Who invented the first invention?

Bob settles back in his black leather chair, wisely knowing that nobody ever settles forth.

"The first invention," he rumbles, "Was actually by accident."

"Could you spell that name?" I asked.

"What name?"

"That Axi guy who invented the first invention," I peep, worried that he's going to think I'm dumber than a laundry hamper.

"No, no, no," he thunders impatiently, because smart people always thunder impatiently. "I meant that the first invention was simply by serendipity."

"S-A-R-A-H...," I spell out loud, because dumb people always spell out loud. Bob looks at me just as he might a laundry hamper and shakes his sage head.

"Dumber than a bag of nails," he mutters, which makes me feel a whole lot better, since nails are sharper then laundry. He begins again.

"The very first invention occurred in what we would consider 57,451 BC," he says slowly. "At a cave complex called Venshun, hence the name."

His strong, confident voice lulls me to doze and I only dreamily catch the rest of his explanation.

Archeologists, it seems, have established that early man living in Venshun were hunter-gatherers much like apes, only with better table manners. Largely brainless, they foraged for berries and nuts, even without ever knowing what foraged meant. Since they were also nervous and shy on account of not having invented clothing yet, they would hunt animals like the tapir, which were slow and defenceless and had much fewer teeth than the other animals around. They'd kill quickly with their bare hands and then scatter to hide behind nearby bushes before anybody came along to see them naked and slapping small animals, which they agreed was a silly way to spend an afternoon but what the heck, soap operas hadn't been invented yet.

According to Bob, one day one of these hunter-gatherers nick-named Ty was sitting by his cave entrance just before the sun came up. (I'm thinking that's why they're called early man, but don't want to interrupt Bob.) He turned to see his mate coming out of the cave and would have said "Good morning," but times of day wouldn't be invented for another fourteen hundred years.

Instead, he grunted, much like long-married spouses still do today.

Together, they sat among rotting berries and nuts and entrails and chewed thoughlessly on left-over tapir ears, trying not to notice that they were naked, much like long-married spouses still do today. It was a cool day, and Ty's mate was wishing that somebody would at least invent a bathrobe when a sudden gust of strong wind blew the nuts, berries, and animal guts right off the ground. Everything swirled around them for a few minutes, and Ty ended up with tapir intestines wrapped around his throat and trailing down his chest.

"Eck, Ty," sniffed his wife, which quickly became the accepted term for long, silly stuff wrapped around a man's neck. According to Bob, the word remained unchanged for 7,891 years, until the letter N was invented and added to the beginning.

I think that's the gist of what Bob explained, but I was still curious when he suddenly stopped talking and I came out of my doze. I settled forth and asked what happened to Ty.

"Nobody settles forth," boomed Bob smartly. "You're dumber than an egg carton."

But he did add that since he was the only guy who wore an eck-Ty, Ty became a life insurance salesman and was soon ignored by the entire tribe.

The End

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