Two red drinks–pure alcohol, with a maraschino cherry–in
the bar next door, deep in the afternoon. While I hide in my
cool corner, admiring the sawdust and the sides of beef, work
is taking place all over the world: diamonds are being quarried,
slaves are sewing dresses, policemen are loading their rifles,
aiming their guns. As for the rest of us (when we’re not
drinking), diligently, we apply ourselves to solving the
problems of the multitudes; diligently, we communicate

our ideas. And here is more to chew on: seventeen rich
grandchildren are coming for lunch tomorrow. Russia awaits,
Africa, the prevention of nuclear war. If I were free, I would
suggest that this is how we do it: more sports, more food.
Certainly, more television. Ducks in funny costumes, wielding
hammers, quacking out a song. That’s how we conquered
Communism: the ducks alone brought down the Berlin wall.

So three drinks later, back in the office, I blast fax out my
manifesto, which is simple: we should all relax. Apparently,
no matter what we do, we already do our part; we balance
the cosmological constant just by getting up in the morning
and smacking around our wives. Isn’t that amazing! And
here’s how it works: according to the anthropic principle,

there could be an infinity of universes: starry bubbles, burning
balls, solid boxes of hard time. You name it and they made it:
some are gelatinous. Some are inside out. But there is one
commonality: none are peopled. None have us. Only the
composition of our universe allows for our existence–in fact,
our presence is required or the whole thing falls apart. So

here’s what I think: what if we all held our breath and stood
sideways in a corner so we couldn’t be found? Our universe
would go wailing through the empty corridors of physics, knocking
over furniture and pictures, searching for its vanished friends.
Afterward, when we said Gotcha! and the universe wept with
relief, we could all sit down for a nice cup of something comfy,
have a heart-to-heart, and someone, somewhere, might wise up.