If there is a Satan, fellow travellers on this hurtling ball of cosmic mud, it is friction. If there is one insidious force robbing our daily toil of its intended efﬁciency, it is friction. If there is one plague the great minds of all nations must join together to cure, it is the tyranny that friction has established over all natural processes. Without bringing its cruel reign to an end, the human race will never take its place among the gods.
Friction! The very sound of the word is harsh and brutal. And why should it not be so? Think of friction’s perverse campaign of obstruction—every step you take, from cradle to grave, hampered by friction’s invisible presence. Your workplace travail, encumbered by its wraithlike weight. Mankind’s efforts, thwarted at every turn by the demon friction, without whose evil obstruction we would long ago have broken the surly bonds of Earth to tread the soil of distant worlds. But most horrifying of all is the manner in which friction’s tendrils have curled their way into the heart of the mundane.
Horrible to contemplate, yet true! Not even Everyman, oblivious to his plight as he trudges along through his narrow grey world, can be free from a force of whose nature he is all but ignorant. Does he know or care that friction lights the match that in turn lends its hellish ﬁre to his coarse, foul-smelling, carcinogenic tobacco? Does he know that the liquor he throws down his gullet with such abandon is also friction’s evil by-product?
But the curse of all humanity, the albatross around the neck of the mariner tossed on the uncaring depths of existence, is not the fault of noble mankind. Indeed, you have, like as not, anticipated the culprit: Friction! Yes, fellow humans, we are once again faced with friction’s grasping ambition, and in this case our own nature. For I bring into the light this day a revelation: Without friction, we would no longer take the furtive, bestial, unclean pleasure in sex from which our race has suffered since the day we developed chromosomes. A kind of friction is responsible for our love of sexual congress, and therefore friction is responsible for the seamiest strains of moral failure. No longer shall conniving theologians point the gaunt ﬁngers of an ignorant and destroying hand at the sciences and lay the blame for our too-permissive society at the feet of Athena. Rather, we have found the reason for our perverse society in the oldest of mankind’s enemies: yes, I say again, that enemy is friction.
The groveling spasm of our sexuality shall hold no sway over our godlike race if we can only defeat the specter of frictive forces. To that end, I propose that the defense budget be written so as to devote a larger fraction of our nation’s tax revenue to ﬁght the unclean corruptor of all that is pure in thought or deed, namely friction, that one day our children’s children shall walk in the chaste cool light of a frictionless dawn. Only in this fashion may mankind shed his ancient skin of the ﬂesh and aspire to his true destiny—to reach the stars. O