =\tfrac{1}{2} mv^2

where m is the mass and v is the speed (or the velocity) of the body, in our case, the car. Were it not divided by 2, the scientist – in all probability – won’t make it.

There can be a time when we better be grateful to someone who is above Max Planck, even if some of us majored in quantum physics.

It would be grand to hear from you now!

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