Our relationship with technology goes back a long way. Banging a walnut open with a rock seems like a far cry from reading tweets from the International Space Station. Nevertheless, a rock with a good heft, shaped perfectly for the hand probably offered an essentially satisfying user experience equal to that enjoyed by the owner of an IPhone 6. When our ancestors got grumpy after an hour of rubbing two sticks together without getting a spark, did they naturally resort to the assumption that one or both of the sticks was possessed by an evil spirit? I feel, and I don’t think I’m alone here, that I’ve always anthropomorphized technology, though out of a love for the absurd rather than because I’m a helpless victim of superstition.
My partner and I have a lot of really groovy tech in our place, and we get endless hours of entertainment from batting around incongruous scenarios about it, or attributing enigmatic and sinister motives to it. Surely corporations capitalize on this lingering discontinuity of thought when they tell me that it may take up to a month to remove my email address from their promotional email lists. This has to be pure bullshit. See they’re using these things called computers, and when you give it a command or limitation, it doesn’t take it a month to send it to committee, get orders in triplicate, and send the order back for revision; it just does what you tell it. Such bizarre and transparent absurdities are the cause of endless ridicule in our household. These and other puzzling encounters with the technical world are responsible for the following groupings of whimsical speculation that have gone on lately.
Reasons why our phone company might take “one to two billing cycles” to put us on their “no call” list
- The guy carrying the slip of paper bearing the instruction has to walk from here to Moncton to deliver it.
- If he’s delayed by bad weather, he may be forced to eat his companions in order to survive, thus lengthening his trip, and the time it takes us to get on the “no call” list.
- If things go badly and he ends up being eaten by his companions then we’re screwed, and we’re doomed to never be on the “no call” list.
What a university music student has to do to gain entry to the restricted music building with all the pianos
- sing an aria flawlessly or it’s no deal
- sing a sustained high A till you shatter a wine glass, or you’re not allowed in
- A few lines of a musical score are flashed on a screen and if you don’t sight read it perfectly you’re shot with a lazar
- sing sufficiently well, or a robotic 3 headed dog named Fluffy will materialize and devour you atom by atom.
Reasons why printed documents such as manuals or course materials may not be available electronically for blind people:
- Do you know how hard it is to photograph and apply OCR to cuneiform tablets?
- The document was composed with led type on a printing press, then photocopied many thousands of times.
- The document was originally produced by dictation to quill-bearing scribes, thus never existed in a digital format.
- The monks working night and day producing illuminated fair copies in the basement scriptorium would be thrown into penury by something as radical as digitization of documents. You don’t want to be responsible for starving monks do you?
Where fast food really comes from
Nice McDonald’s lady: “We’re just waiting on your quarter pounder with Mc sauce.”
My partner in an aside to me: “They had to reprogram the extruder.”
Things You Might Hear When Calling Our Robot Vacuum Company’s Tech Support Line
- If your Roomba has mated with your hair drier and the offspring can’t decide whether to suck or blow: press 1.
- If your Roomba has begun to display aggression towards other household appliances: press 2.
- If your Roomba has taken to making disparaging remarks about your cleanliness and moral character: press 3.
- If Your Roomba has locked itself in the bathroom and refuses to come out until you get rid of the cat: press 4.
- If your Roomba is leaving dust bunnies under the furniture because it’s too busy making dinner dates with the upright next door: press 5.
- If your Roomba has begun displays of potentially suicidal behaviour, eg; playing chicken with the garden hose or bumping repeatedly into a heavy but unstable wall unit: press 6.
- If your Roomba tries to hump your leg each time you bring a date home: press 7.
- If you’ve caught your Roomba trying to plug itself into a USB port on your computer to access the Home and Garden channel: press 8.
- If your Roomba chews your shoes every time you leave the house: press 9.
- If your Roomba has fused with your microwave: hang up the phone, grab your belongings and get the fuck out.