Friday, May 9, 2008


I like thinking about “firsts”. The first anything. Most “firsts” are trial and error experiments. Some of them are dangerous.

Here’s the report from the first guy who ate mushrooms:

“There are different kinds of mushrooms. Some are good, and some will kill you. I ate the wrong kind, so, goodbye.”

We owe that guy a lot. He’s why we can eat shitakes without flinching.

Everything has a “first.” The “first” gets things started. They tell you, “This is the second one”, you say, “What was the first one?” they say, “There wasn’t one” – no. There’s something wrong. There’s always a “first.”

This, by the way, is also a traditional proof for the existence of God. There had to be a “first” to get us started. What was it? God. What “started” God? Nothing. God's, what they call, the Prime Mover. God starts everything; nothing starts God. Then, someone says, “If you can imagine God not needing to be started, why can’t you imagine something else not needing to be started, like the universe?” and you’re off to the races. A centuries old debate.

I just wanted to throw that in. We’re a full-service blog here.

Okay. This is my first “first.” Hold on to it. It could become a collectible.

The First Wheel

“What’s that you’re rolling?”

“It’s the wheel.”

“The wheel, huh? Why do you call it the wheel?”

“What else would you call it?”

“Fair enough. You’ve been working on that for some time.”

“Years. The original wheel was square. It didn’t work. You rolled it, and it went “ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump.”

“Nobody wants that.”

“Totally useless. I was stuck for a long time. Then, I’m falling asleep, and it comes to me. ‘Make it round!’”

“It certainly rolls better.”

“There’s no comparison.”

“So what’s it for?”

“What do you mean?

“What do you use it for?”

“I use it for rolling.”

“For rolling.”

“Sure. You walk along and you roll the wheel beside you.”

“Why would you want to do that?”


“For what purpose?”

“It’s different.”


“How many years have you been walking?”

“Virtually my whole life.”

“And it’s tedious, right? You’re just walking. Well, not anymore. Now you can have a wheel to roll along beside you.”

“I don’t get it. Who needs the wheel?”

“That’s just typical. That’s you. ‘Who needs the wheel?’ ‘Who needs fire?’ How long did you eat raw meat before you finally gave in?”

“Cooked food isn’t better. It’s just warmer.”

“Everyone says it’s better. For you, “It’s just warmer.” You’re very stubborn, you know that?”

“Don’t put this on me. Your wheel doesn’t make sense. Ask anyone, ‘Would you rather just walk or walk along rolling a wheel?’ A normal person says, ‘Who needs the wheel?’”

“Kids love the wheel.”

“So it’s a toy.”

“At present. But the kids are our future. They’ll take the wheel and run with it. So to speak. Remember when our ancestors had the spear? They didn’t throw it. They waited till the animal got close and they stuck it in.”

“Why would you throw a spear? If the animal doesn’t die, it walks away, and you’ve lost spear. Spears don’t grow on trees, you know?

“Actually they do.”

“I was speaking metaphorically.”

“The point is, it took a kid – an ignorant ‘know nothing’ – to defy convention, and throw the spear. If you were honest, you’d admit it’s an improvement, because, as you know, when you’re close enough to stick it with your spear, not infrequently, the animal collapses on top of you.”

“Not necessarily. You stick with the spear, and you get out of the way.”

“Here we go again. Stubborn.”

“I’ve had the same spear for twenty years!”


“You’re changing the subject. When you were coming up with the wheel, what did you imagine was its purpose?”

“Look, I’m the inventor. I gave birth to the wheel. I made it round. That’s two big things. I leave it to others to take it from there.”

“In the meantime, you’ll walk along, rolling your wheel.”

“Proudly. (AFTER A BEAT) You know what I’ve noticed?”


“When I’m rolling my wheel, sometimes it rolls ahead and I have to run after it.”


“So I may not only have invented the wheel. I may also have invented exercise.”


“It’s very aerobic. Would you like to try it?”

“No. (THEN) It’s not like we’re a sedentary people.”

“Terrific. Now he’s knocking exercise.”

“I’m only saying…”

“What is the matter with you? Are you against any kind of progress whatsoever? Is nothing allowed to change? ‘Why do we need to stand erect? What’s wrong with slithering along the ground?’ We have to move forward. That’s who we are. Always forging ahead. Every generation standing on the shoulders of the…”

“Excuse me. Your wheel just rolled down the street.”

Next on “Firsts” – the first guy who tried to sell life insurance. in our nature. Every invention building on the last. Each generation standing on the shoulders of the one before…

“Excuse me. Your wheel’s rolling down the street.”

Next on "Firsts" - the first guy who tried to sell life insurance.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the're a lifesaver!


The first one god

moi also done do a wee bit 'o' hisTORical stuff too