Sir: Why are there still hills?
Since the days of Jack and Jill, it has been a well-known fact that hills are a danger to life and limb. But far worse than that, they are a drain on our economy.
Hills waste fuel. Land-based vehicles expend far more fuel in hill-infested districts than they do in rationally flat areas. At a time when we are attempting to limit our consumption of fossil fuels except when it suits us to do otherwise, this is an unconscionable prodigality. Highways and railroads must be adapted to hill-hobbled terrain at ruinous expense. Most of the so-called “infrastructure” problems I hear so much wittering about could be solved instantly by simply eliminating the hills.
Hills also obstruct views. Large predatory beasts could be stalking us, but we might never know it in a district where hills have been allowed to run riot. Because I cannot see past the hills on the horizon, I am forced to assume that a large predatory beast may be stalking me at any given moment. This makes relaxation difficult, and often provokes insensitive remarks from neighbors who ought to be attending to their own predatory stalkers rather than worrying so much about why I carry a harpoon gun when I go out at night. Nor will I listen to any foolish talk about the advantages or aesthetic pleasures of the view from certain hilltop lookouts. If the landscape were organized on rational principles, towers could be built to provide those views more efficiently and with less danger to innocent citizens.
Did you know that three out of four natural disasters are hill-related? The fact that I made up that statistic without any research should not prevent your readers from taking it seriously. They have only to look at the nature of natural disasters to see that it is true. Where do floods begin? With water flowing downhill! Have you ever heard of a landslide on a plain? Of course not! And earthquakes are mere artifacts of the hill-manufacturing process.
In past ages we simply lacked the technology to address the hill problem. But this is no longer the case. It is long past time we put our landscape on a sound scientific footing. A gentle slope up from the shoreline should terminate in a plateau stretching uniformly from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Those parts of the country afflicted with excess height can provide the materials for building up Florida and Louisiana and suchlike places where a negligent Creator has left the landscape undesirably close to sea level.
Ideally our government should be doing its job, rationalizing the landscape for the benefit of all its citizens. But since our government is inexcusably recalcitrant, it has become clear that individual action is required. Beginning tomorrow morning, I shall be walking the Appalachian Trail in the direction of Mount Katahdin, and I shall have a spade with me.
Garson Prake, M.D.
South Side Slopes