Mixed Ramblings

A Short Discourse On The Origins Of Time

Time is one of those things that frequently makes life very miserable for the people of Planet Earth. The introduction of the concept of dividing the day up into units called hours and minutes means people are encouraged to be forever worrying about which point of the day they are currently living in and consequently become very concerned that there simply weren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the year or even enough years in a lifetime to be able to get everything done.

For centuries, people have frequently been heard to exclaim: "I just havn't got time. . ." and later complain that "Life's too short" - which is a curious assumption, because nobody really knows precisely how long their lives are going to be.

Time was invented by an unpleasant middle manager of a stone-carving business at some unknown point in the distant stone age. This unknown but very unpleasant individual hit upon the idea of designating a point early in the day, say, just as the sun was beginning to shine and the day ahead was starting to feel warm and pleasant, when all his stone carvers would have to go into a dark cave and work by lamplight until the sun was setting and the temperature starting to drop.

Anyone who showed up after the designated starting point would be challenged with: "And what time do you call this?" - which was, of course, a very mean question because nobody had the slightest notion what time it really was and all they could do was to stand there mumbling: "Don't know, Sir."

It really was a extremely unpleasant innovation and certainly didn't make that middle manager any friends.

An attempt to foil this bullying manager was made by an inventive stone carver who, on being asked "And what time do you call this?" on a particularly sunny and inviting day, replied: "Time you got a sundial, Sir." When ordered to explain himself, the carver led the way outside and proudly pointed to a pointed monolith and a semi-circle of round, coloured stones set out at intervals to mark the progress of the shadow cast by the standing stone.

The inventive carver was promptly sacked for misuse of company property and thus became the first working class hero. Unfortunately, his heroic status didn't last long because the manager requisitioned the sundial for his own use and took to standing by it with a mean look in his eyes ready to scold anyone who arrived after the shadow had passed the blue stone. The rest of the stone carvers blamed their former mate for the strict, new regime and saw to it that he never worked in the stone business again.

Time, like money, is one of those double-edged swords without which the world might be a far happier place...

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