Here's my "Scandalously Short Story":
The History of Physics
by Robby Charters
'...simple machines, in themselves basic concepts, that make more complicated machines possible. I think you can name a few. Carter?'
'Very good. That was a major accomplishment that revolutionised transportation. Any more?'
'That's an application of the wheel, stupid!'
'Very good answers, all,' responded the professor. 'The wheel, especially. We don't know who invented the wheel, but imagine how it revolutionised everything. It's so basic to everything. We even have expressions like, "re-inventing the wheel"...'
'That's okay! As long as you don't take out a patent, right?'
'Oh, Geoffrey! That joke's so old!'
'But try to imagine, again,' the professor went on, 'how many years of unrecorded history humanity lived and worked without the aid of the wheel, dragging things on sticks, carrying no more than could be carried on their back, or on a beast of burden, or...'
'But wait,' corrected the professor. 'While it seems like such a simple, basic concept, so much so that we can't imagine people not thinking of it, remember our own vantage point as people who know about it already. If you'd never heard of it, how long would it take for you to think of it? Ask yourself that, and be honest.'
'But it's still hard to imagine.'
'-- not hard to imagine you not ...'
'And, think of how many millennia of unrecorded history humanity actually lived through, never having thought of it. Can anyone think of how the wheel may have indirectly contributed to our beginning to record history?'
'I know! Ball point pens!'
'Geoffrey! You're such a ...'
'Rebecca?' said the professor.
'The wheel probably helped to make history worthwhile recording.'
'Very good point.'
'I'm such a what?'
'Now,' the professor continued, 'can you think of any inventions made during recorded history that had as profound an impact as the wheel?'
'The printing press?'
'No! Tell me, what?'
'Lighten up, Geoffrey!'
'All good answers, but...'
'Very good, Penny,' observed the professor. 'What the wheel was to transportation and other machinery, the flong did for flight.'
'How did our ancestors ever do without the flong?'
'Precisely what they did do. They imitated nature. The aeroplane, for-instance, was the result of observing birds in flight, and adapting simple concepts we did have, such as the inclined plane -- all without the help of the flong.'
'-- aerodynamically, I think --'
'So we imitated nature and learned to fly. In one way, quite ingenious, but how about before the invention of the wheel? How did we -- or could we -- imitate nature then?'
'Er -- robot legs?'
'But wouldn't you need wheels and levers for that?'
'Very good point,' said the professor. 'Actually, instead of imitating nature, we used nature. We didn't make legs, but we used those of horses, camels and mules. So after the invention of the wheel, the lever, the inclined plane, etc. etc. we continued to both use and imitate nature. We achieved quite a lot, really, we began to fly, we got people going to the moon, to Mars...'
'What part of nature did rockets imitate? The fart?'
'But wasn't that bad for the environment?'
'Precisely. We just about destroyed ecological balance of the earth, we depleted the earth's fossil fuels just to keep our flongless contraptions airborne; then, with nuclear power we almost...'
'What do you mean "we"? You mean our ignorant ancestors, don't you?'
'I say "we",' reaffirmed the professor, 'because if not for them, there wouldn't be "us" today. Remember, they passed on to us everything they had...'
'-- including the chard remains of Earth --'
'...and remember, we were as ignorant of the flong then, as we were of the wheel much earlier in our history.'
'Yeah, the flong is such a simple concept, I still can't imagine people not thinking of it.'
Causes Robby Charters Supports
Human Development Foundation of Fr. Joe Maier. He was the inspiration for the character of Fr. Antonio in Pepe, and his shelter for homeless...