These social media algorithms, man. Disturbingly out of whack. Then again, what isn’t these days?
An advert popped up on my feed the other day. I hate that this kind of talk is considered normal. Popped up on my feed. You spoke like that 20 years ago, your mother would keep you occupied while your father quietly called health services from the upstairs phone and half an hour later men in white coats came to take you away.
So anyway. Facebook, in covert collaboration with one of its multitudinous tentacles of evil, sent a company called Aqualift that makes something called bath lifts into my line of sight. Aqua-what? That’s what I said. “The Aqualift Bath Lift enables you to re-discover safe, comfortable, full-depth bathing again without having to change your existing bath.”
The only times I ever changed baths was when I changed wives. I am, however, very interested in a device that will make me feel even more comfortable in the bath, one of my favourite destinations in the world. Sometimes I feel so comfortable that I fall asleep for a day or so and wake up looking like a human Shar-Pei.
Safe bathing is a different matter altogether. No activity in South Africa is entirely safe, whether it’s cycling, having lunch or taking a bath. You can be attacked or arrested at any moment. The plague has made all of us just that much more mentally unstable. Don’t look at me with your, “Speak for yourself, mate. I’m completely sane.” That only proves my point.
We are all born with the capacity for madness. It’s in our genes, our DNA. You don’t get to evolve into the apex species in such a short space of time without at least some of the wiring being a bit loose. We shan’t even speak of our built-in obsolescence.
With home invasions more popular than ever, the last thing you want is to be dozing in a metre of warm sudsy water with your willy poking up like a periscope and have the bathroom suddenly filled with ill-humoured men in balaclavas.
In fact, it’s best that you bath fully clothed with quick and easy access to a range of weapons. Probably not as relaxing as you’d like, but certainly more relaxing than the intensive care unit at your nearest state hospital.
Bathing is also less safe these days because married couples have, through force of confinement, grown to loathe the sight of each other and it’s easy enough to toss a plugged-in toaster into the water while he has soap in his eyes. Then again, that might involve the use of an extension cord and women never know where they are kept or even how they work.
None of this explains why Aqualift thought I might be interested in their outlandish product. A bath lift? How lazy can one … hmm. Perhaps not so outlandish after all. If you can have a device to lift you in and out of your bath, why not have your entire home fitted with those moving walkways you find in airports? My Aqualift could remove me from the bath, gently place me on a travelator leading to the fridge, which opens when it senses me approaching and delivers a self-opening beer before transferring me to another travelator that takes me to the lounge and places me on a Couchlift. The only problem with this fantastic system is that I would still be naked. I suppose if there was a woman fortunate enough to live with me, she might cover me with a blanket.
Oh, right. The Aqualift isn’t so much designed for heinously lazy people as it is for the infirm. Not that the infirm can’t also be lazy. The same company makes comfy armchairs that literally tip you up into the overrated standing position. Cheerfully, they remind us that 7 000 home accidents happen each day in the UK. Please. I have that many every hour.
It must be said, though, that if you can’t get in and out of a bath or a chair without the assistance of some sort of machine, it might be time to consider the alternatives.
In earlier times, the Inuit would leave their elderly on the ice to die. Easier than fannying about with Aqualifts, you have to admit. We’re short on ice floes in South Africa, but it does sometimes snow. You’d have to drive them to the Drakensberg or the Eastern Cape highlands in mid-winter, though. And you’d probably kill them long before you got there, what with the endless, “Are we there yet?” and “Can we stop for a wee?”
The Heruli, on the other hand, placed their elderly on a stack of wood and stabbed them to death before setting the pyre alight. Seems unduly harsh, but you have to remember that the Heruli were a Germanic tribe. Their loved ones were probably grateful not to be eaten once they’d been braaied. Maybe they were eaten. I’m trying to be positive, here.
In Japan, the ancient ones would be carried to a remote, desolate place and left there to die. In South Africa, old age homes serve that purpose more than adequately.
In Sardinia, the elderly would be euthanised through suffocation or a swift blow with a wooden mallet to the back of the head. Today, strangely enough, Sardinia has one of the lowest crime rates in Italy. Perhaps the bottom fell out of the mallet market. Or maybe people just learnt to stop complaining that they couldn’t get out of the bath.
Geronticide aside, it was algorithms I really wanted to write about but I’m out of space, not to mention time. It’s not just Aqualift. The Incubi and Succubi of the corporate world are relentlessly targeting me for products for old people. I’m starting to feel triggered. Give me a good deal on a wooden mallet and I’ll take care of business myself.
Zuckerberg, you’re first.