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The Scrivener: Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryme

...Remind me, please. Who was that chap who concluded that the fly had invented the wheel but, having done so, had no idea what to do with it and had therefore assigned that task to another form of life? Ah yes! Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryne...

Never heard of Sir Isambard? Then do please allow the inimitable Brian Barratt to introduce you to the great man, and some of his astonishing works.

And while your brain is in a flexible mode, willing to accept further entertaining challenges, visit Brianís Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

It would be remiss of us to permit this month to pass without recording a posthumous tribute on the anniversary of the passing of the Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryme, scientist extraordinary.

From his humble rural beginnings, this remarkable man showed an interest in research, invention and disparate cohesion from a very early age in his childhood. One of his first recorded extra-mural activities concentrated on the amount of methane he had observed was emitted by the domestic bovine quadrupeds on his fatherís farm. Believing it to be a highly efficient form of internal combustion, he set about designing and making a device whereby the gas could be channelled into an engine which in turn would be geared to propel a small vehicle. The ultimate challenge came when he searched long and diligently for a beast small enough to stand in the vehicle, by which time his father had changed to chicken farming.
Sir Isambardís career in theoretical biogeology commenced when he carried out research into the pebbles on the beach to which his parents took him each year for a seaside holiday. He became so engrossed in this task that his parents frequently forgot to take him home. However, when he had reached his late teens, he proposed his universally unaccepted proposition that pebbles had ceased communicating when they realised that it was for them completely unnecessary.

As a young man, he went to several universities, where he was keenly encouraged by every lecturer he met to concentrate upon his immediate departure as they were rather too busy to listen to him. After a great deal of persistence on his part, he was eventually granted a chair at a well-known university in the English home counties. It was in the corridor outside the Vice-Chancellorís office. When he arrived home with it, his mother told him to paint it so that it would match the other chairs, and so began his long and significantly unrecognised career in Art.

The pinnacle of his life-long dedication might have arisen in the field of mechanocyclic entomology but it went unnoticed by anyone else in the field. Due to a train of unfortunate misunderstandings, he had left the gate open, the chickens had strayed, and the chickenherds had left the field when they went to search of them.

Sir Isambard at that stage had been studying the interaction between flies and wheelbarrows and had astutely observed that the former had little or no idea of the concept of the wheel although they made abundant use of the contents of the barrow. This became obvious to him while he studied the manner in which the flies continually alighted on the wheel, performed the functions normal to a fly, and commenced to explore the entire rim. The fascination of the fly for the wheel led Sir Isambard to conclude that in primordial times the fly had actually invented the wheel but, having done so, had no idea what to do with it and had therefore assigned that task to another form of life.

Between World War I and World War II, the museums and art galleries of Britain held many examples of his generously donated work. The many displays were short-lived as the cleaners found them and consigned them to what they considered to be appropriate receptacles outside the back door. We can only say, under the sad circumstances, that their loss was our gain.

Official Home Office records give us very little information about Sir Isambard and are noticeably reticent on the bestowal of his knighthood. In his declining years, when he was provided with his own private accommodation in a residential care home for the epistemologically challenged, he stated quite clearly and on numerous occasions that he had a certificate to prove it.

It was without fanfare that he passed from among us. He must now surely rank as the research scientist who gave the least to mankind through so much effort over the longest period. The world would indeed be a very dull place without persons of the likes of Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryme.

© Copyright 2006 Brian Barratt


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