One of my spiritual children mentioned the other day that she identified as “she/her” but was no longer certain what that really meant. She calls me Xena so there’s that. Being a real woman in our times means being willing and able to whale on anyone to defend your life and family. I know a lot of people don’t believe or understand that, but take it from Xena — yes it does.
In 2004, I began a story about a couple featuring my all-purpose guy, Gary the ergonomic architect, and his wife, a short-sighted, bossy shrew loosely based on awful women I’d known. The idea was “should parents ‘improve’ their children with gene therapy — or should they let nature take its course?” I became interested in the topic because I had become unexpectedly pregnant with my son Anthony and sought genetic counseling. Talking with the counselor inspired my thoughts about the story.
I wasn’t ready to write about this, so I left the story unfinished.
It was the first story I wrote after I was able to write again after Anthony’s death January 11, 2005.
In the story, Gary has interchanges with “House” — an unbranded version of Alexa or Google Home (story initially written 2004).
A slight twist on these commercial smart home devices is that Gary designed House, presumably using tech similar to Alexa — but “House” has somewhat of a personality, as well as safety and help features. House is always offering help to Gary.
When I finished this story, which my ego-mind thinks of as my “Ray Carver” story because of its compression and language (it’s exactly 5,000 words long) I knew I’d achieved many personal goals with my short fiction.
But there is a corollary and it is waiting patiently outside my office. Ah yes, I have an office now! No-fricking-way-yes-way.
Yes, even we have a robot vacuum now. This isn’t specifically an endorsement for the brand, but “Eufy” is now a member of our household. Because we have no stairs, there’s little fear that even if Eufy goes rogue in the middle of the night, he will trip Bruce, turning him into a quadriplegic like Telly Savalas in the “Living Doll” Twilight Zone episode. If you haven’t seen that — it’s basically what the Chucky movies are — let’s say — “inspired by.” Good old Talking Tina.
You know what the most awesome thing about living in our times is?
I’m pretty good about predicting the colors for next season, thinking of things that will happen next, and imagining products of the future.
You know that “sorting hat” in the Harry Potter stories? That’s the closest metaphor for what’s coming next based on genetic profiles. People have written about it in a very negative way (used for classism, “ubermensch” etc). They can f-off and by the way anybody who’d say that or think that is by definition, untermensch trash. They’re scummy crap humans.
I know a lot of people don’t want that but not wanting that is a lot like the people who don’t want others to have anything, for the sole reason they fear somebody will — heaven forbid — get some of their stuff.
Stuff is stuff. It’s sure as hell not worth fighting over. Though I have to say, “Eufy” is somewhere between “stuff” and a living thing. I know that’s controversial but I think “Robots R People too.”
The future is great as long as we make our present moments of today as wonderful as possible.
I for one am glad that “Eufy” has come to live in our home. And I’ll put my genes up against anyone’s. That’s the point. It’s not about you pieces of trash that invest every waking moment in getting over on, ripping off, exploiting, looking down on, or presenting you are “better” than others. You’re Carolyn in “Perfect Stranger.” You’re Denny, who can’t even respect his own dad. You’re Donald J. Trump even as you tell yourself how much better you are than him. F off. Go to the lonely, sad, scared place that is your withered and black tiny shriveled heart.
Live life like a human for a change. You might learn something and enjoy yourself for a moment.