“We're spending billions on satellites, cell phones,
pagers, hand-held, satellite-linked e-mail devices and portable computers so
that we'll never again have any privacy, free time or semblance of rational,
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Being a progressive thinker, I have always been
a fan of technology and of the companies that produce the technological
marvels that ease life's burdens and add a bit of pleasure to a world that is
overloaded with stress, misery, despair, disease and arrogant vegetarians.
I wept with joy for
days when they rolled out the first pop-top beer can. I cried even harder
when the twist-off beer bottle cap was invented. Never again did I have to
worry about contracting lockjaw from the pointy, rusty metal can openers that
poked holes in my thighs through my pants pockets.
The invention of Jade East
aftershave and cologne made it possible for me and my friends to smoke
cigarettes during our lunch hours in eighth grade. Jade East could have
masked the smell of rotting flesh. A few drops of the stuff on our hands and
cheeks blasted away every trace of smoke.
The development of Saran
Wrap made it possible for me to dream about being greeted at the door by a
slender, long-haired beauty slathered in glistening baby oil and dressed only
in a thin layer of this miracle plastic wrap.
But as much as I love
technology, I can see that the stuff is getting out of hand. Technology is no
longer producing the great leaps forward in happiness and health benefits
that came with the pop-top beer can. In fact, the newest technological
advances are mindless, worthless and even dangerous. A recent special section
on the latest in wireless technology in The Wall Street Journal showed
just how stupid these new gizmos are and will be. Basically, we're spending
billions on satellites, cell phones, pagers, hand-held, satellite-linked
e-mail devices and portable computers so that we'll never again have any
privacy, free time or semblance of rational, well-adjusted lives.
We're spending billions so
that someone taking a dump in the middle of the woods can pinpoint their
exact location with a global positioning device, punch up the latest stock
market quotes and take calls from clients, colleagues and bosses.
We can buy books,
groceries, cigars, tools, CDs and computers by computer. There's no need to
ever leave the house or closet again and browse at a bookstore, sit in quiet
wonderment in a library or wander through a warehouse-sized hardware store
fondling tools. Technology is turning us into a bunch of homebodies who think
that flirting over the Internet with someone on another continent has more
potential for the commingling of body fluids than does flirting at the
neighborhood bar with the spouse of a friend, neighbor or relative.
The most frightening of
all, though, is what the technogeeks are doing to our refrigerators. Soon,
fridges will be equipped with computer chips and Internet links so that
they'll start ordering food for us from the grocery store. When the fridge
senses that it's out of salami or Velveeta cheese product, it'll dial the
Internet and tell the people at the grocery store to send more stuff over to
This wouldn't be bad if all
it ever ordered was Velveeta and salami. But this could lead to real
problems. Imagine the hapless boozer who, after getting a bad liver report
from the doctor, decides to try non-alcoholic beer for a week and then feels
better and goes back to the real stuff only to find that the fridge has
ordered six cases of boozeless malt beverage from the store. That would drive
any alky to drink.
Or what if after trying
veggie burgers you realize there's more flavor in the cardboard box they came
in than in the veggie burgers themselves and toss the things in the trash
only to get a knock on the door from the grocery clerk with 12 more packages
of the things because the refrigerator took it upon itself to order more?
Say you have a party for
600 people who eat only liver and you buy the liver and store it in the
fridge. What will you do when the party is over, the food is gone and the
refrigerator calmly decides that it needs another order of liver for 600?
And consider the horror of
the fridge getting depressed or having a nervous breakdown or going senile
and ordering 1,200 jars of pickled pigs feet when you only needed a
half-ounce of capons.
Or what if they make
refrigerators even smarter, and the things start drinking your expensive,
microbrewed beers and eating your choice steaks? Then what?
So let's slow down on
refrigerator technology. I need my fridge to keep my cigars cool and moist,
not to smoke them.