When I was re-learning to walk with crutches
I walked –no, better said, I stomped laboriously,
Hobbling with one of my own legs
And two other legs assisting me,
Almost like a child
Riding a tricycle.
This new three-legged experience
Brought back a memory of
A conversation I had with a carpenter,
Not that long ago.
I needed a stool, you know,
A chair without a back, something simple,
An extra stool to seat on.
“Three or four legs“, the carpenter asked.
“I leave it up to you“, I said,
And as an after-thought, added, “Whichever is sturdier“.
“In that case, three“, he quickly responded, “it won’t budge“.
His response left me dumbfounded.
Why on earth three instead of four?
More legs mean more stability.
Everybody knows that!
Well, that was my logic, of course.
Damn me and my ‘even’ logic!
Four is two plus two, and all legs have to be the same,
Lest they wobble even if only one of them is different.
As for the ground, by all means, it has to be even
So that the chair does not tilt over and lean askew.
Three legs, on the other hand, this ‘odd’ combination,
Regardless where you position them –even if they are
Not the same as one another,
The stool will never wobble.
Somehow, it always finds a firm foothold:
An even or rugged surface, it doesn’t matter.
There is no need for a bottle top
To be stuck underneath or folded pieces of paper,
Wedged in on the uneven surface.
My, oh, my! Who would have thought it!
I tested it, and sure enough, it was true:
A three-legged chair or a table does not wobble,
Not for an inch. No way!
Why then do they make four-legged chairs
Instead of three-legged ones
And tables too?
What is it then: aesthetics, tradition,
Or simply a conspiracy against humanity?
The whole thing seems ludicrous!
Instead of chairs with three legs,
People have been forced for centuries
To sit on chairs with two pairs of legs!
Then, an epiphany struck me:
What if man had been created with three legs?
Imagine, imagine us with only three legs!
Oh, boy! Who would then need
A chair to sit on, a bed to lie on, or a posterior?
Backache? What is that?
This is only the beginning!
Walking would be an effortless exercise:
Strut with two legs, rest the third,
And when using all three, put the middle one forward,
The other two together,
Marching in step harmoniously, one-three, one-three . . .
All this elaborate fantasy was born from learning to use walking aids,
And accompanying the good leg with two crutches.
It flanked with the two crutches on both sides:
It alone, they together,
It forward, they in the back… A threesome synchronization!
Still, later on,
When I mulled it over, I realized it’s very complicated
(Too crowded – too intricately cramped)!
(Well,… as they say: Too is a company, three is a crowd.)
Anyway, the threesome-company would not work,
With man, at least,
Because three legs would require three arms,
For symmetry, of course!
Let’s not forget: balance is important
And it –the three-armed oddity, Would certainly look ghoulish.
But, hey, Enough, stop! Man is not a stool
(No way, no can do…)
While I was practicing walking with crutches,
I slipped three times on a wet floor. Once, I even fell over.
And then, I got a hang of it and started walking competently.
Now? I’m waiting for it to recover… My dear leg;
Neither three nor four… two make two
And they are mine