RESEARCH DEPARTMENT of The History Maintenance Commission, NYC.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF IKEA WERE OUT OF ROUND TABLES WHEN KING ARTHUR ENQUIRED?
In a world devoid of King Arthur we could expect great people to hold back on their worthy deeds for fear of being awarded a knighthood and the tranquil lakes of Britain to become a hive of activity as a focal point for locating weapons of mass destruction. The findings of The Omphalos make for alarming reading and add considerable fuel to the drive to ensure that King Arthur isn’t ever waylaid from the path history has carved for him.
There can be no argument with the Omphalos’ conclusion that without King Arthur the sword would remain firmly embedded in the stone. By all accounts this was a fairly impressively sized rock too, hence the necessity to extract the blade from it for had it been unsubstantial a monarch could still wield the thing without encountering too much difficulty or unfair comment. We are talking so big that Richard III’s famous remark, attributed to him by William Shakespeare, ‘A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!’ at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, would have to now contain the additional instruction, ‘And a couple of sturdy elephants too, for to carry my ******* sword!’
It stands to reason, therefore, that nobody in their right mind would risk receiving a knighthood that involves having the monarch tap the recipient’s shoulders with their sword, for it would, in an Arthur less world, be attached to a two tonne chunk of rock that would require the whole of the King’s court and guard to haul it in the air just long enough for the ceremony to be completed. It would take the genius of Sir Isaac Newton with his Law of Gravity to figure that positioning oneself beneath a heavy elevated object was a perilous procedure with a one hundred percent chance of it ending badly for the poor sod between it and the ground it was attracted to. He would, of course, be just plain Isaac Newton as he would’ve sat upon his discovery rather than risk the acquisition of a knighthood and at the very least being maimed for life. In a similar vein, Christopher Wren, who would obtain a knighthood for his work on designing the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666, would, after his knighthood in 1673, totally redesign his crowning glory, St Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1711, to make it look like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, so that he would feel more at home with the large lump on his shoulder provided courtesy of his encounter with Charles II’s boulder entombed sword.
It stands to reason that potential knights would stop short of achieving greatness to avoid knighthoods. Humphrey Davy, for instance, inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, would simply leave these subterranean workers in the dark and just instruct them to feel around and dig at the face in front of them. Only if it says ‘Ouch!’ or emits puss should any alarm bells ring to the effect that the coal face isn’t being excavated. Similarly, Francis Chichester, who circumnavigated the world single-handed in his ketch Gipsy Moth IV in 1966-67, would simply set sail from Plymouth and then curtail his voyage in Le Havre, France, for fear that any further would risk him obtaining a knighthood.
Robert Peel would not endanger his life by forming the modern police force and risk the ultimate honour being bestowed upon him, instead he would send his designs for their blue uniforms to Chelsea Football Club and The Miami Marlins baseball franchise for their perusal.
Isaac Pitman, teacher of English Language and inventor of shorthand, a speedy writing system, would deliberately incorporate a stutter into his strokes to negate the advantages of his process.
Edward Elgar, composer of Pomp and Circumstance Marches and Enigma Variations would’ve felt compelled to cut the marches down to a stroll and steadfastly refuse to entertain any premise that Enigma could be played in more ways than one.
Edmund Hillary wouldn’t be the first man to climb Mount Everest. He would content himself by signing a petition to have an elevator installed, instead.
Humphry Davy would stop short of inventing a safety lamp for miners to use underground that would make him Sir Humphry Davy, instead he would invent a very unsafe lamp for miners to use above ground so that they felt no different when at work or in the home and would thus stop their incessant moaning.
Other potential knights would simply avoid being honoured by taking up occupations that are almost guaranteed not to be recognised with the reward of a gong. Jobs such as refuse collection operative, street cleaner, sewage worker or manager of Crewe Alexandria have been noticeably thin over the years in receiving honorific remuneration. Thus, the would be greats or notorious figures in British history would instead opt for knighthood free livelihoods such as Oswald Mosely, for instance, Britain’s most prominent fascist in the 1930’s, who would become a football league referee as it would enable him to still be known for wearing a black shirt and still be thought of as a bastard. Similar figures to take this route would be:
Joseph Paxton, the designer of The Crystal Palace, the huge iron and glass structure that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851, would become a window cleaner. However, he would keep the fact he could’ve constructed a building on the round with 294,000 panes of glass from his window cleaning boss in case it prejudiced him when it came to handing out Christmas bonuses to his staff.
Winston Churchill, Britain’s leader for the majority of World War II, would opt to become a boxing promoter so he could still employ his famous ‘We will fight them on the beaches’ speech, but set the bout at Madison Square Garden instead.
Walter Scott, Scotland’s great historical novelist, would become a dodgy used carriage salesman as if he could no longer put his efforts into Rob Roy he could at least rob his gullible fellow citizens in return for cack.
King Arthur’s sword Excalibur on one occasion killed 940 Saxon warriors. This qualifies it as a weapon of mass destruction and The Lady of the Lake, from whom he obtained it, as a sixth century major arms supplier. It therefore is not too unreasonable to suggest that in a world without King Arthur the lakes of the British Isles will be sourced for weapons of mass destruction on the understanding that nobody had yet tapped into this potential source of firearms. King Arthur himself, after all, must have got wind of this to have found himself lakeside negotiating with the lady who resided there for her catchment of arms. Which particular lake the lady frequents is, like a lot in Arthurian legend, rather ambiguous. It is difficult to pin her down, even more so considering that at the very least one would need decent scuba diving equipment and pegs that aren’t prone to rust.
As a consequence, British lakes in an Arthur-less world would not be the tranquil beauty spots associated with peace and creativity that they have become since King Arthur decommissioned them of their weaponry. Indeed, the likes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and William Wordsworth who collectively became known as ‘The Lake Poets’ for residing in the Lake District and composing verse inspired by the enchanting scenery they absorbed in there, would instead become known as ‘The Warmongering Poets’ and Wordsworth’s immortal line regarding his walking ‘as lonely as a cloud’ will take on a sinister significance in 1945 when pictures of the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima are released, prompting speculation that the poet had witnessed early tests into the viability of the atom bomb back in 1807 when he was based near the weapons arsenal known as Lake Windermere.
Fishing would no longer be Britain’s most popular participant sport owing to the massively increased cost of the necessary equipment. Rods, flies or bait and landing nets would all set the keen angler back the same amount, it would be the prohibitive outlay needed to acquire a mobile rocket launcher truck in case a short-range ballistic missile was hooked that would prove their undoing.
When photographic evidence of the Loch Ness Monster first appears in 1933 to at last add substance to the rumours of a prehistoric type monster being present in the Scottish lake, immediate thoughts will be engulfed by an overwhelming fear that it might well be armed with a Beretta AS90 Machine Gun too.
Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in which a princess is turned into a swan will instead become viewed as a cautionary allegorical tale warning Britain as to the folly of allowing chemical weapons to be stored and sold from its water features.