Monday, March 15, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Square Before Circle

The wheel is an overrated invention, especially if you speak to the people who were around when it was invented. Of course you probably haven’t since they’ve been dead for millennia and their language is gone, but if you could, they’d tell you the hype around the invention of the wheel was also the invention of overratedness.

The true great invention was the square. Look around nature and you find umpteen circles: circular tree trunks, circular wrists, circular eyes. This one cavemen was trying to be creative when he smashed up a big rock into a cube. The cube, mathematicians will tell you, is an overachieving square.

His wife always wanted to go places but didn’t want to walk. She wanted luxury to be invented, you see. His idea was that she could sit on top of the square while he pushed from the back. The flat bottom would keep it moving along smoothly.

This wife was kind of annoying. She picked on him, suggesting better postures and angles from which he could push her stone square. So the caveman eventually invented the accident, repeatedly accidentally knocking the stone square over and tossing his wife to the ground.

All this knocking over had an effect on the square. Its edges going abraded so often that they wore down. After some time and wifely nitpicking, the square was rounded down into a wheel. She couldn’t even sit on it anymore and berated his crappy geometric invention.

The wheel wound up sitting in the side of their cave with the winter pelts for some seasons until his boy grew old enough to push it. He delighted in pushing it down hills, watching is whiz along. Sometimes it hit an animal and lunch was invented. Road kill came up sooner than the car. It was only eating the non-squished bits of a sabretooth tiger that the caveman thought there could be other applications for his great “invention.”

His wife knew better. She’d have spread the word, too, if he hadn’t built her another square to push her around on whenever she felt like a Sunday out.

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