Schrödinger’s Cat – a Valentine’s Day Story about Life, the Universe and Footy

“Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935.[1] It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.” Wikipedia


In the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory the story of the cat is used to explain the potential relationship between the two protagonists Leonard and Penny. They won’t know if the cat is breathing unless they go on a date…


What has this to do with football?


Quite a bit.


Instead of using it to explain the Collingwood situation as I have done recently, one can extrapolate this to any given contest. For instance, last year Richmond opened the box and got a date with the lovely Penny. Adelaide was left with a smelly dead cat. One could reasonably say that Bartlett, Hopkins, Jesaulenko, Harmes and Akermanis tore open the box and threw the dead moggie at Collingwood’s feet.


One of the good things about the Footy Almanac is the gentility of the place. Sniping and rudeness is rightfully frowned upon. So we can reminisce, even about yuk, Carlton, provided the sarcasm is kept to a minimum.


Not so other forums out there. Feeling political differences in my local footy website, I ventured further afield, and found the world of Fan Fiction ( It was wonderful. Want to know what happened to Scarlett and Rhett or Elizabeth and Darcy? Look no further. Fan Fiction even drives the movies – the famous naughty bits novel 50 Shades of Grey is actually Fan Fiction from the novel/movie Twilight.


I went to the Pride and Prejudice Fan Fiction site – great stuff, tales of derring-do from Colonel Fitzwilliam; an uneasy alliance between Darcy and Wickham as they scour the gambling dens of London looking for a different scoundrel. Good clean fun.


But over at The Big Bang Theory fan fiction site the atmosphere is reminiscent of the big punch up between Hawthorn and Geelong of 1985. Indeed Peter McKenna’s awkward interview with Allan Jeans sort of sums up the exchanges over there. You see, there are people over there called Shennys who want to break up the two relationships on the show between Leonard and Penny, and Sheldon and Amy.  They then want their two favourites, Sheldon and Penny, to pair up, leaving the other two halves of the foursome to be alone and miserable – because they believe they deserve it, and because they hate them. The Shennys have even heckled Chuck Lorre, the creator of the show, at fan conventions, because he dismissed their view.


Bear in mind these are fictional characters. The world won’t end because fictional Amy and Leonard have their hearts broken. Will getting rejected by his dad on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, while heartbreaking, is small potatoes compared to the real struggles of real people with our real parents. Why should I care?


Well, silly me, I weighed into the argument, pointing out that Sheldon was a type called “the Kramer”, a self-centred jackass with a combined ego of Warwick Capper and Peter Bosustow, that everyone has to tiptoe around. Leonard, on the other hand was the brave little tailor, like Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse. Mr Darcy is a Sheldon, who must seek redemption for his pride, as is Mr Scrooge. My best bit was this:


“Anyway getting back to my Sheldon-like facts: do you know that in the early ’60s, the Kramer/Sheldon character was a horse? It’s TRUE! Like Sheldon, Mr Ed was a smart, self-centred egomaniac whose schemes were always causing trouble for the long suffering Leonard character, his owner, Wilbur. Mr Ed even trolled Clint Eastwood because he didn’t like his horse (another stallion).


And to make it even more bizarre, Wilbur had an attractive blonde wife called Carol! In this Universe there are many Sheldons…”


What I got from this was a torrent of personal abuse. I responded to one of them sarcastically, then apologised and got the heck out of there. One accused me of being “mentally retarded LOL”. The joke’s on you, son, one of us has a degree in English literature, and I doubt it’s you…


Leonard and Penny’s tortured romance and marriage, between two flawed individuals, is one of the more realistic relationships on television, a medium where loving, long term relationships are thin on the ground and the usual one is two spouses screaming at each other, Lucy and Ricky style. Gentlemen can empathise with Leonard’s growing confidence with the ladies, while ladies can empathise with Penny’s journey to find a decent man after she found her loser boyfriend in bed with another woman. After all, the most loving relationship on TV belongs to two escapees from a B grade horror flick – Gomez and Morticia Addams. Why Leonard and Penny’s marriage should create such hostility in fan land is odd. The hostility does not happen nearly as much on other fan sites.


Getting back to the footy, we are all looking at that box, all hoping that round one will produce that magical date, rather than a dead cat. Sadly, half of us will be disappointed. Good luck to all footy fans and all fan fiction writers.


In this universe there are many Sheldons, from the benign, the delightful Temperance Brennan, to the malevolent – Basil Fawlty and Tony Hancock. But surely there is an alternative reality where God smites Ted Hopkins (Excuse Me – I Did That for You In 1935 with Bob Pratt. Sorry, only one per century. Be not covetous. Sincerely, God)


Note: I must point out that like the fan fiction writers I don’t own The Big Bang Theory or the characters. Nor do I have any ownership of the other TV shows or characters that I have quoted in my story, such as Mr Ed.

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