a fable, from uwebdev

In the early days of automotive manufacturing one manufacturer produced a car with square wheels.

Cars were a novelty back then. Not everybody had one. Some people thought the square-wheeled cars were a lemon, but the people that used it back then really didn’t care. The roads were very rough and if it got you from A to B, it was doing the job.

Time went by and the manufacturer tried different many square wheel models; pentagonal wheels, hexagonal, hrptagonal, octagonal, orthoganal, diagonal, pythagoral… Sometimes the ride was different, sometimes better. The square wheelers didn’t care a great deal. “It gets me from A to B”, they’d say.

Some time later all manufacturers were producing cars with more or less round wheels. The roads were better and people driving cars with round wheels had a smoother ride.
But there were still some people getting around in their square wheeled cars. They’d grizzle about the round wheel cars whizzing past them and complain incessantly about the state of the roads.

“It’s not fair,” they’d say. “The round wheelers are getting a smoother ride and we’re left bumping along.”

The original square wheel manufacturer offered everyone snazzy new round wheel cars, fully appointed, all the extras, in any colour or styling they chose – for FREE. Most square wheelers were delighted and eagerly swapped their old square wheel cars for nice new round ones.

But some square wheelers refused saying, “No! You gave us square wheeled cars. There’s nothing wrong with our square wheeled cars. What you need to do is fix the roads!”

So the people making the roads tried to give the square wheelers a better ride. They dug grooves across the road to accommodate the pointy bits on the square wheeler’s cars. But the round wheelers complained that the corrugations were giving them a bumpy ride and the square wheelers complained that their ride still wasn’t as smooth as the round wheelers’.

“What you should be doing,” the square wheelers said, “is making separate roads. Smooth roads for the round wheelers and corrugated roads for the square wheelers.”

Very satisfied with their suggestion, the square wheelers sat back and watched as all over the country and all around the world, people started making separate roads for round and square wheelers.

The trouble was that there were so many different types of square wheelers; pentagonal wheels, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, orthoganal, diagonal and pythagoral! It soon became apparent that instead of having simply two roads to take the square and round wheelers where they wanted to go, if you were going to offer the same ride quality to all wheelers, it might be necessary to make a separate road for each model of square wheeler.

Many road maker’s gave up in despair.

Some road makers have gone to the extent of keeping a garage full of as many different models of square wheeled car as they can find and every day they test drive a different car over their roads and each night they get out on the road filing new grooves trying to improve the ride for this or that model square wheel car. Where they can’t get the one road right, they put up little detour signs to point the square wheelers along specially made sections of road.

But many road makers feel that a pair of ear plugs is the cheapest and best solution as it cut down the din from the complaining square wheelers and their square wheels clattering over the nice smooth roads.

“You’re getting from A to B”, they say.
Copyleft 2003 Grant Malcolm