My Brain Rickshaw

Rickshaw in Kolkata, India


I like to picture myself as a machine, churning forward while burning a combination of calories, fatty tissue and expectations.

Utilizing laws like thermodynamics and making clever uses of the Earth’s own gravitational pull, I hurl my machinated body toward problems and with a whirrrrrr and a series of clicks, I begin to process them, rearranging metal beads on my internal abacus and spouting out a torrential downpour of printed paper containing mathematical ephemera, moderately inappropriate quotations and the occasional doodle of a chimpanzee.

But this mental metaphor isn’t quite right, because there is a power source present in everything that I do which doesn’t fit within the steam punk schema of an entrepreneurial mechanical turk.

Perhaps I’m more like a rickshaw, pulled by the most basic physical functions of a human being, but supplemented by gears and sprockets and education and Pareto Principle-like shortcuts.

As I softly pedal, using the least amount of energy I can possibly expend on such a task, my mental spokes spin faster and faster, and as a result of the machine on which I metaphorically perch, every unit of energy spent results in a drastically-increased amount of effort or ingenuity or imagination gained.

Yes, I think I could be okay being a rickshaw.

It doesn’t have the immense speed and maneuverability of a motorcycle, but it also doesn’t have the downsides: the pollution, the cost, the danger of an accident or fuel-ignition or just tipping over. It allows me to get where I’m going when I want to go there.

But more importantly — with little extra expenditure of energy — it also allows me to take several other people along for the ride.