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What goes up . . .

ONE of the few things I learned in school which I felt I could depend upon through the years was the law of gravity. Now, I find, they want to change it. If one can't believe in Newton, Galileo, and Einstein anymore, where can one turn for wisdom? Dan Rather? Bill Buckley? The Jackson Five? There are so few things one can feel secure about today that they ought to leave the law of gravity alone.

I remember so well my grammar school class when these wonders of physics were first revealed to me. An apple fell out of a tree, I read, and hit Isaac Newton on the head. ``Ouch,'' said Isaac Newton. Picking up the apple, he regarded it. ``Why did not the apple fall upwards?'' Well, we know the answer. He decided it was because of the law of gravity. The gravitation of the earth pulled things toward it.

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There were things about the law of gravity which gave me a few secret doubts. That was because Galileo mucked things up, throwing stuff off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to prove everything dropped at the same rate of speed. I always maintain that a penny would fall to earth at the same rate of speed as a 10-ton truck, but only because of my respect for education.

Things have gone topsy-turvy now. The law of gravity has been technically repealed. Newspapers are reporting new laws of ``hypercharge'' and ``electromagnetism.'' They are monkey wrenches thrown into gravity's finely geared machinery. No longer do things fall to earth at exactly the same speed.

Since the 16th century, the law of gravity has been working perfectly. And I learned as a boy the words of wisdom pronounced to me by an old mechanic: ``If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'' We have gotten along without hypercharge so far, so who needs it?

It has been a great balm of reassurance for me to see apples still falling out of trees in the prescribed manner, and I am ever so grateful for the truism ``What goes up must come down,'' even though some of my tennis lobs tend to challenge it.

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