The mechanics of time

Ever wondered how it is that time is so regular? It’s because, armed with an Avo meter, oily rag and universal socket set, these guys do regular checks. The reason you’ve never been aware of this is that they can only safely do the checks while time itself is switched off, which means that events are no longer separated in time, so your memory can’t reconstruct them . . .


We’ve found some leaky wormholes in the warp and weft of space
Where space-time’s vast continuum needs tweaking.
To mend a thing like that, you’ve got to switch it off, in case
You get your wires all crossed, celestially speaking.

So time will stop for maintenance at ten o’clock tonight;
We’ll get it fixed and working just like new.
And, ’cos we’re conscientious, just to make sure it’s all right,
We’ll do a routine service on it, too.

You’ll have to leave us to it as we go about our task,
But one thing we should mention, to be fair:
Your lives will have to stop. Now surely that’s not much to ask?
It is? Why, were you going anywhere?

Now look: this work’s essential, so you’d better change your tone.
It’s no more than a minor irritation.
The universe is cracking up, and all you do is moan!
You ought to give us more co-operation.

You won’t remember anything, it won’t leave any trace.
Your memory’s a sequential-time machine.
It’s time alone that separates what’s happening in space;
Without it, you can’t sense the changing scene.

We’ve switched off many times before, in quite a similar way ­–
You’ll find our detailed records clearly chart ’em.
So why the fuss? Could it be this: did we forget to say
We’ll stop your lives…and then, of course, re-start ’em?

[Images: soompi.com; Wikimedia; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]
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