} Oh overly cautious supplicant,
} Okay, kid, keep it cool. Put the baby down, give Gandhi's glasses
} back, and let go of Mother Theresa's habit. No need for such caution,
} we're all friends here, just relax... that's right... yes... Okay.
} Good. Have a seat.
} Now, normally I'd just gently zot you at this point and send you on
} your way. The Oracle knows all, but doesn't necessarily tell all...
} there are some answers the mere human mind isn't ready for. But this
} is a special case. You're obviously a determined individual, and if I
} don't give you some kind of answer you're going to go do something
} irrational. No, put the Barney doll DOWN. He can't help you now.
} That's fine. Sit back. You maybe want a drink?
} Now pay close attention. Once upon a time, woodchucks COULD chuck
} wood, all the wood they wanted, and they did it a lot. The hillsides
} were covered with chucked wood. Nothing but chucked wood, as far as the
} eye could see. As each piece was chucked, it fell to the ground, making
} a horrible noise -- even when there was nobody around to hear it.
} (This was around the same time that pin-dancing became such a fad among
} the Anglos... No, I said _ANGLOS_, the other was a mistranslation.
} Tribes of Celtic nomads used to gather together every solstice to dance
} on the stumps of pine trees and celebrate the season's chucking. Pine
} trees, I said. PINE. What's the matter, you got something in your
} ears? Pine-dancing. Pay attention.)
} Now all this was well and good, until one day one of the Anglos heard
} someone scratching at the door of his tent. Yes, they lived in tents in
} those days. Stop interrupting or I'll never finish. He lifted the
} tenflap, and to his surprise he saw a -- well, let's just say it was a
} mammal. With big eyes. From Madagascar. What? No, I don't have
} anything against Madagascar. I did NOT sound angry just then! I had
} something caught in my throat. Never mind. Are you going to let me
} finish this story or not?
} So this -- this _mammal_, he asked the Anglo whether he thought it was
} right that the woodchucks got to do all the chucking, when the Anglos
} had to spend all day dancing around on pine stumps. 'Why don't YOU
} do some of the chucking,' asked the mammal. The Anglo thought about it
} for a minute, decided that chucking wood did sound like it'd be a lot
} of fun, but he didn't know how it was done, and thought he'd better
} stick to what he knew. Like pine-dancing.
} 'Follow me,' answered the mammal, and led the Anglo up the hillside.
} 'Hush,' cautioned the mammal, as they neared the top; 'be quiet! Here,
} hang on to my tail, I'll lead you the rest of the way.' So carefully,
} stealthily, the Anglo and the mammal snuck the rest of the way up
} the hillside, and hid themselves behind a convenient oak stump which
} was there. 'Look,' said the mammal, and the Anglo carefully peeked
} over the stump, where to his amazement he saw -- what, your drink's
} empty already? Hang on, hang on... I could use another myself... all
} this talking... Now, where was I? Oh yes.
} Well, he saw the woodchucks, of course; great herds of woodchucks doing
} what they do best. Mighty forests fell before the powerful woodchucks,
} and as the Anglo watched he felt an ancient jealousy and strength swell
} within him. He flexed his muscles, made limber and supple by years of
} pine-dancing, and said to himself, "Hell, I can do that!"
} And so he did -- the very next day he gathered up a bunch of the
} Anglos, told them to stop dancing, and they set to chucking wood. And
} they were good at it. My, they were good. They went on chucking right
} past the amazed woodchucks, chucked the whole island before sundown,
} and built themselves little log cabins to rest in. Here, have another
} drink. Go on, take the bottle.
} Well, the next day, they were out of trees -- the woodchucks were kind
} of wandering around, kicking things, muttering to themselves, and the
} Anglos gathered in what used to be a nice grove of aspen and had
} themselves a discussion. Wasn't long before one of the Anglos said to
} the group, 'Hey, why stop at chucking wood? We can chuck anything we
} want to!' (Later on, when someone asked him how he came up with the
} idea, he admitted that a little furry guy with a ringed tail had given
} him the idea.) So the Anglos started chucking stones, and they moved
} out of their log cabins into little stone buildings, and later on big
} castles. Pretty soon they had to invent new things to chuck, and
} started chucking bronze, then steel, iron, concrete, complex polymers,
} and silicon microcircuitry. They spread off the island, chucking
} everything in their path, until finally one group of Anglos chucked
} something really huge and powerful at another group of Anglos, and the
} whole world turned into one huge chuckhole, forever and ever amen.
} But you asked about the woodchucks, right? Sorry, I wandered off the
} topic. It's been a long day -- you wouldn't... hey, guy? Hello? Are
} you with me? Geez, what'd you do, drink the whole bottle? Hey, wake
} up! Yo! Hey Supplicant!! WAKE UP!!!
} Alice? This is Orrie... could you send a couple of priests up here to
} take care of a supplicant? He's had a bit too much truth for one day;
} I think he needs to sleep it off. That's right, room 1. Thanks, Alice.
} You're a peach. No, I'm fine, just a little tired. Thanks for asking.
} G'bye, Alice.
} You owe the Oracle a new bottle, of a good vintage. The Oracle doesn't
} drink the cheap stuff.