Jess Murray

Knowledge is the Face of an Armed Robber

CERN hadron collider couch potato dead body james surry knowledge Nutella party rings

For anyone who has lived with me, or spoken to me, or at least read any other column that I’ve written on the Tab, you will know that I love the hypothetical. There is nothing more delightful in life than a sentence beginning with ‘imagine if’, or a quick game of ‘what would you do?’ Today I forced the entire population of our kitchen to imagine the prospect of eating a 500 litre tube of Nutella with a spoon, only for the piece of cutlery to come into contact with my cold, dead body preserved in the thick nutty goo. Spooning deeper, they discover my inanimate face contorted into gasps of pain, my throat swollen with anaphylactic shock. Would they ring the police? Or would they carry on eating, and then report the death only once they’d got their money’s worth?

You wouldn’t actually know what you’d do until you actually faced that situation. But for ten seconds they all became accidental, gastronomical, grave robbers. Now doesn’t that sound fun? But if that became reality, it would perhaps be less fun. Said friend would probably scream, be sick, start to cry and be traumatized for the rest of their life.

Knowledge, fact and reality ruin everything. They are like the people that come to a genuinely fun party, shoot someone in the head at point blank range – brains and party rings everywhere – and then just sort of leave through the front door, shrugging their shoulders. I fucking hate those people.

Remember how exciting the build up to the CERN hadron collider was? No one really had a clue what was going to happen. I could legitimately imagine some grease-stained, overweight, oblivious couch potato sitting there on a pretty standard Thursday, vaguely enjoying Philip Schofield and Fern Britten on ‘This Morning’, only to suddenly be sucked into a black hole and obliterated within a matter of seconds.

Imagine their face in those three seconds: they’d literally have no fucking clue what was going on. What would be their last thoughts before their subatomic matter was torn apart? I was able to imagine those things and no one could ever prove that whatever thoughts I concocted would be incorrect. That was until the hadron collider turned on and it was just one big disappointment. Said hypothetical couch potato just sat through ‘Loose Women’, followed by ‘60 Minute Makeover’, only to flick over to ‘Deal or no Deal’, before taking a nap pre-deal. They ate chicken pie for dinner.

What about a hypothetical wrestling match between Shakespeare and Stone Cold Steve Austin? Shakespeare takes the corner, reeling off line after line of hard hitting sonnet beauty, bringing Steve Austin to tears as he surrenders, holding William’s arm in the air, declaring him the rightful victor through literary genius alone. It’s a beautiful image, but in reality Shakespeare just gets a stone cold stunner in the face and suffers brain trauma.

For many Cantabrigians, knowledge is the ultimate goal. But imagine how boring life would be if you knew everything. You’d have to sit through Star Wars marathons knowing that there was never actually a galaxy a long, long time ago that existed far, far away. Homeopaths would have to get a proper job. ‘Where’s Wally’ would be ‘There’s Wally’.

Whilst knowledge helps us make informed opinions about how we lead our lives, uncertainty is what gives us the motivation to live. If you found out that you were going to be single, lonely and desperate for the rest of your life, I doubt you’d ever have a spring in your step again. And why do you think prisoners on death row look so unhappy all the time? Opening a present isn’t as fun when you already know what you’ve got. Finding out that you were conceived when your dad ejaculated into your mum was pretty bad. Finding out that Dumbledore died at the end of Harry Potter 6 before you actually got round to reading it basically rendered it a doorstop.

Life is about the journey, not the destination. So if you’re spending your days worrying about not having applied for any internships, or that the economy is still looking rough and you still have a shit CV, or that it’s been a year since you last saw a real pair of breasts, then please stop. You’ll never know what lies in store for you, and even if you could, would you really want to know? Anything could happen tomorrow, so get out of bed and enjoy the wonders of uncertainty.