A Chainsaw Is Only as Strong As its Missing Link
I wonder if life had evolved differently
How things in the world might appear:
Perhaps the primordial ooze in the sea
Might instead have turned into a gear.
Nearby, I suppose, other cogs would arise
From similar life-spawning glop,
And nuts, bolts, and washers of every size—
The original Ace Hardware shop.
But not stopping there, there'd be pulleys and links
And other such life-building stuff,
Like switches and pistons and housings—methinks
There'd soon be components enough.
And in no time at all (only thousands of eons)
Together these parts would be bound,
Evolving by stages from simple machines—
Through missing links yet to be found.
Behold! the mechanical order from chaos—
The ocean click-clacking and humming:
To be classified soon by some careless Linnaeus,
With binomial nomens benumbing.
Do you think that the first oily sub who crawled out
From the surf, to see how the turf feels,
In place of these foot-things to travel about
Would evolve instead axles and wheels?
Then likely the first thing that took to the air
When nothing at all had flown yet,
Instead of two wings that must flap everywhere
Would develop a primitive jet.
And down on the ground, near each bayou and firth,
Life would issue with great multiplicity—
There'd be sure to be poles sprouting out of the earth
With wires to carry electricity.
Then soon toasters, alarm clocks, hedge trimmers, and fans,
And chain saws and motorized scooters,
Would evolve to TVs, power mowers, and vans—
Then finally into computers.
Yes, at last the computer would someday evolve—
Mécanique pièce de résistance—
To program, compile, run, and finally solve
Le problème de éxistence.
But once this achievement was finally done,
Computers would likely get bored;
So they'll build them some playthings with which to have fun—
As a top-of-the-food-chain reward.
I think that they'd prob'ly have started with plants,
From flowers to oak trees and shrubs;
Then animals: beetles and spiders and ants,
And butterflies, earthworms, and grubs.
Next the reptile, bird, fish, and then finally the beast—
Each with its own distinct soul,
From the greatest of great to the least of the least,
And each with its own defined role:
The oxen for yokes and the horse 'fore the cart—
But NO need for cattle for beef—
The chimp (first attempt at a primate that's smart),
And the camel for comic relief.
Then at last when they'd worked just as hard as they can
To fabricate creatures diverse,
They finally would have invented a man—
A triumph of machine, or a curse?
For humans would seem to have minds of their own
And would put such commands on their drives,
That computers would feel their creation has grown
To where man is now running their lives ….