Dear C.F.,

My physics professor tells me that you are the one responsible for holding my car in place while rounding a curve; I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but I need all the help I can get! As you know, I tend to take the off-ramps with a bit too much speed, never heeding the warnings carefully calculated on your behalf, taking for granted your unceasing efforts to corral the various forces at work on my car as you gently coax them toward center, like a mother pulling a child firmly into her bosom. All these years, you have kept me from becoming tangential—so please, let me take this opportunity to say thanks.

One tiny question, though: aren’t you supposed to be involved with all instances of movement around a circle? In that case, where were you that time I fell off the carousel in Lakeview Park? I skinned my knee pretty bad that day, you know.

I asked my professor about this, and he blamed the unfortunate event on something called “centrifugal force.” Is this true? I understand it to be something akin to your archenemy, a treacherous beast existing only to thwart your valiant attempts to secure us in our orbital endeavors. You pull and it pushes—and sometimes it wins. A classic battle between good and evil! (With you, of course, having claim to the former category.)

Can’t you do something about this? I know that you are probably very busy with all your corralling and pulling and whatnot, but may I suggest some kind of compromise? If Centrifugal Force is truly “center-fleeing,” as they say, then why not just let him go? Release your undoubtedly well-meaning grip and set him free to blow the remainder of his restless energy escaping your magnetic embrace, making room for the rest of us, who are more than happy to take advantage of your presence. Why not give it a try?

If you are not convinced, let me assure you that this approach certainly seemed to work for my mother.

Just a thought,
Christina Roux