“Well, here, you see, it takes all you can do to stay in the same place. If you want to go somewhere else, you have to run at least twice as fast! “
Alice climbed the hill and looked at a field of dusty statues. Each showed a runner, dynamically posed. It was as if someone had charmed a marathon and frozen all participants for eternity.
Two plump little men scurried between the statues. They gestured emphatically and ran their fingers over the contours of the statues. When Alice got closer, they waved to her.
“Finally,” said the first man, his voice as deep as a bear’s. “This girl is going to put some sense into you.”
“I do not think so!” squeaked the second man, his voice like a cheap pipe. “I’m already full of meaning. I’m full to the brim with it. My mind couldn’t possibly use a touch of more mind. “
“Harrumph,” growled the first man. Then he turned to Alice, “Tell him girl. Which of these statues moves the fastest? “
Alice looked around. “These are statues! None of them move at all. “
The men, who had just been opponents, looked at each other and broke out in scornful laughter.
“Not moving!” screeched the high voice. “Look at those swinging arms, the moving legs, the hair thrown back in the wind! Of course they move.”
“Not moving!” roared the soft voice. “Look how far you lean forward! Why, if their momentum wouldn’t take them with them, they would fall over in a moment. “
‘If they move, why are they staying in the same place?’ Said Alice.
“Because of course we frozen them,” the high-pitched voice whistled.
Alice shivered. “Why?”
“Well, we wanted to know who is moving the fastest,” intoned the deep voice. “But they kept changing their speed – this one stormed forward a little faster, the other one got tired and began to brake. Oh, it was a nightmare to find the fastest runner when they even refused to keep a constant pace! “
“So we frozen them!” the high voice added. “No more changing speeds. It is much easier to identify the fastest. “
“Yes,” said Alice, “but speed is a matter of movement.”
The two men nodded.
“And because you frozen them,” Alice continued, “they don’t move anymore.”
“Exactly,” said the two voices at the same time.
“It is very difficult to measure a moving thing,” said a voice.
“Real estate is easy,” added the other.
“But,” stammered Alice, “how do you measure the speed of a person who is not moving?”
“We can do it as we want,” snorted the man in a low voice. “The question is how can you Measure it? “
“I can’t,” Alice admitted.
“Well, if you ask me,” the man growled in a low voice, “that shows an extraordinary lack of imagination.”
“And if you ask me“, The man interrupted in a high voice,” it shows quite a lot ordinary Lack of imagination. Which is even more regrettable. “
“But if you ask me“, The man insisted in a low voice,” Pity is the completely wrong reaction. To pity someone for who they are is terribly condescending. ”Before Alice could thank him, he went on,“ That stupid girl deserves our scorn and our scorn, but never our pity. ”
“Well, if you ask me“Alice interrupted,” I have no idea what any of you are talking about! “
“We did ask yourself, ”the man with the high voice scolded. “We asked you a simple question: which statue moves the fastest? And you refused to answer! “
Before she had to suffer another moment of it, Alice hurried off without a word and continued in the direction she had come. Soon the voices, both high and low, faded away in the distance until Alice finally heard a soft and final exchange between them.
“You have to admit, she’s pretty quick herself.”
“Quick? Please! This girl wouldn’t recognize ‘fast’ if she stood still in front of her.”