I own a dictionary. It sits on the edge of my desk. Recently, I had to look up the meaning of the word ‘disparate.’ Rather than looking for it in a book, an arm’s length away, where it was written in black ink on white paper in plain English, I chose to look in a machine, hundreds of miles away, where it was written in magnetic zeros and ones on a high speed rotating disc. You know, because it was easier. This is the bizarre world that the modern computer has created. The Internet, once used to assure that smart people could share their ideas quickly and easily, has had the unwanted side effect of allowing stupid people to share their thoughts and ideas quickly and easily. This is beginning to shape society in ways too profound to go into here, but there is a side effect or two of the computers themselves that may just have been overlooked.
For instance, as a left handed person, I am beginning to fear computers. They are threatening to wipe out handedness altogether. You use both hands when you type. And what’s more, look at the crap letters they gave the left hand. X, Z, V, W. What’s the deal? And they gave us Q, but they gave U to the righties! We have two vowels and the letter S, that is the extent of the good letters. Now, they gave us Ctrl-S, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-X, and Ctrl-Z. That seems pretty good. We get to save, copy, paste, cut, and undo, but think about it. Why would they be so nice? So the right hand would be free to use THE MOUSE! The mouse is the money job! We do all the grunt work while the righties get all the GUI glory. Computers are destroying the fabric of the handed society. Pretty soon, handedness will have the same respect as the astrological sign. The only place it will matter is in sports and video games. Basically being righty and lefty will boil down to whether you are better at aiming or dodging in a first person shooter.
Also, think about this for a moment. It is a true fact that, at the time of this writing, computers have gotten 3200 times faster since 1982. (A false fact is that Mike Tyson set a world record in 1913 by hammering a frozen carrot into a cinder block using a solid gold replica of Adam Sandler’s head.) It is also a true fact that psychology has remained fundamentally unchanged since Freud’s teachings were popular, nearly a century ago, while philosophy saw its last real advance nearly two centuries ago. (Another false fact is that a duck’s quack, when played backward at slow speed, has enough force to shatter diamond.) Imagine it had always been this way, with technology out pacing everything else?
MC: Thank you, thank you. We are gathered here today to witness a great moment in our history, the first Mach 10 flight. With us today is our honored guest, Dr. Lionel Aeronauticalengineerson. He will be answering any questions you may have.
Applause mixed with goat noises can be heard. A chicken flies out of the crowd.
Dr. L.: Thank you. First question? You there.
Peasant 1: Yes, hello. I am Hirem Bootwife from the local Hog Flogger Gazette. Are you a witch? Should we burn you?
Dr. L.: I am glad you raised that question. While extensive genetic testing has been run on the subject, it has proven inconclusive. As a result, I will be hurling myself off of a cliff next Thursday. I am confident my Christian blood will see me through to a right and honorable death. Next question.
Peasant 2: Yes, Thurston Beaglechucker, the Weekly Beaglechucker. Are you concerned about goblins?
Dr. L.: Next to high temperature equipment failure, goblin attack is our chief concern. To that end we have purchased a magic bean that has been blessed by a gypsy. It is sure to keep away goblins, sirens, werewolves, and even three headed sheep, although I doubt we’ll be running into any of those. Ha ha ha.
The crowd joins him in laughing. A section of the roof collapses, crushing the back two rows.
Dr. L.: Next question.
Peasant 3: What ever happened to your partner?
Dr. L.: Well, he was feeling a bit under the weather, so we rubbed eel blood on his neck. Then we buried the eel under a cornfield with a dried fig and one of his mother’s teeth.
Peasant 3: Surely that worked.
Dr. L.: Surprisingly, no, so naturally we drilled a hole in his head to let the demons out. Hopefully he will recover soon. Next?
Peasant 4: Will this be a manned flight?
Dr. L.: No. We stopped having manned flights when we lost our Test pilot, Archibald Testpilotson, somewhere over the pacific.
Peasant 4: What happened?
Dr. L.: Well, we suspect that there was an instrumentation error that caused him to misinterpret his altitude. However, he was awfully close to the edge of the world, so the chances are equally good that he was eaten by a sea serpent.
Peasant 4: Or giant squid?
Dr. L.: (Nodding) Or giant squid. Anything else? No? Well, thank you for having me.
Applause. A camera flash can be seen from somewhere in the crowd.
Dr. L.: MY SOUL!
Scientist dives into the audience. Chaos ensues.