Relativity Solves DMV Wait Time

Vienna, Austria–We all know how long we or our friends have had to wait in line at the Division of Motor Vehicles. Whether it was to get your license (renewed) or to change your address because your mother was right about how you can’t keep still for one second, we all know that moment where we enter the building and receive that lotto-esque ticket with a big number that says “507” while the number on the screen says “12.” As it turns out, Austrian theoretical physicist and Waiting-In-Lines enthusiast Dr. Halbert Einszweidrei has solved the mystery behind the government’s greatest torture device yet (And yes, the DMV was listed among the devices in the CIA Torture Report released last December).

For those of you who are “scientifically challenged,” basically one of the biggest aspects of the theory of relativity is the notion that if we travel fast enough, time will slow down. If you reach the speed of light, time will stop. That is why we have the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun!” When you are finally enjoying life for once, your mind is racing with happiness to the point where your current activity (cue another common phrase) is “lighting up your world.” This is the moment where you have reach the mental speed of light and time stops for you. One would think that this would defeat the meaning of the initial phrase. This is true, but only for those involved in the fun. For everyone else enduring life like they are supposed to, time is moving at the regular rate. So when the fun-lovers come back to reality and look at a clock, they realize how much time passed in the real world and are now late for their daughter’s piano recital (In a separate study, Dr. Einszweidrei explains how fun leads to bad parenting).

The revolutionary discovery of the correlation between fun and time is able to be reverse-engineered to explain the DMV. Normally a physicist will tell you there is no such thing as a negative speed. “We express it that way,” Dr. Einszweidrei, “but only to express a direction. And to screw with undergrads. But in terms of magnitude, speed is only 0 or some positive number. Now, I could go into imaginary speed, but it is not relevant to the DMV unless it involves a person over 65 in line to get his driving license for the first time.”

If there was such thing as negative speed, one could argue that it would, by reverse Relativity logic, give one a perspective of time sped up. I say “if,” but should Dr. Einszweidrei’s theories prove true, there very well could be such thing as negative speed. This is what occurs with a mixture of boredom and massive amounts of grandmother’s “exotic” perfume from “Botswana”. Seriously, if the latter ingredient doesn’t exist, you probably didn’t have “the worst time of your life.” That’s right, Jerry. I remember you. In any case, the boredom distracts you from the real world, while the perfume distracts you from the distraction and reverses the effect triggered when you’re having fun. This speeds up time for you, turning an hour in your perceived time into five minutes in real time.

The relative vs. actual time difference has a much more mathematical calculation involving the amount of boredom and how many grandmas are in the DMV at once, though Dr. Einszweidrei is still waiting on a fortune cookie’s lotto numbers to let him complete this equation.

Though incomplete, Dr. Einszweidrei has confidence that he will be able to uncover the rest of this mystery, as well as others such as the aerodynamics of table salt over a spiller’s shoulder, why people tend to be less successful during times of failure, and why mirrors will not show President Putin’s reflection while he is wearing a shirt.


Hey, all! If you're reading about me, you are probably thinking, "who the heck is this guy and why is he writing in my newspaper?" Though probably not in those exact words. Well, as you probably know, my name is Braden Egtvedt. As you probably don't know, I am a graduate student in Electrical Engineering here at Mines. I am also a Staff Writer for the Opinion section. You will mostly be seeing my name on satirical articles, particularly the horoscopes by Bob the Astrologer.

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