moments in great thinking

On my way to the gym before work, I take an escalator up out of the train station to the street, and I have to admit, it’s probably the best part of my morning.

As I walk up the steps (I will cut you if you stand in my way on an escalator) there is this robotic recording playing telling me to “Have a nice day” and “Please lean forward on the steps.” It’s all very Nice And Good.  Every time it wishes me a good day, I nod and think, “You too, my friendly robotic steps.”

It can be such a good experience that it often gets me thinking about how escalators came to be. Who was the guy that one day decided that it is just ridiculous that steps don’t move for you?

Escalator Inventor Dude: [Walking up a flight of stairs, he pauses, and looks down at them] “I’ve got to tell you, there has gotta be a better way than this.”

Dude’s Friend Who Sometimes Eats Waffles: [Stops abruptly behind his friend, looks up at him quizzically] “What are you talking about?  They’re steps.”

Escalator Inventor Dude: “Well, why don’t these damn steps do some work?  I mean, they just sit there and make us do everything.  They think they’re so smart too.  Just look at them – look at them!”

Dude’s Friend Who Sometimes Eats Waffles: [Looks down at the steps] “Man, my shoes are just sub-par.”

Escalator Inventor Dude: [Increasingly frustrated] “What?  No dude.  Don’t worry about your shoes.  I’ve got something better than that, I’m going to invent stairs – that move for you!  No more doing all the work yourself – oh no – the stairs will be working for us now!”

Dude’s Friend Who Sometimes Eats Waffles: [Still looking at his shoes] “I don’t know what I was thinking wearing these.”

It truly takes a man of brilliance to come up with the idea to make stairs move.  The only guy who trumped the person who invented escalators was the man who invented elevators.  He just wanted to walk into a box and have it take you places – now that’s ingenuity.


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41 responses to “moments in great thinking

  1. Matt

    or how about those flat escalators that just let you stand there instead of actually walking?

    sidenote- how is this post related to “Dude, the Man Bra is all the Rage in Japan”.

    Its obvious you have been writing too much about fashion lately.

    Yes, very obvious.

  2. You’re the dude’s friend who sometimes eats waffles and is examining his shoes huh? I know this because you twitter about what you wear, a lot.

    Haha – are you telling me I have a problem?

  3. Escalators kill people, Chris.

    Be careful out there Mr. Daredevil.

    I throw caution to the wind!

  4. Slacker ingenuity…When stoner’s unite for the cause of laziness.


  5. Crissy is right…my grandmother once saw someone get eaten by an escalator. True story.

    That sounds pretty gruesome.

  6. Definitely a good invention. So when will they invent auto-driver? It would help my stress levels so much with all the douches on the road sodomizing my bumper.

    I really want to say something inappropriate about sodomizing bumpers right now.

  7. and what are your thoughts on the moving walkway?

    I actually didn’t even think of that when I wrote this – how lame am I?

  8. CapriceClassic

    I’d hate to be in your way on an escalator.

    It’s not a good thing.

  9. It’s a good thing he wasn’t with the friend who sometimes ate pancakes that day or we’d probably all still be walking up steps.

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  10. Exactly what are you cutting people with? You don’t seem like the shanking type…

    I’m cutting them with my wit! Right? Maybe not.

  11. That story was riveting, but I kept thinking the waffle dude was going to come up with some kind of waffle/shoe marriage made in heaven invention.

    Ah, to dream!

  12. ok, i can’t help but wonder if the inspiration for waffle dude with ugly shoes was possibly derived from those heinous brown construction clogs you posted on twit pic a few days ago?? (i won’t judge)

    but really…what WERE you thinking? ha!

    Hahaha – listen – it was the worst snow storm here the entire winter, and I wasn’t about to ruin my dress shoes over one day of snow, so I was like, “Fuck it!” It was pretty hardcore. I looked like a crazy person.

  13. Escalator kinda scare me. I don’t know why but I always get worried my shoelace will get stuck or something. I might just be paranoid.

    What’s the saying – just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you?

  14. And waffle guy was Bill Bowerman, right?


  15. I find it enjoyable that you take an elevator on your way to workout.

    Haha – hey, at least I take the stairs at the gym. There are people who take a fucking elevator two flights at my gym.

  16. Well…for you to know 😛 In my third world city..we only have two of them is at the entrance of hoyts general cinema, at the shopping centre, but it hasn’t worked…forever, so…we just take the stairs, that are next to it.
    The other one does work and it’s at the airport…and you have no idea the feeling it provides you with..I mean, really! It’s agh…like “Ahhh! civilisation has finally arrived” 🙂 really. (but no one goes to the airport everyday..just twice a year or’s like a toy for us)

    That is pretty crazy to think about.

  17. And what about those moving sidewalks throughout cities that we were supposed to get? Once that comes along, it will make Americans even more out of shape and lazy.

    Fatter Americans! Yay!

  18. sridevi

    Oh, and I kept thinking all this while that the Escalator Inventor Dude got the idea from that Tom & Jerry episode where Tom goes to heaven on the golden escalator!

    Hmm…. Haven’t seen that one.

  19. My mother is terrified of escalators because she’s fat and can’t see the steps below her belly.

    And when I was a kid I was terrified of getting stuck in an elevator.

    This made it hard for us to shop anywhere other than the first floor of department stores. I wore a lot of kitchen aid mixers and makeup.

    Well, at least they were Kitchen Aide, the finest brand available.

  20. the kind of guy that invents escalators is totally the kind of guy i would date. at least be a do it buddy for a while in awe and gratitude. i am turned on by concerted efforts to be lazy.

    Do it buddies are the best kind of buddies.

  21. Ben

    I invented the orange juice diet but I can’t lay claim to it because it’s generally very, very unhealthy for you.

    Still….I invented it.

    That’s more than I can say about myself.

  22. when they make rolling sidewalks for all trucks to glide on ABOVE the city so they don’t pollute the entire freaking globe… then I’ll be impressed.

    although – i am damn glad for escalators at the metro. some of those climbs are STEEP


  23. I’ll take an escalator over an elevator anyday. No one ever got stuck in an escalator. Unless your shoelaces were untied, and that’s your own fault so you can’t complain.

    Although, that haven’t been very many cool action scenes in escalator shafts (they don’t even exist). So maybe elevators are better.

    I’m conflicted.

    You have conflicted me.

  24. I have to say I love escalator. I wish my school has one. A lot of crazy steps.

    I wish it did too.

  25. Can we also tip our hats, or booze in our mouths if we’re not wearing hats, to the guy who invented going the wrong way on an escalator? Because that right there is the definition of a true rebel. Then we should shoot him because what better way for a rebel to go?

    I think that’s the best solution.

  26. Eh, I’m still waiting for the Willy Wonka elevator – oh, you know the one. But I’m thinking that’ll come WAY after the hoverboards, and I’m not yet holding my breath for those either.

    I know, it’s sad.

  27. jay grochalski

    i’m afraid of bother escalators and elevators. i hope both of these inventors burn in hell.

    They can be pretty daunting when you’re drunk, for sure.

  28. I used to be so afraid of escalators when I was a kid. You know how there’s a green light inside of them? I always thought an evil Leprachaun lived in there and was going to snatch me up when I stepped on.

  29. bex

    Have you seen the picture of the escalator outside 24-hour Fitness? Aka When Dumb People Ruin Smart Things.

  30. What about the guy who thought up the moving sidewalk? Now that was a genius fete. How on earth would we traverse a large airport without it?

  31. Until Aerosmith writes a song about escalators this post holds true – but you better hope Steven Tyler isn’t in a recording studio right now.

  32. I wish I were clever enough to invent something to make us even lazier than we normally are. I love being lazy.

  33. The waffle guy looking at his shoes may seem like the slacker now, but you just wait until he invents shoes that turn EVERY stairway into an escalator, EVERY sidewalk into a moving sidewalk. That guy is the true visionary. You just wait.

  34. yeah, a lot of people are onto to this already but I kept thinking of that Seinfeld episode when reading this. George talking about moving sideways and how he doesn’t want to go walking now, coz he’ s gonna expect moving sideways and when they don’t he’ll be too disappointed to move and I might just shut up already.

  35. ‘sideways?’ sidewalks idiot

  36. bwp

    Escalators make me nervous because I always worry my pant leg will get stuck and I will be sucked down into escalator hell.

  37. Maybe someone has said this definitely reminded me of one of my favorite Mitch Hedberg quotes of all time:

    “An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

  38. My grammar in that first sentence is truly remarkable. I should probably get some sleep and/or stop drinking.

  39. Jess

    you walk up the escelator? the whole point is you stand there and chill while it does all the work for you, just walk up the normal stairs!

    plonker! :p

  40. That robotic voice should instruct people to stay to the right if they are just going to stand. That is especially infuriating on those moving sidewalks in the airport. Moving sidewalks! Moving stairs! Are we lazy or what?

  41. Excellent post – love the dialogue. Add the guy who invented moving sidewalks to your list.

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