Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Borg Technology: No Assembly Required

By karlsie May 3, 2009

machine-man-castrillo1By Sergio Impleton

We’ve arrived at a most noble configuration in history; the long awaited dream of instant communication and the apprehension that at last mind and machine has melded. There was no doubt that humankind was doomed to discover a new brotherhood among mechanical parts and wires. It began as sturdily as the invention of the automobile. From the first moment a man sat behind the wheel of the horseless carriage and felt the extended power in front of his hands and feet, he knew his greatest desire was the complete synchrony between man and machine. This love affair with the car has never completely left him although he quickly extended his ability to become stronger, faster, and more acute in his discernment in the air, on and under the water, and in his communication devices. From radio signals to nuclear deployment, the artificial man stretched his muscles. And now; this brawny, spindling machine has a brain. It’s called the Internet.

For a free lance writer who had miraculously secured a job writing human interest stories for a weekly newspaper and spent the rest of his time in so much correspondence with the post office, there is now an indented pathway house to that tiny, brass-elaborated, key holder box, called the Impleton Trail, the Internet was nothing short of the saving grace. There was, at last, the prospect of searching for employment without the time/cost detrimental effect of wasted gas and postage stamps on rejected submissions. While I continued to languish in rejections, they were; objectively speaking; simultaneous ones. I no longer had to brave the fearful effort of opening my box in public each day, and the embarrassing replies, that I’d rather leave to the bedroom, “you’re not good enough”.

My wife developed a different philosophy around computers. If the profit margin from gainful computer employment was not enough to buy a vehicle new enough to pass IM inspection, it wasn’t work; it was an addiction. Wives notoriously worry about addictions. Apparently our only fondness should be the submission to their endless lists of opinions, all of which we must be in perfect agreement. I agreed, after numerous assaults of rationale upon my senses, that the profit making mechanisms were there, in that pioneer land of the Internet, and her expertise at buying and selling would far out-reach my feeble attempts at free-lance writing. There was only one thing we left out of our discussion; the wife was much better at buying than she was at selling. Soon we had acquired an accumulation of treasures that spilled out of the garage, into the yard, with more investments on the way. She gave up in defeat when she realized her addiction to e-bay had outstripped her impulses to run down to Fred Myers on their fifty percent off clearance days. She was addicted to shopping and there was nothing left to do except shell out the money for her to see a psychologist who would cure the problem.

During those hectic e-bay activities, our fourteen year old son, forever the opportunist and an avid student of computer activities a good two years before our own unfashionable household went on line, had in the meantime, taken advantage of our liberal e-bay account to acquire a Play Station III, and his own routed conspiracy of activities. He had a ready excuse for his gruesome battles with cyber companions. The military wanted young people to develop the agile co-ordination in button pushing required for game playing. This was, he explained, how all future warfare would be conducted, from the directional settings of a computer. After watching him play awhile, I grew a little uneasy. Not that his push button dexterity wasn’t impressive, but it occurred to me he took a great deal of pleasure massacring everything in sight, even those who were supposedly his allies. It seemed to me he would as effortlessly drop bombs on Little Rock, Arkansas as on Afghanistan. Did the military really want the technology of advanced weaponry in the hands of a group of kids whose greatest pleasure lies in running over innocent pedestrians in a game called Grand Theft Auto?

Through all these fiascos, the wife still hasn’t thought about the agonizing SEO friendly, sexual therapy articles I wrote to cover the expenses. Her opinion now is, if this is the reason I must spend so much time on the Internet, than I must be a workaholic. I’m stumped. I don’t know of one place a workaholic can go to confess he has been working too much. The psychologists would be faced with a whole new disorder. “How are you feeling today?”

“I am feeling the orgasmic pleasure of a facial remake with Botox. I am feeling the evening’s conditioning effects of Herbal Essence. I am feeling the let down of my energy drink. I am feeling the void.”

“You are putting a lot of feeling into your statement.”

“I’m feeling SEO friendly.”

Like all things that are heralded as the new wave of the future, the Internet has been met with trepidations and abuses. We’ve basically been dumped into the collective of other high wired organisms wiggling around for an electronic impulse to zap us to the next level of recorded accomplishments. While we chat and play, develop love affairs and look for bargain basement artifacts, we should remember that the Internet functions because some people are working. Whether it’s designing new software programs or the written advertisement for puffier lips, somebody has to put out the effort. The lucky ones get paid. The rest join the breadlines of the competition, because for better or worse, the Internet is with us to stay.

By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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2 thoughts on “Borg Technology: No Assembly Required”
  1. I know exactly how he feels. My son bought a few things on ebay which I was forced to pay fear of attaining a negative feedback. However I deserved it as I neglected to sign out of my account. Nice perspective Sergio, pretty depressing though. Are we really slaves to the internet?

  2. I am feeling the urge to come up with a training program to help marriage and family counselors implement congintive behavioral therapy in 140 symbols or less so they can make use and money off the twitter-ific twit crowd. Who wouldn’t pay for that? Ahhh, the therapudic possiblities are enless here!

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