THOREAU

Until the end of his life, Lewis Grizzard wrote his books and newspaper columns on a manual Royal typewriter.  He held out on embracing technology with the ferocity of a child refusing to eat his broccoli. “I’m convinced computers are the tool of Satan,” he said, or rather he said something similar. Call him a prophet if you will. I can’t picture Lewis on Twitter or with an iPhone-shaped indentation in his back jeans pocket.

For me, computers are a necessary evil. I work online, I write, and everything happens in the magical space underneath my keyboard. I no longer have to lean over a copy machine at Kinko’s and spit out copies of two-hundred page manuscripts when I want to submit a novel. Now I click the send button, and the editor does the same and rejects me in half the amount of time.

With the computer, I’m able to find books easier, and writings I thought I’d never read. These days we as a society want to celebrate anniversaries of specific movies for some reason. It’s the 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman, a movie I haven’t seen in 25 years. Thanks to the Internet I can read the original, darker script and wish that film had been made so everybody can stop crediting E.L. James with the invention of the asshole billionaire hero.

Seriously, I am ribbed constantly that I will have this laptop on my thighs when they close the coffin.

I promise you, though, I’ll go as far as the computer and maybe a phone, and that’s it. Google and Facebook know enough about me.

This week I saw an ad for the next phase designed to bring us closer to Jetsons living. You might think, “Cool!” but it creeps me out.

Jibo looks like the love child of R2-D2 and that girl robot from WALL-E. It looks like it imprints on people and anticipates their every move. That’s a lot of power to give to a machine. Yeah, it would make life easier if a robot ordered your Chinese food for you, but if this thing has your credit information stored, think of what could show up in the mail without your knowledge. If this thing can control your lights, what if one day it rewires your house completely and the garage door lowers too soon, and too quickly?

I’m not an “everything is evil, JFK was an inside job”-type, but I’ve seen enough science fiction to know nothing good can come from a one-eyed robot:

And don’t butbutbut R2-D2 me. He was a crafty bugger, too. We don’t know his full potential. If Darth Vader had managed to seduce R2 to the Dark Side, forget the rebellion.

Maybe Thoreau had the right idea, going away into the woods. I fantasize about going off the grid, provided I could come out once a month to recharge my Kindle. 😛