Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.
~Kurt Vonnegaut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-dance with Death

A dream it’s true but I’d see it through
If I could be wasting my time with you
~Phish, Waste

I once had a shiny red 20Q ball in my possession. For those unfamiliar, it’s a handheld computer devoted to playing the game of 20 questions. The ball attempts to “guess” what the human player is thinking. Its consistent accuracy affected me so much that I became intent on outsmarting it.

Image borrowed from Amazon.com

20Q belonged to a guy I’d been seeing for a couple months. He also affected me quite a bit. Neither of us was looking for something serious, but we’d nevertheless reached a point where we were mutually acknowledging how frighteningly blissful and comfortable we felt together. Balanced. Although I was too busy enjoying the time we were wasting together to start analyzing it much, it had begun to feel like the love that I wanted but but was not searching for.

One evening after learning that he bought me a We Add Up t-shirt at his employer’s sustainability event, I wondered if 20Q could figure out that I was thinking of Love. If I believed in the idea of receiving signs from a higher power, I might have put my faith in that little piece of artificial intelligence to deliver a definitive answer.

we add up
The back of the shirt explains that: “No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.”

Answering some of these questions was easy.

–Animal, vegetable, mineral, or other? –Other
–Can you find it at a store? -No
–Can you take it with you? -Yes

Other questions required responses more akin to the tentative ones that new lovers utter when they brush up against the deeper topics of closeness and commitment.

–Is it bigger than a bread box? -Sometimes
–Does it have sound? -Sometimes
–Can you buy it? -Sometimes

After 20 nonsensical answers like this, I almost expected smoke to start spewing from its crevices. I also couldn’t help but wonder if the interrogation would produce the result of 42. Although most people, even those oriented toward numbers and unambiguous logical answers, would insist that Love cannot possibly be quantified, I’m not convinced. In fact, I’m working on a challenge to that notion.

The ball dramatically displayed a series of beeps and flashing lights, and then, on the tiny digital screen was its conclusion:


The damn ball was right again. Love is Everything. And Everything is Beautiful.

<3,C – 20170904

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