Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives
NOTE: I’ll be working late into the night on Thursday. Won’t have any free time to make a Friday post. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
I’m a fan of the alt/indie/rock band the Eels. I was first turned on to them in the 90′s with the release of their amazing album Beautiful Freak. The Eels have a knack for making some of the most beautifully depressing music in the world. In fact, one of my 100 favorite songs is “Agony” off of their album Shootenanny!. With so much introspective sadness it’s a wonder it doesn’t wear off on the listeners.
Before I continue, I must insist that you listen to “Agony” (you can stream the song from here). I’ll wait while you gather your nooses, razor blades, and sleeping pills, settle down in the most acute corner of the nearest dark room, and let the blissful misery of this song soak deep into your bones.
Okay, you done? Great. Let’s continue…
So anyway, as I was wrapping up a bit of e-mail late one night recently I happened upon a show on KPBS where I swore I heard an Eels song playing in the background. On the screen was a bearded guy smoking a cigar on a park bench. He was talking about his father and how important it was to finally get to know him years after his death. After a few minutes of trying to make sense of this show I flipped the channel, not knowing that what I was watching was Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer of the Eels, talking about his late father, who just happened to have been a genius and mathematically conceived one of the most bizarre theories of quantum mechanics; what he proposed was the “Many Worlds” theory, predicting that multiple parallel worlds existed beyond our own.
As I came to understand the importance of what I had missed when I so blithely turned the channel, that this show not only centered on the lead singer of a brilliant band, but also on the almost unbelievable fact that his father was such an iconic figure in science, I silently cursed myself and immediately began to scour the internet to purchase a copy of this NOVA production.
Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives follows Mark Everett as he travels the country to discover the father that he never knew. Along the way his father’s theories are explored and explained, life lessons long since hidden away in dark cupboards and discarded boxes are uncovered, revelations are made, and an unfortunately ignored genius is finally given the exposure and appreciation it deserves.
Call me odd, but I enjoy stories like these. With a running time at just under an hour, it’s easy enough to absorb, and it’s fascinating enough that you’ll want to share it with others.