The Trouble With The World Today

 Posted by James Paige on January 1st, 1999

The trouble with the world today, is that people don’t have enough fingers. Imagine, if you will, what the world would be like if we were all born with two dozen fingers on each hand. For starters, we would have been less likely to develop our absurd ten-based number system. Lets see, two dozen on each hand, that would make for a grand total of sixty. A sixty based counting system would have been much better from the start. That’s what the Incas used, and believe me, they wore way cooler hats than anybody alive today. Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles against a sixty-based number system– that is, besides the finger thing– is the huge variety of symbols necessary to depict sixty different numbers with a single digit. Again, the Incas had us beat there too. Their low numbers, one through five, were just simple lines and crosses, but as the numbers got bigger, they became more complicated, from lines to patterns of dots, from dots to large grotesque faces, and from faces to huge murals of the gods at war. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if instead of writing “60″ you would have to sit down and draw Apollo driving his solar chariot across the sky as Bacchus and the fauns celebrate in the summertime forests below. And imagine how a digital watch would look. Think of how far and how fast technology would have had to progress just to put that digital green snarling warrior face on your wrist. With the extra boost that a sixty based number system would give to science, we would have mastered manned space flight hundreds of years ago. Imagine if you will, a colony on the surface of the moon– not that stereotypical spacemen-in-a-glass-bubble colony, but a real colony. outdoors, in the open air. You might say, “What air?” Well, Ill tell you. It is very simple. Imported air. We have so much of it here on earth just sitting around not being breathed. We could build a solid pipeline between the earth and the moon, and then force air through it with a gigantic box-fan. Of course, as we all know, the moon moves all over the place, so it would be necessary to build supports to keep it in one place. Now, if the moon was to be stopped, it would have to be stopped over the territory of one country or another, and then we get into the difficulty of who owns the moon. Naturally, it would seem that whoever got to the moon first would own it, and since the United States was the only country to plant its flag on the moon, it would seem that they would have first dibs on it. But then, before you know it, Burma, or France, or some other third world country would claim to have gotten there first, and would claim to have placed a perfectly ordinary rock on the surface as a marker of their territorial right to the hottest bit of new real-estate around. In that case, there would be nothing to it but to fight a war. Now, normally war is a nasty, brutish thing, but I like to think that in our enlightened world, we can think of ways to make it a bit more sporting. A few simple rules would level the playing field. First off, no soldier from a country with nuclear strike capabilities would be allowed to wear shoes or a helmet in combat. Secondly, the pilots of jet fighters and bombers would be required to spend at least one quarter of their air-time close enough to the ground for people on foot to throw rocks at them. And lastly, gunners would be forbidden from firing anything larger than 22 caliber bullets at any enemy mounted upon a donkey, camel, llama or other beast of burden. With those rules in place, I think it would be possible to actually have a “World War 3″ without risk of turning the world into one of those cheesy post-apocalyptic deserts that you see in so many sci-fi movies from the nineteen-eighties. You know the type. Bunch of punks riding around on spiked motorcycles, picking on honest hardworking mutants and children. I swear. And then somebody always eats a dog, like it’s some big deep social commentary on human nature– “Oh no! Look how terrible we are, first we nuke the world, and now we eat man’s best friend.” Makes me sick. What exactly is so bad about eating a dog anyway? The Polynesians do it all the time. Once I knew this nice Polynesian guy, his name was Sam. Once in a while he would invite me over to his place, and we would have dog and watch the ballgame. It was really good– of course, that’s only cause his wife knew how to cook it– I mean, you cant just toss spot on the barbecue and expect him to taste good. You have to marinate your dog first. The breed is also important. Sam told me all about it. Australian dingoes are ideal, and so are saint bernards, and Irish setters. Never eat a lap dog, they are real stringy, and avoid Dalmatians, because if they are undercooked, they can get you real sick. Also, despite the name, wiener-dogs don’t taste like wieners at all. They taste more like bratwurst. Some people get mad when you talk about eating dogs. They act like you are some king of ogre, eating something that will shed on the furniture and jump on guests. They think it is wrong to eat something so cute, and furry and intelligent. To those people I say “What about bread, huh?” Do you realize what bread is? It is made from ground up wheat! When most people think of wheat, they think of a dry little plant sitting there in the field doing nothing. That is just the sort of image that the grain industry tries to promote through the media. Dont buy into it! Wheat is warm and cuddly! Wheat is soft and friendly! Wheat makes a better pet than a dog. In fact, it is even possible to house-train wheat, and to teach it to bring you the morning paper. Next time you take a bite out of a sandwich, think about how many poor little wheats had to die horrible deaths in the threshing machine to provide you with your meal. Have a little pity. Bread is murder!

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