Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Machine

There once was a scientist who built a machine. It was a rather large machine. In fact, it filled up his entire laboratory. It was a complicated machine and took him years to build. It had parts and pieces and all kinds of handles and hoses. It had belts and bearings, chains and chambers, gears and gaskets. The cost of building the machine was no small investment, either. The scientist spent $347,000 for each of the 4,000+ parts, though he did "borrow" some parts from other broken down or inefficient machines in the area.

When he started it up it would shake and shiver, purr and peddle, beep and bellow. The scientist spent most of his time adjusting the idle, lubricating the moving parts and attaching more mechanical accessories to the machine. Because the machine generated so much heat when it ran, he had his entire laboratory climate controlled in order to accommodate the machine so it wouldn't overheat from its own activity.

The machine also required quite an array of fluids. There were the standard greases and oils, hydraulic fluids and coolants. Then there were some more specialized chemicals--helium, liquid nitrogen, hydrochloric acid and mercury to name a few. All of these different and expensive fluids had their parts to play in the running of the machine. But the fluid most consumed by the machine was the gasoline it took to run. The scientist was constantly seeking new grants and government funds to purchase more fuel to feed the machine.

Because the machine took so many years to build the scientist was always updating it with modern technology to keep it current and keep it running. The scientist rarely shut the machine down. Mostly, he kept it running, running and running.

One day a group of children visited the scientist at his laboratory to see his machine. They were all members of the Science Club at their school. The scientist was very proud to show off his machine. It represented his life's work and his blood, sweat and tears. With gleaming pride he demonstrated to the children how the machine runs. He pointed out each part and each process. He explained the history of the machine and how he decided to construct each part. He spent not a small amount of time explaining problems that occurred--both those in the past and recurrent problems. The scientist had become an expert in solving things like broken belts or busted bearings. He stressed to the children the never-ending necessity of lubrication with oil.

Finally, one of the children raised his hand. The scientist was delighted to have someone so interested as to ask a question. "What does the machine do?" the child asked.

"Let me show you!" The scientist led the children around to the back side of the machine. He fired it up and adjusted all of the gears. He turned cranks, pulled on levers and pressed buttons. Lights lit up, monitors beeped and the engine roared. The scientist scrambled to add more fuel. He watched the analog and digital readouts very closely for the next hour and was so consumed by running the machine he seemed to forget that the children were watching. But right when the children started to become bored, he turned to them with a big smile on his face.

"Look!" he said, pointing at a small dispenser-like opening protruding from one corner of the machine. The children all turned their attention to the dispenser and slowly but surely they began to hear a "clink-clink-clink," like something was dropping down the chute. Then in a moment, into a tray on the dispenser, fell a single gumball.

"That's it? One stinking gumball?" the child asked the scientist.

The scientist was surprised at the insolent little child who didn't appear to appreciate the magnificence of the machine and the complexity of its functions. So he began to explain the machine in greater detail--how each part was necessary to address problems that arose in other areas of the machine--how this belt turned this gear and how that gear turned this motor which addressed that specific problem that resulted in the oscillation sector because of the activity of a distinct combustion arising from the capacitating performance of the flux manifold on whose chassis was built the dual processor that operated the timing of the ignition of the central magneto calculator for the signaling of critical mass in the execution of the Fangoli process in general.

"Don't you see how it all works?" The scientist couldn't appreciate the children's lack of appreciation.

"Well, that's a cool machine, sir. We just wish it actually did something more than produce one gumball an hour."


  1. Oh, you are clever, K. Clever indeed.

  2. The question is, was it a biblically based, culturally relevant, authentic gumball?