By Mark Crantz
The other day I went for a walk. There was a time I’d go out for a run. Those days are behind me. My old pins just aren’t up to it. But I’m happy to report I can still walk and chew gum at the same time. So, picture me multi-tasking around the intersection of Coast Highway and Diamond Street. Then it happens. I find myself standing on one leg at the trolley stop trying to get my gum off my other tennis shoe. Next thing I know, I lose my balance and plop un-yoga like onto the trolley stop bench. Geez, walking and chewing gum isn’t so easy. But then again, give me a break. It was my first time in a long time. I’m sure walking and chewing gum is like riding a bike. You never forget. Can’t wait to try bike riding and chewing gum. What could possibly go wrong?
Having successfully freed my shoe from the gum, I had two thoughts back to back. One I sat there feeling sorry for my old pins because the trolleys aren’t running. Damn that thoughtless virus, the trolley would be a nice smooth ride over these hills, instead of having to hump over them at an old guy’s pace while muttering to oneself “Next stop. Pearly Gates.” My second thought was how was I going to get my gum off my hand while saving my other hand from humiliation.
That’s when looking at my hands I saw the answer was at hand. In fact it was just across the street. Project Scientist… it was a new business. I remembered reading in the Indy several months ago that the Laguna Chamber of Commerce held a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony for them. Couldn’t remember much more. So I conjured up my phone’s Goggle cheat sheet and read, “Project Scientist aims to expose girls to a fun learning environment that emphasizes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts, generating confidence in their ability to succeed in traditionally male-dominated fields.” Sounded inspiring, so I took my gum-encrusted hands, both now afflicted, across to the girl scientists for what I hoped was a scientific miracle.
Knock. Knock. “Hello girl scientists are you in there?” There was no answer. That’s not good. And worse, now I had gum on the scientists’ door. Where was everybody? I was beginning to panic. The gum had spread to my phone and I was literally stuck on Project Scientist for good. There was no going to other Google scientist searches on pages 2 to infinity. Then the “What-ifs” set in. What if the girl scientists first lab experiment was invisibility. Perhaps they succeeded and were actually in there, but I couldn’t see them. Now I was more worried about them being rescued than getting the stickiness off my face where the gum had now spread. Then I had a welcomed epiphany. I was just early. The girl scientists hadn’t gotten around to experiment two or becoming visible again. So I waited and waited and waited for the scientific method to kick in.
Crantz tells the Indy that the girl scientists reappeared several days after his wife got him and his gum separated from one another. Both experiments ended successfully.