You think you’re better than me, don’t you? You think you are superior to me. I can see it in your long white face. It is reflected in your smug wire-rimmed glasses. You think you are an upgrade on the human species. Homo sapiens version 2.1.
Well, buddy. I have news for you. I am not obsolete, even though my eyes glaze over when you corner me at a party and tell me that your Intel Pentium combines hyper-threading technology with dual-core processing for an unprecedented four threads to make it the perfect solution for all your multitasking needs. This does not mean that I am not worthy. What this means is that you are not fit to engage in conversation at a party. When I hear this kind of talk, I want to grab you by the throat and bite your face. If I happen to bump into you at the bar and ask you if you have anything to help me get wired, I do not expect you to snigger and tell me that wires are for sissies and that if I am serious I should get myself a wireless router and a wi-fi digital hotspotter with a frequency range of 4Ghz to 2.462Ghz that provides information on signal strength as well as network information, including SSID, security status and channel.
Most normal people go to parties and art gallery openings with a condom and a flick-knife in their back pocket. But not you. When some poor bastard with a monkey on his back comes up to you and asks if you’re carrying anything, your eyes get all moist and shiny and you say: “I’m glad you asked me that, because I’m carrying the Pockey 2.0 which offers up to 80 gigs of storage capacity, transfer rates up to 480 megs per second and best of all, dude, cross-platform file sharing is a breeze with its cool hot-swappable features!”
I don’t care. Do you understand? While you lean into me babbling about PC, Mac and Linux compatibility, spitting in my face with excitement, how can you not notice that my eyes have rolled into the back of my head, my jaw has grown slack and tendrils of drool are hanging from my chin?
But it might not even be your fault. Most men blame their mothers for turning them into homosexuals or journalists, but geeks are often driven to technology by their fathers.
What happens is that your father will be quietly having a midlife crisis when, for no apparent reason, he suddenly rushes out and starts spending your inheritance on a PalmOne Treo 650 phone, an iRiver portable media centre, a high definition digital video camera, a Sony VAIO U71 computer and a 120 gigabyte iPod that is quickly filling up with his two Frank Sinatra CDs.
But even more disturbing than watching your father make the clumsy transition from Luddite to technosexual, and then to still try and turn you onto podcasting when all you want to do is borrow the car, is to get sucked into the vortex yourself.
Once you give up on trying to understand women and start understandingthe benefits of two complete execution cores instead of one, each with an independent interface to the frontside bus, you are in deep trouble.
Once you enter the dark world inhabited by the technofascists from Silicone Valley, it is only a matter of time before the androids working in the basement of Mr William Gates’ home add your name to The List.
And once you are on The List, you join a spreading circle of people known as The Fucked. This is not as good as it sounds. All it means is that you are doomed to live in a perpetual state of fear and confusion. Fear, because you are terrified that your upgrade will be redundant by the time you leave the mall, and confusion because your body tells you that it is unnatural to want to stay home on Friday night and upload the latest motion based software to your GPS-enabled cell phone when you should be out trying to get laid like a normal person.
Hackers are your heroes and you like to think of yourself as a bit of a sociopath, but the truth is that you will never be able to develop a personality disorder without first developing a personality. And for that to happen, you have to put your pants back on and get out of that chat room and into the real world.
I have a pen pal by the name of Ted Kaczynski. For 20 years he spearheaded a one-man revolution against what he described as the industrial-technological system. The only thing Ted had in common with technophiles was that he never got out much. An inveterate writer of letters, he would slip out of his tiny log cabin in Montana only to pick up a fresh box of detonators and visit the post office. These days, Ted’s mail is screened by staff at a maximum security facility in Florida.
While there is a good chance that Ted is barking mad, I am sure that I am not the only one who has ever felt like sending off a parcel bomb to the manufacturers of some or other expensive gizmo that is so complicated that only a 12-year-old could understand how it works.
But instead of doing the sensible thing and blowing people up, we weep and drink heavily and use harsh words against our loved ones, who, in turn, start weeping and drinking heavily.
This is all your fault, you smelly little freak. And on top of it, to make absolutely sure that everyone knows you are the new masters of the universe and the rest of us are little more than by-products of Sasol, you confuse us even more by developing your own language.
When I hear you talking about multiple RAID configurations to maximize storage capacity, I have no idea if you are talking about weapons of mass destruction or an improved method of killing the rats that keep getting into the grain silo.
Bluetooth is what I get after drinking too many flaming sambucas. And ever since the absinthe experiment I haven’t had a memory stick for longer than a week. Flash is what happens when my fly comes undone and my dongle is exposed. And the only multimedia experience I want is to read a newspaper and have the TV on at the same time.
I don’t want to hear about voice-activated PDAs, biodegradable laptops and remote-controlled camera-equipped robotic sentries that patrol your home while transmitting live pictures to your Liquidmetal cell phone made from amorphous material that is three times stronger than titanium.
I want to be left alone. Preferably in a log cabin deep on the Dolphin Coast.