by Karen Topakian
My sister is a firm believer in The Law of Conservation of Matter. That matter can be neither created nor destroyed.
When we were children, my mother would occasionally announce at the dinner table that one of her friends had successfully lost 10 pounds. With a fork full of rice pilaf suspended in mid air, my sister would interrupt to ask who gained it. In her opinion, when one person lost weight, i.e. matter, someone else must have gained it. She was merely applying the law.
Lately my sister’s been the victim of her own theory. A thin person all of her life, she’s been working out at the gym, lifting weights and speeding up her heart rate. For the first time, she’s gaining weight.
Desperate to know whose pounds she’s accumulating, she looked to the other women at her gym. Was it the young woman next to her on the treadmill? Or the newest member of her weight lifting class? Everyone was a suspect. She couldn’t rest until she uncovered the culprit.
One day while chatting on the phone with her, I innocently announced that my partner had just reached her goal weight at Weight Watchers. “It’s hers,” my sister cried into the phone. “I’ve gained her weight.”
I doubted my sister’s application of this bedrock scientific theory until I read a recent Norwegian study that concluded that the oldest sibling would have a higher IQ than the younger ones. Since she is my senior by two years and three months, she must be right.