Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sean Tabb: Newton’s Laws of Motion (Unabridged)

Newton’s First Law of Motion (aka The Law of Inertia)

Objects in motion remain in motion at more or less the same speed and in the same direction unless/until they encounter an external obstacle or force that knocks them on their ass. Objects at rest are either inanimate, dead, or have a lot more leisure time than you do.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion (aka F=MA)

Acceleration is realized when a force (energy) acts upon a mass (object). The greater the mass of the object being accelerated, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object. Now we’re getting algebraic. Now we’re putting alphabet letters into numeric equations. If you’re intimidated by such things, this would probably be a good time to make yourself scarce. By the logic of the Second Law, the Second Law itself would be defined as the Force that acted upon a Mass (i.e. your algebra-addled brain) causing it to Accelerate (i.e. down to the corner pub for a beer).

Newton’s Third Law of Motion (aka Costanza’s Law)

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if there’s a particular outcome you seek, and you know that your actions toward achieving that outcome will result in reactions opposite the intended result (for that is what the Third Law prescribes), then clearly the workaround solution is to DO THE OPPOSITE. If action results in opposite reaction, then doing the opposite will result in a favorable outcome. This is an especially useful tactic in matters of love, child-rearing, and domestic disputes involving dishwashers and laundry.

Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Coitus Non-Interruptus)

Objects that are rocking (i.e. a customized 1975 Chevy Van with curtained windows and kick-ass, airbrushed art featuring scantily clad women floating in space) should not be disturbed (i.e. knocked upon).

Newton’s Fifth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Post-Ablutionary Exsiccation)

After bathing, do not attempt to dry off like a dog. Vigorous shaking of this nature will result in painful and embarrassing compression of the cervical vertebrae. Use a towel instead.

Newton’s Sixth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Book Boxes & Major Appliances)

Lift with your back, not your legs.

Newton’s Seventh Law of Motion (aka The Law of Centrifugal Force)

Refrain from eating corn dogs before going on amusement park rides.

Newton’s Eighth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Friction)

When applying your hand in a petting or stroking motion, it is best and least resistant to move in the direction of the surface grain. This applies in situations as diverse as wood-polishing, affection towards cats, and the grating of parmesan cheese.

Newton’s Ninth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Screws)

Righty-loosey, lefty-tighty. If that doesn’t work, refer to Law of Motion #3.

Newton’s Tenth Law of Motion (aka The Law of Grace)

When slipping on the ice, try and make it look purposeful, as if you were suddenly, irresistibly possessed by the desire to practice your funkiest dance moves. Strangers and random passers-by will be impressed by your spirit and childlike spontaneity. When you get home, take two ibuprofen.

There’s a pretty good chance that Sean Tabb resembles the guy your sister dated in college. He gets that a lot. There’s an almost equally good chance that he DID date your sister in college, and just doesn’t remember. He does his parenting, husbanding, living and writing from his home in Portland, Maine. Check out his website at, or follow his drivel on Twitter at


  1. If anybody wants to hear my 45-minute rant about how centrifugal force doesn't exist, please give me a call. I'm certain you all want to hear from an insufferable physics major. (I understand this is a humor piece. I also understand that I'm a humorless piece of shit.)

  2. This is so great. Must share with my science teacher husband.

  3. Oh, it made my whole day to see someone had given this theme a spin in this direction. BRILLIANT WORK, SIR!

  4. Thanks all. I would have gone on, but Newton's Eleventh Law of Motion involves a ballerina, a donkey and a box of ping pong balls, and well let's just say it's NSFAnyone. Newton's Twelfth through Twentieth Laws of Motion were only proven once before an audience, after which an entire troup of Russian circus performers were arrested for indecency. Those Laws have have since been banned in 132 countries and several outlying solar systems.