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The Law Of Cartoons
Cartoon Law I:

Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.

Example: Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius, steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, he prods the thin air with his toes, and begins falling.


Cartoon Law II:

Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.


Cartoon Law III:

Any body passing through solid matter will leave a hole matching its outline.

Also called the "Silhouette of Passage", this phenomenon is the specialty of victims of direct-pressure explosions and reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.


Cartoon Law IV:

The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.

Such an object is always priceless, and the attempt to catch it inevitably unsuccessful.


Cartoon Law V:

Shock = Antigravity

Any sudden shock to a body, such as a spooky noise, a sharp point applied to a posterior, or a hotfoot, will induce motion upward, often to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground.


Cartoon Law VI:

As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.

This relativistic effect is easily seen in tooth and claw fights, in which a character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously.

There are two leading theories of this phenomenon: The Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics postulates that several virtual copies appear from parallel universes, and disappear within a time inversely proportional to their mass. Relativists propose that a single object has its worldline folded over several times, so that in the observer's frame there can be many objects at any given time, but in the object's proper frame, there is only one object. This destroys the Newtonian concept of simultaneity.

Theorists also disagree on what the limiting speed is. Some say it is the speed of light, but others claim that it is the frame speed.


Cartoon Law VII:

Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances, others cannot.

This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately the problem of art, not science.


Cartoon Law VIII:

A violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.

Some cats are capable of even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordian-pleated, spindled or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few seconds of blinking self-pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.

Corollary: A cat will assume the shape of its container.


Cartoon Law IX:

Everything falls faster than an anvil.

Corollary: Somebody will always fall under an anvil befroe it hits the ground.


Cartoon Law X:

For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.

This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck.

Experimentally disproved by Rob Reid, who hardly ever gets enough revenge. Before you quibble that I may not be a cartoon character, consider that Wile E. never gets the Roadrunner, and Sylvester never gets Tweetybird, even though they richly deserve it.


Cartoon Law XI:

Gravity is transmitted by slow moving waves of large wavelength.

Their operation can be witnessed by observing the behavior of a canine suspended over a large vertical drop. It's feet will begin to fall first, causing it's legs to stretch. As the wave reaches it's torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to stretch. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will resume it's regular proportions until such a time as it strikes the ground.


Cartoon Law XII:

Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries. They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.


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