Why Stuff Works
Because who cares how?
- Why do women shop?
- Why is yawning contagious?
- Why does foam from pouring a carbonated drink dissipate faster when you put a finger in the foam?
- Why does GPS work?
- Why do cell phones work?
- Why can't you get a tan from fluorescent lighting?
- Why does sticking out my tongue help me concentrate?
Q: Why do cars work?
A: Why do cars work, you ask? Well, I’m glad you did. The answer has everything to do with the minute organism known as Leucothrix mucor. But I get ahead of myself. First we have to start where all good stories start – the clan politics of leprechauns. You see, Ireland has always historically been divided by ancient lines of clans: Meath, Ulster, Connaught, the like. Recent archeological evidence into the pot dwellings of the leprechauns suggests that similar clan lines were a vital part of not just the human world but that of the wee people. With their rainbows and slightly miserly gold hoarding, leprechaun clans lived in relative harmony for many hundreds of years, with the exception of trade route disagreements and several fiery state/religion debates.
Somewhere in the 1880s, several isolated incidents occurred that set the national leprechaun economy into a state of disarray. In addition to the more well-known industries of gold and wishes, leprechauns have very complicated financial dealings with the fishermen of Western Ireland. The Inish Islands depend quite heavily on leprechaun currency to facilitate their banking during the fall and winter months when the cod populations swim into warmer Atlantic waters. During a concomitant boom in the cattle industry, many fishing families utilized leprechaun gold to invest in cattle merchant unions. By all accounts this would offer a phenomenal return, as Ireland was in an ideal location from which to ship meat into England, Norway, and France. Unfortunately, due to overestimates in the requisite numbers of bulls to cows, the cattle market quickly slid into bankruptcy, and the fishing families of Western Ireland were forced to borrow against their loans, drawing themselves further into debt.
The proverbial straw came with the introduction of the bacteria known as Leucothrix mucor to the cod population by a well-meaning scientist from Cambridge University who felt that L. mucor would increase the resilience of cod to other ocean borne pathogens. Contrary to his belief, L. mucor infiltrated an estimated 85% of cod schools and caused enormous morphological and biological changes. Cod were found to have gained additional muscle weight, which left them unable to swim given the muscle to fin surface area ration. Schools died in great numbers. The effect on the fishing industry was catastrophic. Most fishing families were forced to auction their boats and yarn sweaters and move to larger cities in hopes of finding work.
With the fishing families, the rate of currency exchange for leprechaun gold hit rock bottom. Their lack of distribution across a complex market economy left their entire infrastructure open to takeover, and in order to stave off poverty, many leprechauns and their families joined the more general migration to America, taking up residence in spare shoes and hats in human closets. It was a difficult time for the society, far from home, without the traditional ability to use wishes to improve their lives, the suicide and depression rates were extremely high.
After nearly a decade of struggle, a leprechaun named Joe O’Malleyreilly formed a union for leprechaun workers. The largest industry represented in this union was that of factories and other industrial plants, largely manufacturing facilities devoted to metal. Because the skin of leprechauns had adapted over the centuries to gold smelting and the cold air of the upper regions of their rainbow, they could withstand very high temperatures and were utilized mainly as metal workers. While the leprechauns were developing strong union policies, a man named Henry Ford began to revolutionize the industry of cars by creating assembly lines to create his Model T cars. Joe O’Malleyreilly quickly saw the opportunity these new cars represented, and began labor talks with Henry Ford. Ford was staunchly against labor unions, and his head of Service Department Harry Bennett had previously lead a bloody brawl to put down unionist workers.
After some serious deliberations, Joe O’Malleyreilly convinced Ford that while human labor unions were to be distrusted, the law of personal responsibility and truth-telling that all leprechauns were bound to was a code that could be best utilized in a manufacturing setting. Furthermore, he demonstrated that Ford’s concept of internal combustion was a far from cost effective process. By employing leprechaun workers, each car could run on magical power and would only have to be occasionally supplemented with gasoline, which is the beverage of choice for leprechauns. To prevent an uprising among human workers, it was agreed that the leprechaun/car agreement was to be kept quiet, and some minor pittance would be spent providing scrap metal quality pieces to hide the fact that these cars ran on the basis of leprechaun wishes.
The wisdom of this endeavor was borne out by the monumental financial success of the Ford company. Leprechaun culture morale improved, and cars began rolling off the assembly line in record numbers. As competitors to Ford arose, Joe O’Malleyreilly and his successors gained a foothold into the new companies, until no car company on the market could go without at least ten or fifteen leprechauns in their design plan. Some have argued that this dependence should be eliminated as the car industry continues to change, however it remains to be seen whether the cheap labor and high scale effectiveness of leprechauns will ever be replaced by anything as coarse as actual machinery.
So to come full-circle, cars work because there are leprechauns in the “machinery” that power the device using the many millions of wishes that they are provided over the length of their lifetimes. Each turn-signal usage constitutes a wish, each gear shift two. It is our great fortune to be able to be provided with such reliable transportation for the mere price of buying these humble and hard-working creatures a drink of their favorite beverage, gasoline, every so often.
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