“But, Leo, only you can shut these doom-talkers up. Invent something that will make the future brighter, well rounded, infinitely joyous. You’ve invented bicycles, fixed the penny-arcade contraptions, been our town movie projectionist, haven’t you?”
“Sure,” said Douglas. “Invent us a happiness machine!”
The men laughed.
“Don’t,” said Leo Auffmann. “How have we used machines so far, to make people cry? Yes! Every time man and the machine look like they will get on all right – boom! Someone adds a cog, airplanes drop bombs on us, cars run us off cliffs. So is the boy wrong to ask? No! No…”
His voice faded as Leo Auffmann moved to the Curb to touch his bicycle as if it were an animal.
“What can I lose?” he murmured. “A little skin off my fingers, a few pounds of metal, some sleep? I’ll do it, so help me.”
“Leo,” said Grandfather, “we didn’t mean-” But Leo Auffmann was gone, pedalling off through the warm summer evening, his voice drifting back. “…I’ll do it…”
“You know” said Tom, in awe, “I bet he will.”
— Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine.
Via Beep Industries; superb home page quote.