“Grace,” I said quietly, standing up from my chair. “Your ball is going straight into the gutter.”
Grace shrugged. “I know.”
“Well, did you know that there is an easy way to ensure that you knock down all the pins every time?” I said, life returning to my voice. Grace stared at me blankly, so I continued. “See, it all depends on your direction of initial force and direction of action. Right now, your direction of initial force is at an angle such that your ball inevitably goes into the gutter. But,” I said, and here I approached the lane and demonstrated with my arms, “if you were to release the ball along a line parallel to the gutter, then all your force would be focused on sending the ball straight towards the pins.” I mimicked this movement with my hands. “Now all that matters is the vertical impetus that you will give to the ball. This can be calculated through simple trigonometry. But since we want the ball to go straight and far, I estimate that an angle of negative forty-five degrees will deliver good results.”
I grabbed Grace’s bowling ball and, feeling its weight, hypothesized the amount of force that would be needed. Then I swung my right hand back and, after taking a few steps forward, brought my hand forward in a perfectly straight line and let go. The ball eventually collided with the middle pin, sending all of them to the ground. I couldn’t help smiling.
“Okay, now why don’t you t–,” I began, turning back to Grace. But I stumbled to a halt when I saw the anger painted across her face.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked, her words clipped, all trace of a song gone from her voice.
“What do you mean?”
She blew up her bangs with a puff of air. “Why are you trying to turn this into something that is about physics?”
“I’m not trying, I mean …,” I trailed off, her sudden seriousness making it hard for me to think. “Bowling is about phys–”
“No!” she almost yelled, pointing her finger at me. “No, it doesn’t have to be. But that’s just the first thing you think of, isn’t it?”
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