Re-inventing the Wheel


Reinventing the Wheel

I want to reinvent the wheel!
The reason I want to reinvent the wheel is cuz
I notice this expression has become very popular
And I figure that when a supposed piece of wisdom
Starts to sound like a cliché
It’s time to challenge the damn thing
So, I want to reinvent the wheel!

And, why not? What is so great about the wheel?
It might have started off pretty innocently
A caveman pulling a cart, with his favourite clubs
A few sabre-tooth furs, maybe his collection of  rocks
And then some interesting innovations like sundials, pulleys, potters wheels and whatnot

But very early in the process, wild animals had to be tamed, domesticated, chained
Forced to wear blinders to walk the straight and narrow in their job of pulling something with wheels
As  a result of this invention, reduced to slavery, suffering various indignities
It probably wasn’t long after that that someone got the great idea of the chariot
And warfare entered a whole new phase
You could probably argue that the chariot was the first weapon of mass destruction
It allowed a mobile army to descend quickly on the enemy
And slaughter them in great numbers, inflict even greater misery

So, where are we today with the wheel?
Well, we still have the chariots, only they have now evolved into tanks
We gave the horses a break, and added a whole lot more wheels plus tracks
Powered by horsepower of a different kind
So instead of wagons and buggies pulled by horses destined to soap factories
When they wore out, endlessly replaced to drape city streets in steaming horse patties
We now have advanced to the combustion age of smog and haze, escalating asthma rates
Bronchitis, depletion of the ozone and greater risk of skin cancer from the ultraviolet rays
From the cars and SUVs, trucks, buses, even ATVs
We attached a tire, axle, and motor onto just about any wheel we see
And in the process, our inventing the wheel led to trains, roads and freeways
Which meant more food and goods pushing the frontier back at a hectic pace
Stagecoaches of pioneers settling lands cleared  by force of forts and cavalry
Leading to villages becoming towns becoming cities
With more population in turn leading to more demand
And more mines, refineries, warehouses and processing plants
And the ensuing destruction of the habitats of plenty animals and plants
Which, if they could talk, might very well beg us to reinvent the wheel, or at least de-invent it!

And what is so special about our present wheel design, anyways?
Why not have a spherical wheel?
You could move around in various directions, according to how you feel
Not just forward or backward: a wheel with some dimension, and options!
And while we are at it, why not invent a new kind of steering wheel for drivers?
So you could steer using a ball, like Asteroids or Space Invaders!
How about an oval wheel? Or a shape-shifting wheel filled with plasma or putty, like an amoeba
What about a wheel that doesn’t roll on its perimeter
But is turned the other way, flat-side down?
Wheels acting as giant fans for vehicles to hover around
And not have to roll at all, not even touch the ground
Vehicles propelled by something other than a gas engine
But, then again
Maybe every time we say “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” we are being intellectually lazy
Encouraging conformity and stifling independent thought and creativity
Maybe it is just as innocent as saving time
But maybe saving time is actually making us run out of time
Time for us as a species, time for our planet
The wheel, as we have invented it, has probably
Been more responsible for the worst thing to kill
Than any other invention, namely time
Which we measure by the circular movements of little mechanical spears
Driven by even littler wheels known as gears

In any case, the increasing repetition of this cliché
Has got me furiously blueprinting more wheels, in a theoretical way
Because in practice, I am still racing back and forth to work everyday
On the same four wheels
As I ride the bus and disconnect from the mad world out there
By spinning the little wheel on my mp3 player
To listen to a tune or two before my battery runs bare
Or back when I put a CD into a little slot to spin and erratically run
Skipping every time it had a little scratch or I hit a bump
Not much of an improvement on the little wheels of a cassette tape
Or the bigger wheel of a vinyl disc spinning on a turntable

Which makes me wonder whether we’re really inventing at all, or is it just about the latest craze?
About the newest stuff we just have to have, which we buy in a hyped-up haze
Stuff that becomes obsolete practically the day after we max out our cards to pay?
Draining our savings to keep up with the rapid pace of supposed change
Spinning frantically like the minds of gamblers laying down their last bits of change
on a roulette wheel, a wheel of fortune
Spinning away like a hypnotist’s disc, a kaleidoscope illusion
A buzz saw ripping through wallets, as casino high flyers wheel and deal
And reel from losses like box office flops of blockbusters, predictable frames unfolding on
The ticking wheels of film reels
The wheel spinning thread out of blood-stained cotton, thru welts raised by whips held high
Waterwheels driving sugar cane mills distilling rum for drunken binges and DWI homicides
We have reused and abused, reinvented or perhaps only plagiarized
One simple design so many times that maybe our imagination and creativity
Has reached the end of the line, run dry, so we can only tinker and refine
Locked within the confines of profit and loss and practicality
Only practically speaking, we have come 360 degrees
From creation to destruction, broken on the wheel of our own ambition
To produce, accumulate, conquer, expand
Which is why I plan, contrary to what I have been made to understand
Is the right way of thinking, I don’t care, its just how I feel:
I want to reinvent the wheel

© nth digri, 2012


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