Hot dogs with a shout out to one of man's greatest accomplishments: Stadium Mustard.
The other day, as I lay in an MRI tube that looked eerily similar to a human duplicator from the 1964 classic, Jaws of the Alien, I had an hour and a half to myself to truly ponder how little we’ve advanced since we invented the wheel and the game, Twister.
First of all, have you ever heard an MRI machine? remember the scene in the movie Splash where Daryl Hannah breaks those television sets telling Tom Hanks her name in fish language? That’s what it sounds like.
I suppose I should start by explaining how I found myself inside one of those medical hot dog buns to begin with: Lately I am undergoing some tests. As I mentioned recently and will likely mention a whole lot more in future blogs, my family has a gene, whereby I mean we have a lurking little sonofabitch that is hidden by row after row of genetic coding. The only thing the doctors can agree on about it is that it seems pretty certain that no one beyond our extended family has it.
It isn’t simple, being one of only a handful of people (literally somewhere between 9 and 12) who have this gene. And part of the problem with undergoing tests for it is that no one really knows what they are looking for, so by the end of any given procedure I feel poked, prodded and mildly crappy, but rarely like anything has been accomplished. This is particularly lame when I go in feeling well rested and healthy only to come out with a whole series of useless aches and pains that make me want to go to sleep.
I know that MRI’s help people. I’m not knocking them. They save lives. I realize that the human animal for the most part, can now live well past the age of seventy and the MRI has something to do with that.
But seriously, pharmaceutical-machine-building-people? The fish language? People laying in those tubes are probably already contemplating their mortality in some way shape or form, if only because they are the hot dog in a hot dog bun metaphor. Must you also terrorize them by overlaying a shrieking mechanism over the quietly playing song that Pandora chose for them after they suggested REM, which is very likely Baby I’m-A Want You by Bread? Must you?!?
This brings me to my real point. They say that we have put people on the moon and brought them home again, and yet there is still no bra for girls of Eastern European descent that doesn’t itch, drop `em or leave track marks like the Mars Rover over the Northern Borealis Basin. Which leads me to observe that while we can put a radio controlled rover on Mars we can’t get food to people in Somalia, much less Appalachia. We can however get Diane Sawyer to Appalachia to interview starving children, but we can’t do anything about that guy from the band Poison, just generally.
It’s all very surprising really, to understand how far we haven’t come, how close we remain to our caveman ancestors. I wonder if there is some part of us that fears our own potential greatness. Where once Rosie the Robot was the docile buddy who would one day take over our household duties and C3PO was the brave communicator between all worlds, now robots look more like murderous super computers and Arnold Schwarzenegger on a Harley. In so shifting the image, it seems we have stopped everything.
Maybe, in a future world, we can do even better than Twister!
Okay, maybe it wasn’t The Arnold’s fault. But doesn’t it seem like we are so afraid of change that we are suddenly moving, not so much forward as “alongside” accomplishments that have already come? (Think movie sequels, the iPhones 1-20, all the non-Apple knock-offs, and Lady Gaga.) And this fear of change, I worry, might be causing us to backslide.
There is a lot of room for human greatness still to come. I don’t think that Angry Birds is the best that we can do, nor is Angry Birds II: The Girls on Prozac. We should avoid at all costs romanticizing “a simpler time” or a less simple biblical world where we lived to the average age of twenty-four and shit in holes – metaphorically and otherwise.
Our world is great, arguably the greatest it has ever been for human beings. You can say what you want but if our parents had been told in the 1960’s that they wouldn’t be nuked they would have saved a lot of time and energy building go carts instead of end-of-the-world bunkers.
So I suggest we appreciate what is and not get caught up in all the what ifs. Because what if it ends up being Rosie the Robot and not The Matrix, then how lame that we worried and even lamer still that we did nothing?
I’ll say it again: Our world is great. But I think there is a lot of room to make it even greater. We don’t have to start by teaching our MRI machines to play the Bread song louder than its internal fishy squeal, but I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think that’s a bad place to start.