Potential Energy -The Human KindMonday, February 07, 2011
With the use of statistics one can predict the possibility that the wrench you see here which is lying on my scanner glass could in a near or far off future, suddenly become heavy enough (or the glass become weak enough) the wrench would crash through. At the moment of my scan, gravity pulled on the wrench which reacted by exerting a force in the opposite direction and thus it stays on the glass without moving.
I have always been fascinated by potential energy. It is easy to understand that a piece of very dry wood has stored in it 8600Btus of chemical energy. All you need is a match to prove it.
The idea of potential energy has been in my mind of late as I attempt to find former classmates from my school years at St. Edward’s High School. The school (now only a university) is holding an all year’s reunion at the end of May. I am attempting to help to make sure that this event brings as many people as possible.
A few days ago I located a former classmate, Arthur Buell Hiatt. I was told that he likes to keep to himself. He is living in Austin and has not seen his former roommate from the University of Texas since the mid 70s. His friend (also a former classmate at the high school) and Arthur Hiatt spent almost two years as roommates.
Arthur’s former roommate explained to me that Arthur Hiatt was probably as reclusive as he himself is and he is not really interested in meeting up with him. I was left perplexed by the explanation.
If I were in Austin I would go to Arthur Hiatt’s house and ring the bell. I have not seen him since we graduated in 1961. I would say hi and then I would attempt to hug him. To date Arthur Hiatt has not returned my call. That perplexes me, too.
Why is this?
Consider this last incredible paragraph of a review of Stefan Kanfer’s (I was a fan of Kanfer in the 60s and 70s when he was a columnist/writer for Time Magazine) biography, The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart in this past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review. The writer, Holly Brubach (writes frequently for the NY Times) says:
Bogart’s appeal was and remains completely adult – so adult it’s hard to imagine he was ever young. If men who take responsibility are hard to come by in films these days, it’s because they’re hard to come by, period, in an era when being a kid for life is the ultimate achievement, and “adult” as it pertains to film is just a euphemism for pornography.
That paragraph is reinforced by the beautiful photograph of a young man. I showed it to Rosemary and I asked her if she knew who it was. She did not know and was surprised when I told her it was Bogart.
I would show the picture here but I am not in any desire to be sued by the folks of Getty Images who are currently attempting to secure all rights to the images of Jahweh, all the angels, the saints, including St. Augustine and even his mother Monica.
The lovely picture of Bogart does not reveal anything of the potential that was certainly in him to be whom he became and whom we love and respect now.
By a coincidence the three of us, Arthur Hiatt, his UT roommate Howard Houston and I are on the same page of our 1961 yearbook, The Edwardian.
If I could I would show you a picture of the dashing Howard Houston outside his F-5 fighter in which he trained to be a pilot and then flew many missions in Viet Nam as a KC-135 tanker pilot. You who read this blog know that I eventually became a magazine photographer. But what of Arthur B. Hiatt? What became of him? What was his potential? The three pictures of us in the yearbook are really no different than a picture of three pieces of firewood, all chemical potential energy in BTUs!
To me there must be a curiosity inherent in all of us to want to discover the potential that became a reality in those that passed through our lives and in some ways left us with something of themselves.
When I do go to Austin, Texas at the end of May, I willl go to Arthur Hiatt’s house and ring the bell.