June 29, 2017
“But doesn’t the Constitution guarantee the right to own a gun?” asked Jillian Hyde, raising her hand but not waiting to be called upon.
“What does that have to do with the Louisiana Purchase?” asked Mrs. Adams. Jillian shrugged.
“I don’t know. I heard you say Constitution, and took it as an opportunity to shoehorn my pet issue into the conversation, because I’m one of those people,” Jillian said. She may not have said it exactly like this, but instead of transcribing whatever bullshit justification she gave for changing the topic, I decided to just dispense with pretenses and write what she really meant.
Mrs. Adams sighed and suddenly became very tired, as we all do when dealing with people who have opinions. “That’s basically right, though there is some controversy on what it means. The Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. Does anyone know what part of the Constitution says this?”
“The Second Commandment?” Jacob said.
“You mean Amendment?”
“Yeah, dude, the second commandment is a religious thing. I think it’s about Machine Gun Jesus,” Rock said.
“Anyway, returning to the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson was conflicted. He recognized the opportunity before him, but didn’t think the Constitution gave him the power to make the decision. He was torn between principle and pragmatism,” Mrs. Adams began, before continuing on to talk about more history stuff.
“Dude, what’s wrong?” Jacob asked Rock. “You look dejected.” Rock looked dejected, by the way.
“Nobody laughed at my joke.”
“You told a joke?”
“Machine Gun Jesus, dude. You don’t think that’s hilarious?”
Jacob shrugged. “As a concept, maybe, but it doesn’t really play out when put into practice. It seems a little forced.”
“Whatever, bro. You know how demoralizing it is to tell a joke and not get laughs? Even Jeff Dunham gets laughs. You don’t even need to be funny.”
“You just have to let it flow organically. You can’t shoehorn the joke in. It sounds forced. Speaking of shoehorning, why the fuck are we talking about abortion now?”
“Carrie Grant brought it up,” Tyson Dechert said, joining Rock and Jacob’s conversation, likely in an attempt to avoid the class conversation where everyone who’s never read the Constitution decides it means whatever the fuck is most convenient for them at the moment.
“What the hell? Is it National Asshole Day?” Jacob said. “Why does every discussion of the Constitution have to turn into a fight?”
“I think it’s because the Constitution is an ambiguous document with several legitimate, differing interpretations,” Tyson said, listening briefly to the class conversation going on behind them. “And a lot of really stupid ones.”
“It’d be nice if we could just go back in time to figure out what the founding fathers were thinking when they drafted it,” Rock said.
Jacob shrugged. “It wouldn’t matter. The fact is, they probably didn’t all agree on what it means either. Those were just the broad principles that they agreed on. If you asked Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to interpret the Constitution, you’d probably get responses as different as those of Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
“I know. I was setting up a plot line.”
“You know, we could go back in time,” Tyson Dechert said. “Come by the science club sometime.”
“Wait, really?” Rock said excitedly.
“Yeah, really? We’re really doing a time travel bit? Isn’t that a little worn out?” Jacob objected.
Tyson shrugged. “Not a bit so much as a convenient way to shoehorn in various bits at different parts of history.”
“You can really do that?” Rock said. “You can really travel through time?”
“Sure. It’s just another dimension, like space. People used to travel all the time through space, time, you know, whatever. But then people started making all these stupid time paradox movies, so NASA cut the funding. A couple of Congressmen went to see Interstellar some Friday night and were like, ‘nope, fuck this.’ They cut the funding for it the next day, but the fact is you can move through time as easily as you can move through any dimension of space.”
“Really?” Jacob said. “Then why can’t I just step back two seconds like I can move two feet to the right?”
Tyson shrugged, which seems to be his go to move. “Same reason you can’t move higher or lower at will. You are being pulled through time the same way you are being pulled to the earth.”
“But you have a way of breaking that?”
“Sure. Stop by sometime. I’ll show you.”
“Yeah, we will,” Jacob said. “Sometime. You know, when it’s convenient.”