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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

robots

So here we are.
The robots woke me up this morning. Of course, this being Election Day, it was to be expected. The robots have been busy this fall. They robo-call a lot. I hate them.
Remember when the thought of a robot calling you seemed like an incredibly exciting prospect? So futuristic! So cool! Cooler even, than my Speak-n-Spell! (It speaks! It spells!)
You know, “hate” is such a strong word. I don’t really hate the robots. It’s hard to truly hate something that has no capacity to comprehend or respond to the hate, making it a complete waste of perfectly good time and hate. Plus, there’s way too much hate floating out there right now and I’m not going to add to it with something as silly as robots and their super-dialing powers. 
But I strongly dislike the robots. Not just because they are bothersome, but because they have broken all of the delightful Tomorrowland promises of our youth. 
If you are young, discontinue reading and go tweet someone.
Sorry. This robot anger is making me sound like I’m about to go shake my fist at some kids and tell them to get out of my yard. 
Back to the broken promises: the jet packs that never came to be, at least for you and me. The daily trips to Mars. The world peace that the hippies implied was imminent when they stuffed their flowers into gun barrels. I grant you, we did get a lot of things that we didn’t expect. We didn’t get the cure for the common cold, but we got the Internet. We didn’t get flying cars, but we got cell phones. Hell, the iPod alone is more than I ever could have dreamed of back when I couldn’t afford a cassette Walkman. Or back before the cassette Walkman even existed. 
And sure, we got the robots. We got all sorts of robots. But they weren’t the kind of robots that were promised us. The kind of robots who would greet us at the door at the end of a long day and fetch us snacks and shield us from “danger, danger” and generally make life better. 
No, they mostly took a lot of jobs from people in the auto industry and hassled us more than the most ├╝ber-telemarketer ever could. 
Nothing in this life is free. Even the good stuff. Or maybe especially the good stuff. Get an Industrial Revolution and all the riches it provides, but hand over your pristine rivers and get ready for some child labor and union violence. Get an Internet, and you also get an open platform for bullies of all stripes, spouting their misspelled hatred couched in fear and lies... along with easy online shopping!
I guess you really do have to be careful what you wish for, no matter what it is. I suppose today is as good a day to remember that as any. To paraphrase Debbie Allen at the beginning of Fame: The TV Series
You got big dreams. You want change. Well, change costs. And right here is where you start paying... in sweat.
And then the Fame kids sing and dance in their leg warmers and you feel great. Until the robots beak through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man and ruin everything. 
Yes indeed. Welcome to me. 

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