In old times before we adopted the standard units of measure, things were measured by arbitrary things such as a kings foot, finger, big toe, the length of hi noes and his outstretched arms. Below is my essay about some of those things. I attempted a story explaining some of it but it is not my best work. A funny read though😅
“Are you ready Samuel?” The professor looked eager and excited. “You must remember all I have taught you. Did you change your clothes?” “Yes sir!” I replied. I believe I was even more nervous than he was. “Then quickly! Please enter the machine!” I could feel the pressure of this decision. After months of training, years of study. I was not feeling cold feet, but I was struck by the gravity of the situation. “It’s now or never!” I quickly stepped in the machine and buckled myself in. As the professor would tell me later, there was a flash of light, and I vanished from the world we know.
I blinked my eyes. I could hear nothing but the sound of my thoughts screaming. You are here! You did it! Oh, My, Sweet, Lordy, Heavens! First, I checked my clothing, I was arrayed in a simple brown tunic, soft pants and around my waist was a brown belt. My dearly loved belt. I had packed all the things I would need for this trip inside it. I felt the cap on my head. It was soft, in fact, it was the only thing I wore that I could not buy. I had my sister make it for me. Little did Susan know why I needed it. All around me was forest. In my world there were tall buildings, roads, cars. Here there was peace and quiet, birds, and to be perfectly honest I was not enjoying it. I wish the professor and I could have found a map of the area. Yet, anything of the like had been destroyed years ago or was too withered to help us much. I struck out north. Lucky me, I could still use a compass. It took a few hours but the trees eventually began to thin and the sounds of human beings emerged from the quiet. It was a small town. I started to run. The stillness was overwhelming. I approached the center of the town. People all around me were clothed as if they had left off the pages of a storybook. I wanted to speak to everyone. Touch everything. But I had a job to do. I had to speak to the man who would help start the change that would create the system we know today, of units.
I found the schoolhouse fairly easy. It was a small town and it did not even warrant a question of a passerby. It was a Sunday afternoon and the schoolmaster was preparing his Monday lesson. “Excuse me sir.” I called. He turned around to meet my gaze. I would not call him handsome, nor ugly. He was a plain man at best. He had hazel brown eyes and a sad looking smile. His Hight seemed to be close to five feet eleven inches.
“Yes? How may I help you young man?”
“My name is Samuel Welsch. I would like to know what Monday’s lesson is.”
“Greetings Samuel, why are you interested?”
I am here in my father’s stead. Our family will be moving to this town shortly and we wish to see about the schooling.” A little white lie, but really nothing serious. It is not as if I could tell him the truth.
“We will be glad to welcome you to our town. It is a simple lesson really. We will start with reading, writing, then we will discuss the new monarch and study the new units of measure.”
“Excuse me sir, the new units?” Of course, I knew what he was talking about. This is what I came to study.
“Where have you been young Samuel? The king has died. The old measurements have been changed and we must learn the new ones. It is such a worry to us teachers when monarchs pass on.”
“You mean to tell me that when the king dies the new king changes how we measure the world?”
“Are you mad?” He looked astonished. “Have you ever attended school?”
“No sir,” Another lie. “ my family has always been very poor, recently one of our elder relations passed on and she left us her fortune. My father was able to pay off our debts and we decided to move here so my sister and I could attend school and learn. He and my mother wish us to have a proper education. I suppose my parents know of such things but our family has not often found the time to discuss them.” Lying was bad, but at least parts of it were true. I did have a sister and my mother and father were poor.
“I suppose that would explain it. Young man, you need to come to school. When the king dies measurements change. Things are measured based on the king’s waistline, foot and noes length, his outstretched arms and the width of his nose and the top of his finger.”
“That is ridiculous!” I exclaimed. “Why would we do that?”
“That is the way it was set up by kings of old.” He sighed, “ I wish we had a way of keeping the measurements the same.”
“No one could convince the king of making the new units of measure a standard for generations to come? It seems to me to be a much easier way to measure if everyone followed the same rules.”
“It would need to be a person of high importance and who’s to say the king would follow it. Even if he would, the next monarch would want his own measurements.”
I thought about this for a while. “But if the king did make a new system would not the new rulers see that these methods work well for their people?”
“It could possibly happen. What makes you so interested in it?”
Oh boy, there he had me. What was I supposed to say. Well sir, I’m from the future and I’m trying to see what teachers thought about the changing of units through time blah blah blah? I went with, “Well sir, I have never heard of these things although it makes great sense to me to have one set of rules to follow for measurements that everyone uses.”
“If your family decides to study here I will teach you the new standards and those will help you until this king dies. He may outlive you and then you will not be pressed to learn the new ones. If you really want to learn more about it we can discuss it. I am free at the moment.”
We talked about the unit system for an hour or so. I asked questions and he answered. He seem to really want a change in the system. I had data to take back to the professor but I needed to hurry. Already I was behind in my schedule. I ran from the town after thanking the teacher for his time. I still don’t know his name. Luckily, I had remembered to drop the professor’s liquid trail on my way into town and it glowed very faintly in the dusk of night. When the trail vanished, I knew I had arrived back where I started. I took from my belt the potion and battery that we had devised. I poured the vial over my head and attached the battery to the wire that subtly ran throughout my clothes. I pressed the button and nothing happened. I panicked for a moment. The electricity should have reacted with the potion and pulled me towards my own time. The professor believed it would be much simpler to return to the future, than it would be to push me back in time. Was he wrong? As I thought these things, I was suddenly made aware that I was glowing. I felt queasy and then I was gone. In another flash of light, I appeared next to the professor. He had been asleep when I returned but the flash and my outcry woke him. “I’m sorry Samuel, but with you gone I was stressed until my body could not handle anymore and I must have passed out.” He seemed ashamed. “Now tell me, what happened!” I eagerly opened my mouth to speak.
One thought on “A New System”
People have been fascinated with time thing in forever. A story making us want for more.