May 18, 2004

Qwx: Lessons from history, in 1/16 scale

If we use the partitions for the new desks to make a big square box instead, and get the contractor to come back with his wheelbarrow of concrete and stop up the cracks, we can fill it with water. We can float FedEx boxes in the water and put up sails made of old, soft, tattered specification drawings rigged to document tube masts. Just haul on the long network cables dangling down from the ceiling to pull in the sail. I'm not sure about gangplanks and docks, but maybe we can roll out tubes of plotter paper to meet the ships as they sail up to the conference room table. The partition with the windows in it, next to the product library, can be inns and warehouses and brothels. Longshoremen can grunt and shout as they push and carry boxes and bales off of ships and through the wide cargo doors; buxom wenches can lean over their balconies to taunt and tempt the sailors staggering around with their flagons outside the taverns on the first floor.

It'll all work wonderfully as long as the government keeps its hands off. Let commerce go on, let the sailors and whores have their fun and let the innkeepers and merchants make their profits, and our tiny, landlocked harbor town will run smoothly with no more problems than a drunken fistfight here and there. Take a moderate tax, just enough to make the governors wealthy but not enough to make anybody lose their tempers. Trust me on this. Tax too much and the next thing you know, flames will be licking out the tiny windows of the inns and chewing up the paper gangplanks while the few honest citizens round up their children and head out of town.

If you stand on the table dock and squint against the orangey brightness, you'll see figures on the cardboard decks of the ships, pulling tea out of the cabinets in the office kitchen and throwing it all into the choppy water of our square harbor. First the Tetley, then the green, then the chamomile. After the flames are put out, tiny men in white wigs will sit in our tiny chamber of commerce with their heads in their hands. I'm not sure the city will ever be so prosperous again.

Posted by dianna at May 18, 2004 11:34 AM

Unfortunately, I'm far too intimidated by this post to say anything about it. I spent most of the day trying to come up with some witty bit to leave, but.... nothing really compares. I hang my head in shame.

Posted by: Jacob at May 18, 2004 08:34 PM

ha ha! i told her the same thing in an email.

Posted by: michele at May 18, 2004 11:13 PM

i told her the same thing in my head.

Posted by: erica at May 19, 2004 02:17 AM

i told her that in my head and was going to send an email too. now i don't have to do either one. dianna, we salute you.

Posted by: didofoot at May 19, 2004 07:57 AM

Erica and Kristen: I heard your comments. Thanks. But those other things you guys were thinking about, respectively, George Stephanopolous and the world record for cream-pie eating were really inappropriate. I had to take a shower afterwards. Next time I'm just going to ask you what you're thinking instead of reading your brains myself.

The irony here is that I was sitting around yesterday checking Cementhorizon for comments and feeling glum that apparently no one had read or noticed my post. I was tempted to let someone in the office catch me looking at it, so they'd ask what it was, so I could tell them, so someone might actually read it and say something.

Posted by: Dianna at May 19, 2004 09:46 AM

I know, it's so sad when you write a particularly brilliant post and no one says anything. I mean, so Sean says.

Posted by: didofoot at May 19, 2004 10:12 AM

I agree. Some of the best posts I've read often go comment-free, because no one can think of anything fitting to say. Sean had once suggested some sort of "virtual head nod" option, that would recognize the quality of a post without us having to sound stupid ourselves in comparison. So what about it, Gene?

Posted by: kati at May 19, 2004 10:41 AM

By the way, Dianna, here's my nod.
Very nice.
I read it, I loved it.
Feel not unnoticed. Not glum.

Posted by: kati at May 19, 2004 10:43 AM

You know, comments that just say "nod" would be pretty cool. No need to elaborate. Just come in, post the word "nod", and leave. Like this:

Posted by: Dianna at May 19, 2004 11:49 AM


Posted by: Dianna at May 19, 2004 11:49 AM

to that i say:

Posted by: michele at May 19, 2004 11:51 AM


Posted by: michele at May 19, 2004 11:51 AM


Posted by: didofoot at May 19, 2004 12:33 PM

oops i did it wrong.

Posted by: didofoot at May 19, 2004 12:33 PM

stop causing trouble, foot.

Posted by: michele at May 19, 2004 12:47 PM

backwards, this word is "toof." HA!

Posted by: didofoot at May 19, 2004 12:52 PM





Posted by: Dianna at May 19, 2004 01:30 PM

And here I was wondering if the lessons of the Lord of the Flies would apply to cardboard cutouts of people.

Lo, but the fractured lords above
who crafted them in their own image
cursed their paper progeny
with all the sins
of flesh and money

(That, and I'd like to see them swim.)

Posted by: poot at May 19, 2004 01:47 PM

I just read this thread, looked over at my lab bench, and saw a bunch of photodiodes.



Posted by: Erik at May 19, 2004 04:35 PM

Jesus, why do I always wait so long to read your posts? nod.

Posted by: jason s at May 22, 2004 10:26 AM