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Moving or standing still, inertia can get you
by Gene Owens

The Sandlapper Sentinel, in a preview to the recent Georgia-South Carolina football game, observed that the Bulldogs, having won their first two games, would have to “maintain their inertia” if they expected to defeat the Gamecocks.

Floyd read that one again.

“Seems to me that if the Bulldogs go into the game with inertia, the Gamecocks are going to sink their spurs into them,” he said.

Bubba thought about that a moment. “Inertia” has one meaning in ordinary prose and another when you’re talking physics.

The garden-variety definition is “inability or unwillingness to move or act.” Had the Bulldogs gone into the game with that kind of inertia, the Gamecocks would have left dog fur all over the hedges at Sanford Stadium.

But in physics, “inertia” means the tendency to keep doing what you’re already doing. If a body is moving fast, it continues to move fast. If it’s sitting still, it continues to sit still. So if the Bulldogs had been mowing down the opposition, that kind of inertia would have enabled them to continue mowing it down.

“How did the game turn out?” Bubba asked Floyd after coming home from fishing that Saturday afternoon.

“Bulldogs 31, Gamecocks 7,” said Floyd. “I reckon the Dawgs had been studying their physics.”

“They also had momentum,” said Bubba.

“They’d better have plenty of momentum when they play LSU on the Bayou next Saturday,” said Homer.

“I hope they show up with lots of inertia,” said Sligo Fideaux.

“They may show up with both,” said Bubba. “And that could spell trouble for the Tigers.”


Ye Editor says, "Can you think of a better way to learn English grammar?"

Read more of Gene's entertaining columns:
A Tribute to Johnny Cash
Roy Moore at the Courthouse Door
All about Gene and Greasepit Grammar
Greasepit Grammar: Misplaced modifiers

If you have questions for Bubba, send them to Gene Owens at 1004 Cobbs Glen Drive, Anderson SC 29621 or e-mail him at genepegg@bellsouth.net


Gene Owens has been around the Southern journalistic scene for 48 years. He has been senior associate editor of The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., and editorial-page editor of the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Va.

As senior editor for Creative Services, a management consulting firm in High Point, N. C., he ghosted more than a dozen published books for professional clients. For the past nine years he has been assistant managing editor, political editor and columnist for the Mobile Register. Register readers last year named him their favorite local columnist, and readers of the independent regional magazine, Bay Weekly, agreed. He was runner-up in the regional Green Eyeshades competition among writers of humor columns.

He has been on the board of directors of the National Conference of Editorial Writers and was editor of The Masthead, the NCEW’s national quarterly. He recently went into semi-retirement in Anderson, S. C.

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