Levels. – Kramer

For years, I have been known as somewhat of a Kramer. If you never watched Seinfeld, I’ll explain. In short, Kramer is the kind of guy who always has a grand new plan, scheme, or idea. Rarely does he actually execute it. When he does, you get a hot tub in an apartment, Japanese tourists sleeping in dresser drawers, or the old Merv Griffin set dragged from a dumpster.

But usually, Kramer just announces his latest idea, and never goes anywhere with it. The ultimate expression of that is in the episode The Pony Remark.

KRAMER: I’m completely changing the configuration of the apartment. You’re not gonna believe it when you see it. A whole new lifestyle.

JERRY: What are you doing?

KRAMER: Levels.

JERRY: Levels?

KRAMER: Yeah, I’m getting rid of all my furniture. All of it. And I’m going to build these different levels, with steps, and it’ll all be carpeted with a lot of pillows. You know, like ancient Egypt.

JERRY: You drew up plans for this?

KRAMER: No, no. It’s all in my head.

MORTY: I don’t know how you’re going to be comfortable like that.

KRAMER: Oh, I’ll be comfortable.

JERRY: When do you intend to do this?

KRAMER: Ohh.. should be done by the end of the month.

JERRY: You’re doing this yourself?

KRAMER: It’s a simple job. Why, you don’t think I can?

JERRY: Oh, no. It’s not that I don’t think you can. I know that you can’t, and I’m positive that you won’t.

KRAMER: Well, I got the tools. I got the pillows. All I need is the lumber.

MORTY: Hey, that’s some big job.

JERRY: I don’t see it happening.

KRAMER: Well, this time, this time you’re wrong. C’mon. I’ll even bet you.

JERRY: Seriously?

HELEN: I don’t want you betting. Morty, don’t let him bet.

KRAMER: A big dinner with dessert. But I’ve got till the end of the month.

JERRY: I’ll give you a year.

KRAMER: No, no, no. End of the month.

JERRY: It’s a bet. (They both “pinkie swear” to lock the deal)

(Scene ends)


MORTY: So, how are your levels coming along?

KRAMER: Oh, well.. I decided I’m not gonna do it.

JERRY: (Sarcastically) Really? What a shock.

JERRY: So, when do I get my dinner?

KRAMER: There’s no dinner. The bet’s off. I’m not gonna do it.

JERRY: Yes. I know you’re not gonna do it. That’s why I bet.

KRAMER: There’s not bet if I’m not doing it.

JERRY: That’s the bet! That you’re not doing it!

KRAMER: Yeah, well, I could do it. I don’t want to do it.

JERRY: We didn’t bet on if you wanted to. We bet on if it would be done.

KRAMER: And it could be done.

JERRY: Well, of course it could be done! Anything could be done! But it only is done if it’s done. Show me the levels! The bet is the levels.

KRAMER: But I don’t want the levels!

JERRY: That’s the bet!


Anything could be done! But it’s only done if it’s done. Show me the levels!

This should be my new sig line.

So without re-explaining what I hope is clear from this scene, I just have to say that this is a distillation of many events in my life. I have a closet full of undone projects. I dabbled with lots of hobbies over the years. My closest friends get to harass me about them, and it is funny.

But this is no levels project. There’s no dabbling with your health. There’s no “new wacky idea.” And there’s no faking it.

That’s why I don’t believe in potential. Citing potential is just an excuse for not doing something. It may be out of laziness, fear of failure, fear of success, or all of those and more. I know what all of those feel like. I don’t care what physicists say about the nature of potential energy, until you actually fire up the flux capacitor, it’s just an old banana peel.

I’m firing on a lot of cylinders right now. But if the day comes when I sit back and say “oh well, I could have done that if I wanted to. The potential is always there, I just don’t want to right now,” I want people who care about me to get in my face about it and remind me this is no longer a repeating joke about hobbies. I’m not Kramer. I’m Andy, and I have lived too long on the promise of potential. It is a useless concept. I don’t believe in potential energy, only kinetic.

Right now, I’m moving. I’m kinetic. I plan to use inertia (a physics concept I DO believe in) and keep moving. Potential is for whiners, critics, and arm-chair quarterbacks.

Forget your potential, show me the levels.


One thought on “There is No Such Thing as Potential

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