The history of curling, Part 1: Make some ice

I was watching curling the other day. No, not Herself with her curling iron. Olympic curling.

That got me wondering about who first realized ice had a use. I mean, without it, curling would have had a tough way to go.

I imagine the inventor was a frazzled housewife in prehistoric times. I bet she got tired of her husband whining about drinking warm Coke when he and his buddies got home from a hard day stalking the wily mastodon. Finally, being the practical one in the family, she went high up a mountain and brought back some ice to shut him up. Everything went fine for a while, but going up the mountain every day was taking quite a bit of the good woman’s time.

I’m pretty sure what happened next was that she figured out how to make a long, narrow sheet of ice in the glade below their cave, intending to break it up into pieces. That way she would have a stockpile, freeing up valuable time to invent quantum mechanics, which was her true interest.

Of course, life immediately got in the way when a small tree branch fell onto the ice at the far end. So, she slid a heavy but smooth rock down the long surface to knock it away.

Well, when her husband trudged into their cave that evening, his wife wasn’t there. Worse, there was no gourd of ice-cold, thirst-quenching Coke. Being like all husbands through the ages, he grumbled around. Kicked the kids’ charcoal drawings on the cave walls. Poked at the pet pterodactyl in its cage. And generally behaved badly.

After a while, he went outside and stomped down to the glade where his wife might be. Lo, there she was, sliding smooth rocks along the ice, trying to get them as near the end as possible. A cave woman from the other side of the ridge was busily sweeping the ice with a switch from a nearby bush.

The cave man, still disgruntled about no gourd of icy Coke, figured he could beat his wife at this new game. (While he no doubt loved her dearly, this may have been the first recorded instance of the “guy thing.”)

His wife, of course, had been practicing all afternoon. She beat him so thoroughly that he swore he would never play again. Not only that, he wouldn’t be dragging home any more haunch of mastodon, either, unless there was going to be cold Coke waiting at his fire pit. He was so put out that he exclaimed, “So there! How do ya’ like that?”

Not to be outdone, the husband formed a team of his buddies. The wife formed her own team. Everyone competed fiercely at the slightest opportunity.

Now you know how curling came into being.  

The enormous amount of time devoted to curling through the ages also quite nicely explains why quantum mechanics was not invented until thousands of years later.

I feel better now that I understand the relationship between those two things. I do wish I had some tiny inkling as to exactly what quantum mechanics is.

Loren Fairman is a freelance humor writer living in the Federal Way-Kent area.

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