My Family Invented the Wheel (and Other Lies)

She should THANK my ancestors for her swing!

Nobody knows this, but an ancestor of the Minicozzi family invented the wheel.

Back in the 3,000s BC, the ancestors of the Minicozzis lived in Mesopotamia. Nowadays we call it Iraq, but back then they called it Mesopotamia because they didn’t know any better. They were weird about everything in those times. For example, if they wanted to write anything, they had to flatten a piece of wet clay, dig into it with a stick and then bake it. This was okay if you were just writing a receipt for a couple of goats, but it was a pain in the butt if you were writing a novel.

My distant ancestor was Minninun of Ur, also known as Crazy Minni. He was a potter by trade. (Some of his work can be found in museums all over the world. Unfortunately, they are not for sale, even to people who are dying to have pieces of 5,000-year-old water jars in their houses.) His pots and plates and goblets were very popular, and he sold them all over the country. His most popular item was a goblet with an inscription that read, “My family went to Ur of the Chaldees and all I got was this lousy goblet.” He made that inscription up all by himself, and the piece was a bestseller.

At that time, travel was difficult. To transport a heavy load of breakable pottery from one place to another, you had to pack each piece in blankets filled with air, put them on a big cart with square stones on the bottom, and pull, lift and push the cart along the mostly dirt roads. A guy with a lot of muscles could make a good living as a pottery courier. They even had a union.

Minninun became frustrated with the difficulty of moving a cart with square rocks on the bottom, which was an idiotic idea to begin with. One day he was working on a new vase when he looked down and noticed how fast his potter’s wheel was going. Suddenly, he got a brilliant idea. This didn’t happen to Minninun very often, and he wanted to hold onto this epiphany before he lost it. He went outside, took the square wheels off his cart, ground them into a round shape, shoved the wheels back into the axels and gave the cart a push. He was on top of a hill, and the cart took off without him, careened down the slope and crashed into a tree, splintering into pieces, one of which bonked a passerby on the head and knocked him out. Minninun made a mental note to get ready for a lawsuit and to order a new cart with round wheels.

Ancient Mesopotamia didn’t have a patent office, so everybody started using round wheels for transportation. Round wheels became THE state-of-the-art technology. If you didn’t have round wheels, you weren’t keeping up with the times. Minninun didn’t make any money from inventing the wheel, so he kept slaving away at pottery making until he finally retired and moved to a luxury condo in Persia.

I’ll let you in on some more family history as soon as I make some up.

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5 thoughts on “My Family Invented the Wheel (and Other Lies)”

  1. The first stage to recovery for the family lies is to tell HO all about it so good for you.

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