Friday, December 19, 2014

The Infinity Scarf

by Mord Fiddle

The other day I heard someone say that they wanted an infinity scarf for Christmas and was immediately intrigued.

As the names of things go ‘infinity scarf’ is pretty wicked.  I immediately imagined something like a wearable TARDIS or Infinite Improbability Drive. Or perhaps a means of accessing alternate time streams running in parallel with our own.  In terms of ‘look’ I imagined the scarf in a constant state of flux, its warp and weft giving off ominous metallic flickers as an infinite array of possibilities and nascent realities manifested themselves across its surface.

Imagine my disappointment.

In what universe do you sew the ends of a scarf together to make a circle and then modify the name of this mundane and unimaginative scrap of cloth with an adjective as wild and stuffed with possibilities as ‘infinity’?   This is a moral outrage; a cruel ‘bait and switch’ scam.  It was like hearing about Santa Claus for the first time and then, just when your heart was filled with innocent delight, being told “Oh, by the way, there ain’t no such person and it’s all a marketing ploy”.  The bastards! 

I mean, maybe if they made one using a really cool electric blue fabric and printed it with Eucliud’s Proof of the Infinitude of Primes I could allow points for whimsy.  But no. The so-called infinity scarf is so pedestrian, so relentlessly dull and boring that the guys at Think-Geek and Forbidden Planet wouldn’t touch it with a four-meter light saber.

The only solution now is to get it into a decent work of science fiction and redeem the name before it is indelibly tainted by association with a flash-in-the-pan wearable one is later embarrassed to admit one owns; on par with the dickey, the snuggly and the ascot.  Gaimen might be able to help.  Or maybe Aliette de Bodard who is, I understand, between projects and in the mood for something short and fun. If all else fails I could take a cut at it myself.  Hmmm.  Maybe a theme anthology – a collection of short stores based on an impossible scarf knit up from the stuff of the infinite.

I suppose it is a bit mad, setting your heart on something so unlikely even for a moment.  My inner curmudgeon should normally have kicked in ahead of time, dashing any surge of wide-eyed anticipation with a cold bucket of past precedent.  After all, what was I expecting?  And the answer is, I suppose, that this is the time of year for unfettered dreaming, when my more jaded self steps back and gives my inner innocent the window seat that looks out on the world.  

And in such dreams, I might just wear infinity on my shoulders.

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