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Squid #382
(published May 15, 2008)
Ask the Giant Squid: Of Transit Public and Private
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid,

What's the best way to get to work?


Dear Numeric String,

Your question is intriguing for many reasons, chiefly that you fail to include any pertinent data along with your request. Where do you live, my dear 24? Where do you work? If, perhaps, you reside in the apocalyptic island state of Hawaii, and you work in the snowy paradise of Northern Dakota, then a plane or jetpack is likely the best way to get to work, where-as if you should happen to reside in the hearts of children everywhere and work within Chicago's Loop, then a stout pair of autopsy shears will commend themselves far better than any velocipede or moto-rikshaw.

But even then, a word vexes me: Best. What can "best" mean in these circumstances? What, dear 24, are your priorities? If efficiency is what you crave, then a bicycle, your own limbs, or a solar-powered autogyro may be best. If speed is what you term best, then 20,000-league boots, a rocket, or quantum teleportation device would surely be best. But let us assume you to be a rational actor in this world, and by "best" you are envisioning some negotiation amongst swiftness, safety, expense, and convenience. A compromise between cost and conveyance. A bargain struck between the twin unholy powers of price and power.

As for my own enormous and glorious bulk, I live at my work, not unlike the noble hamster, merrily spinning his wheel but inches from where he defecates, dines, and rests his tiny, fuzzed cranium. My tank is a scant hallway from the desks and cubicles of those in my employ, so that they might toil beneath the weight of the flawless gaze of my tirelessly watchful eye. Past that is Leeks' office, where the accountancy is made to occur. And further on is the elevator that leads to the garage, to the workshops, the feeding kennels and to the roof. Our new landlords have proven amenable to the current arrangement, especially with some palm-greasing via Rob. Rob is well-versed in the greasiness of palms. It is, in many manners, his lone and native art, much as the whippoorwill sings his melancholy song, the hamster spins his wool, or the chimpanzee produces Reality Televisual Programing.

The best way to get to work is to live at work and to work where you live. Molly has seen the wisdom in this reasoning and has begun "telecommunicating" to work. Do not panic! She has not slipped beyond this Veil of Tears, as I first thought her to mean when she submitted her request. No, as it turns out, "telecommunicating" does not require the services of a medium, crystal ball and unsteady table in a dim, velvet curtained room, but simply the lap's top computer, the broadband connect to the worldwide Internet, a narrow bed for which to lie in, and many disposable tissues for your ceaseless weeping. Also a great portion of Mrs. Starbuck's patented bottled frap-or-chinos beverage and chocolate bars.

As best I can cipher, the best-ness of a means of travel varies based upon distance. An equation is easily wrought from this, and has been confirmed by both Mr. Leeks and his wondrous chicken: Distance divided by Time In Transit By Rapid Individual Conveyance (TITBRIC) equals forty five. Or,

D / TITBRIC = 45

Research into human behavior has shown that forty-five minutes is the historical average commutationing time span for adults proceeding to work. To short of a commute, and the worker becomes flip and vivacious, and plots either advancement or revolt. Too long of the commute and ultimately, after years upon years of the commute, she arrives to work with a small portion fo thallium or large caliber of pistol, and does execute a series of "right sizing" measures which may, or may not, in the final analysis yield a per-share benefit to stockholders.

In the rawest of terms, digested for your shallow simian mind, this means that the farther from work you live, the faster a vehicle you need posses. If you live but a mile or three from your place of employment and the weather is clement, please walk. If you live but feet from your workplace, you may need to crawl or slither in order to stretch the commute to the prescribed three-quarters hour. Walking is healthy, produces few emissions, and is what your laughably ungainly bodies have evolved to do. It is sadly amusing, but plainly true. It is for why you have such big butts (and I cannot lie, although I have heard tell that some other brothers might well deny). If you live more than three but fewer than ten miles, please consider the cycle, bicycle, tricycle, or polycycle. The workings are mysterious and magical, but the end result is an agile and fleet human hurtling through space by the power of their thighs. This also makes for an especially taste human, provided he or she is fattened in a restrictive pen and fed a grain diet for no fewer than six weeks preceeding the slaughter. If a bicycle is difficult to maneuver, please consider also the Public Transportation Grid of autobuses, subway metros, and elevated taxis. These efficiently haul human freight back and forth across a landscape in a way that allows you to meet many other humans under the worst of conceivable conditions, both social and sanitational. A separate method is the motorized pedestrian vehicle, also called The Moped. These combine the strengths of the bicycle (maneuverability, ease of maintenance, parking, a flashy impression of derring-do) with the economic benefits of conspicuous fuel-consumption of the car. Please see also: the scooters, the segways, the segues, the rail-less rocketsleds.

If your labor takes you more than ten miles from your home, or your city lacks any publicly available transit solutions, please consider the auto-mobile or ipso-kineticon a viable solution. They are expensive to maintain, difficult to insure, deadly to animals, sharp of edge, red in tooth and claw, and avid gobblers of resources. But when times of crisis fall upon you on the road you may "car pool" and form larger vehicles much like how the Pilgrims, led by John Wayne, circled their wagons to defend from indigenous Mormon attacks. It is this modular defense mechanism that makes cars the vehicles of choice in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of California and Australia. Similarly, one appears quite dashing within his or her auto-kineticon, within which he or she might also make the sex long time, an important American recreation.

Other transit options are best left to specialists. The following methods are expressly used by professional in their fields. If you have not been issued one of these by your employer, please do not attempt to commandeer one for personal use: Submarines; Supramarines; Supermarines; Intermarines; Exomarines; Jetplanes; Jetpacks; Autogyros; Manual gyros; Kittyhawks; Chickenhawks; Anti-gravity generators; Pro-gravity generators; Inertial buffers, absorbers, or nullifiers; Bears; Moose; Moose and Squirrel; Owlbears; Bi-planes; Gay-planes; Lesbian-planes; Boats of any kind (excepting Ferries, Fairies, Faeries, and rowboats); Spacecraft; Starcraft; Stargates; Spacegates; Gatecraft; Craftgates; Goats; Horsen; Oxes; Sleipner the eight-legged son of Loki; Chariots (waivers issue to Romans, Charlton Heston, and any form of Jesus).

Good luck to you, dear 24. May Hermes himself speed you on your way.

I Remain,
At Work,
Your Giant Squid

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