Are You an Overlord or an Underling?

Overlord or underling?  There are only two categories, and they neatly divide the entire human race.  You are either one or the other.  This is not a situation where there are any grey areas.  The division is black and white. (Actually rather more white and white. Ed.)  So, what are you?  Overlord or underling?

I am an underling?  Hardly needs to be stated, does it?  It must be obvious, surely?  An underling and proud of it.  Indeed, I have always been so convinced of the rightness of my status as an underling that I have made it my mission to convert overlords to my way of thinking.  Except, suddenly, I discover that I may have been wrong.  It all has to do with the discovery of a 125 year-old patent.

Issued by the United States Patent Office on behalf of the inventor Mr Seth Wheeler of Albany, New York, witnessed by E. J. Wheeler and Wm. A. Wheeler, and dated 22 December 1891, are the detailed specifications of the first toilet-paper roll.

400 patent 2

And, alongside the written description, is a diagram of the toilet-paper roll as it was imagined in use.  And it is hanging over its central spindle, not under it.  Seth Wheeler was an overlord.

400 patent 1

It is a body blow to my previously-held worldview.  Publicly, I still argue that there is a case for a refinement to the original patent; that all progress requires an element of change but, privately, I know the debate is lost.

400 toilet roll under

400 toilet roll over

Perhaps it is always the fate of the underling to eventually submit?

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree contemplates having to change the habits of a lifetime.

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