By Jerry Kvasnicka
Ages ago, in what was perhaps the most dubious flash of inspiration in history, someone decided that he could improve upon the process of walking by developing two wooden poles, with padding on one end, to be placed under the arms and used to catapult the body forward without the necessity of bending the knees or otherwise using the legs except as a stabilizing factor. He called his invention crutches.
Initially the idea was rather slow in catching on. But zealous sales promotion was finally successful in convincing people that they really couldn’t afford to be without crutches, and if only because they were such a novelty, more and more were purchased.
The growth in the popularity of crutches was due in part to the fact that they provided a purpose for living; life could now be spent accumulating crutches of different styles, sizes and materials. More and more, the education system was directed toward teaching the proper use and care of crutches. Courses were offered in the history of crutches and advanced students were permitted to study crutch dynamics and design.
Sophistication in technology permitted the development of more streamlined crutches, crutches that were absolutely guaranteed to take all the drudgery out of walking. Wealthy business executives and government officials were able to afford battery-operated crutches, which required no physical effort whatsoever from the person using them.
Things moved along quite smoothly until people who preferred a particular type of crutch began to meet together in groups to plan ways of gaining the acceptance of their crutch on a universal scale. Occasionally street fights would break out between members of the various factions over which type of crutch was superior. Some groups went so far as to claim that the “spirit of God” moved more completely through their type of crutch than through any of the others.
Soon the whole world was embroiled in ceaseless crutch controversy. Extremists gave voice to that which was masked, though just as fervently felt, in polite society: “If you don’t start using my crutch, I’ll kill you.”
One day a man was seen striding along the street without any crutches! At his trial he made the outrageous claim that man was created to walk without crutches! After his execution a small secret society sprang up to perpetuate his memory. Eventually it became popular to perpetuate his memory, and finally millions were doing it.
But no one ever walked.