I consider myself a high-brow culture sort of person. Sure, I’m not completely suave, but I feel like my intellect more than compensates for some of my less socially acceptable faux pas. I like knowing lexicon. I like considering myself on the ‘inside’ of a situation.
For that reason, for some time, I’ve been a fan of a dessert called ‘Pavlova’. I first encountered the dessert during my six week stay in Australia. I was in high school at the time, but even then I considered myself intellectually ascendant. When I returned to the States and no one had heard of this meringue crust with fruit and whipped cream, I consoled myself with my more worldly experiences. Still, I would’ve liked to find at least one person who knew what I was talking about.
Of course, those who I introduced this dessert to assumed some association with Pavlov. I supposed they could be right – such a dessert could be a ‘reward’ in his system. I didn’t know enough to question that judgement. Tonight, however, I found out it was wrong – it took a sci fi novel to tell me different. According to Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce (via Carl in 1634: The Ram Rebellion), Pavlova was a desert in memory of a ballerina. It commemorated the tour of Anna Pavlova in both Australia and New Zealand.
Without science fiction, I would never have had confirmation of the existence of this dessert in the written record. Without my prolific reading, I would never have rediscovered it. I’m not saying that such a little factoid has made my life complete. I’m merely showcasing the interactions of chance in each of our lives. I do not pretend to know what far-reaching consequence that chance may have.