SCIENCE FINALLY ANSWERS THE QUESTION: WHY DIKES?
Centuries-old document reveals the reasons behind Dutch dikes.
Dikes were created to hold back the mighty Atlantic Ocean (shown in foreground). The new land created was called a polder. The dike shown above is well over 8 feet in height. Hendrik the Clown, with balloons removed from his pants, is shown for comparison. A dike this tall is known as an over-the-shoulder-polder-holder.
By DICK VAN DYKE
WWGN polder reporter
Researchers at the University of Rotterdam discovered an eight-hundred-year-old document. It records the meeting between Dutch officials as they began the practice of building dikes to reclaim land from the ocean.
The Dutch have long struggled against the sea. In fact, the ancient Greeks wrote, “More people died in the struggle against water than in the struggle against men.”
It is thought the high death rate is because the traditional wooden shoe would fling off their feet while running. This would slow their escape from rising waters. Indeed, flooding has been the scourge of the Netherlands from time immemorial.
This rare document languished in the university’s archives until it was rediscovered in 2011 under a pile of laundry. The language, of course, bears little resemblance to what is spoken in the Netherlands today. Linguists have invented a crazy, new term to describe the ancient dialect. They call it “Old Dutch.”
Over the next decade, Old Dutch fanboys pored over the text, extracting its meaning. It wasn’t until late last year that a scientific treatise was published in the peer-reviewed publication: “Journal of Polders, Silly Hats, and Windmills.”
The document itself turned out to be the minutes from a board meeting of the ruling class or stadtholders. Also, written in the margins was the name of that night’s entertainment; the slapstick comedy duo Laverne and Shirley.
What follows is a translation of those minutes:
Left to right, Laverne von Zeeuw and Shirley Groenendijk.
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Order, please. Order. We’ve got a lot to cover before over fifty percent of us die from the Black Plague. If we lose our quorum then we’ll have to start all over.
First a little housekeeping. We’ve all seen the death statistics caused by war, disease, generally appalling living conditions, God’s wrath, and, of course, slip-and-falls from wooden shoes. I bring this up because one of our largest cities has been particularly hard hit, but let me be clear, it’s still called “Rotterdam”, not “Rottendam”. If you could emphasize that to your constituents that would be a great help for tourism. And while I’m on the subject, when tourists come to our shores, the preferred name is “vacation ships,” not “pestilence boats”. We don’t need another visit from the Viking Cruise Line to ransack and pillage.
Now, from the Department of Wooden Shoes, their quarterly report has some disturbing news. We only have enough timber to make shoes for the next five years. It’s important that we plant more trees within the next year or we’ll have to go back to wearing wooden socks without wooden shoes and how stupid would that look?
You may remember at last month’s meeting that it was decided the Dutch need a flower or plant, of some sort, that will become emblematic of our culture. Suggestions were put to a vote and right now it is evenly divided between tulips and that plant that flowers once a century and smells like poop.
That being said, I suggest a run-off vote next month. So I need your thoughtful consideration. Remember, the Irish didn’t take it seriously and got stuck with the potato.
Next on the agenda: I hate to bring up a controversial subject but climate change is here; it’s real and it’s undeniable. The world is getting colder and not discussing it doesn’t mean it will go away. The problem, of course, is our utter dependence on windmill energy.
I know it’s virtually free to produce and makes a small group of people extremely rich. I am also aware that Big Windmill is well represented in this august body, so let me allay your fears gentlemen: The obscene government subsidies you enjoy are not going anywhere.
Now, Johan, our chief environmentalist, actually the only environmentalist ever, states that we are in a “Little Ice Age” and global temperatures are dropping. To combat this, I am offering a proposal at the next G-2 summit, or G-3 summit, if England can get its shit together.
I’m suggesting that countries convert their energy sources to something more agreeable to the environment. And before you ask, I don’t know what an environment is either, but Johan won’t shut up about it.
Anyway, to that end, we have had scientists working day and night to mitigate the issue. One possible solution has shown great promise in the laboratory and is ready to be rolled out to the public. We’re shopping names, but for right now we are calling it “coal”.
Apparently, we have plenty of it and it’s all underground, so no unsightly windmills screwing up the view. That alone is worth changing over. But get this, burning it makes a crap ton of energy. In fact, a coal seam in a town up the coast has been burning for seven years. Okay, it turned an idyllic seaside village into a hellscape but, hello, free energy.
Now, some whiny mothers have complained about coal dust covering their babies, and the acrid smoke makes them cry. Acrid smoke, boo-hoo, really? We’ve got plenty of fresh air, so what’s a little smoke going to do.
And lastly, we need to talk about the vaagfluugenveeger in the room (linguists have no idea what a vaagfluugenveeger is, but it can’t be good). We need more land. We need it for our growing community, assuming the Black Death ever ends. We need more shoes which means more trees. We need it for planting our soon-to-be sacred plant, either tulips or the stink bomb, and we need more land to find more coals.
So, a show of hands: we can expand to the west and build dikes to hold back one of the most powerful forces in nature. Holding it back all day, every day for eternity. Make no mistake, one goof will produce a flood that will destroy everything and everyone in its path. We could very well end up as Belgium’s northern coastline.
Or we could invade Germany.
Let's see, sixty-seven votes for holding back the inexorable, pitiless, never-ending pressure of the ocean and one vote to invade Germany. Now, who was the vaagfluugenveeger that voted for Germany?
Oh, he just died of the plague. Alright, it’s unanimous then.
That is where the document ended. Well, sort of. The back side of the parchment was used as a to-do list.