In the Beginning

  by Walter Guest



I made my living as a surveyor for a long time. How long? You might not believe it but I was there at the very beginning and that's the truth.

When I started in surveying they didn't call us surveyors. We were just a bunch of guys who laid around in caves, went out and beat on rocks with our clubs, and then went and drank beer. Nothing had names in those days so they called us The Guys Who Lay Around In Caves, Go Out And Beat On Rocks With Clubs, And Then Go And Drink Beer.

Then they formed a committee to name things. In one day they named trees, trees, and those smaller things... oh yeah... bushes... they named them too. And lots of other stuff. They were naming everything.

One guy there said, "What'll we call those guys who lay around in caves, go out and beat on rocks with clubs, and then go and drink beer?"

A second guy said, "How about calling them civil engineers?"

Another guy said, "Jutht a darn thecond! You thaid I could be the thivil engineer."'

"That's right," the first guy said. "We promised that to Brucie."

"Okay," the second guy said, "then how about calling them surveyors?"

So that's how we came to be called surveyors.

And that's the truth.

Some time later a lot of people got to complaining when we beat on the rocks.

"You know, like stuff is falling from the cave roofs and konking guys. And the noise. It bounces around these lousy cave."

"Hey," we said, "that's our thing. We got a permit to beat."

"Yeah," they said, "but it's to much. You gotta quit."

"What do you expect us to do? Drink beer all day?"

"Naw. Try wood. That might help. Try beating on wood with your clubs."

So that's what we did. It wasn't the same but that's what we did.

And that's the truth.

But it didn't help much. They came at us again.

"The beatin's too much, man," they said. "It's gotta go."

"Hey," we said again, "we got a permit to beat."

"Yeah. But it don't say where and right now it's elsewhere."

So we went over by the caves in the next hill to beat on wood with our clubs.

It wasn't long before those people came at us.

"Later with the beatin', man," they told us. "It's piercin'."

"Hey," we said again, "we got a permit to beat. We can't beat here. We can't beat back there. Where we supposed to beat?"

So they all got together and tried to figure it out. In a little while they came back to us.

"We figure," they told us, "if you beat half way between their caves and our caves you won't be botherin' anybody. We're gonna call that the boundary. That's where you can beat on your wood."

"That's crazy!" we told them. "How the hell are we supposed to know where the boundary is?"

"It's up to you guys to find the boundary. If you wanna beat on wood with your clubs, you gotta find the boundary."

So that's how the whole thing got started.

And that's the truth.




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