By John Philipp
(This story takes place in 2017 BCE though, of course, the people in the story didn’t call it BCE because calendars hadn’t been invented. They called 2017 BCE “Now.” Interesting Historical Sidelight: No one who lived in BCE ever used that term.)
Around the middle of Now, a keen observer of nature named OmiGog noticed the temperature seemed warmer every year. He would have labeled this phenomenon “global warming” except at that time no one understood the concept of a round planet. As his tribe lived in Our Valley, he cleverly called the phenomenon “valley warming.”
Disturbed by his observation, OmiGog ran to tell ImGog, the tribal chief. (Everyone in the tribe had the same last name; they didn’t travel much.)
“ImGog! I think we’re experiencing valley warming.”
“OmiGog, is that bad?”
“I think so. In another three seasons, it’ll be so warm the furry animals will desert Our Valley for someplace colder.”
“But we eat the furry animals!”
“And we use their bone marrow to make your favorite pudding.”
This revelation so upset ImGog he gave OmiGog the task of determining the cause of valley warming and what they could do to stop it.
Day and night, OmiGog sat atop a hill overlooking Our Valley. In these times, all sciences used the same research technique to which he applied the technical term “watch and wait.”
One night, the answer came to OmiGog in a ream of insight. (A ream is bigger than a yard of insight, which is what you’d need to notice the hickey on your wife’s neck, and smaller than a bolt of insight, which would allow you to understand the mathematical concept behind negative numbers.)
OmiGog rushed to the village. “It’s fire!” he yelled upon entering ImGog’s hut.
“OmiGog!” the Chief yelled back and ran outside without bothering to put on his ceremonial stuffed elk head headdress—or his pants. After several minutes, ImGog tired of people pointing and laughing at him bare naked in the village square. He returned inside to find OmiGog scratching lines and circles and arrows in the dirt floor.
“What are you doing?” asked the Chief as he reunited with his pants.
“I’ve discovered we have twice as many cooking fires as we had when I was a boy,” said OmiGog. “Combine that with the fact that before fire was invented it was much colder, and I come to the inescapable conclusion that we are the cause of valley warming. Simply put, we light too many fires.”
He pointed his drawing stick at the dirt floor. Using a number of words he had to create to explain this foreign concept, he said, “What I’ve created here is a multi-variable correlational analysis graph of campfires over time, juxtaposed against the increase in the campfire population. The truth is as big as the nose on your face. Campfires cause heat.”
ImGog had no choice but to accept the explanation, as OmiGog had used at least five words ImGog had never heard before. He also twapped OmiGog twice around the side of the head: once for making an undignified crack about the Chief’s nose, another for scaring him into the village square wearing nothing but his butt.
ImGog was in a quandary. While he trusted OmiGog, he loved furry pudding. Also, the fire log cutters were key contributors to his political campaign chest. He had been a fire log cutter himself before entering politics. Also, like all politicians in power, ImGog feared change of any sort.
ImGog resolved the dilemma by using a time-tested political ploy. He sent OmiGog to all the neighboring valleys to convince them to sign a treaty to restrict fires to national holidays, a provision ImGog, of course, had no intention of honoring himself.
At a bonfire banquet celebrating the treaty, ImGog toasted his scientist friend and asked how long the treaty would keep temperatures manageable and pudding available.
OmiGog answered, “Let’s revisit the matter in about four thousand years.”
“Works for me,” said the Chief. He topped off his dessert with the remaining liquor and, with a smile, added, “The proof is in the pudding”—thus coining a phrase still in use today.
Moral: Always put off today whatever is painful and let someone else do that tomorrow.