Dec 152011

A neighbor drove up next to me as I was walking the dog yesterday and asked if I was home from Chicago and if I was working. It went like this.

Me: Yes, I’m home. I’m not with the company any more.
Neighbor: So you’re just hanging out?
Me: Until I can find work, yes.
Neighbor: Are you looking for something?
Me: Yes.
Neighbor: You’ll do anything?
Me: (a bit nervously now) Well, maybe not anything.
Neighbor: You shovel snow?

Let me just here point out that this is no ordinary neighbor. He was one of the first people to walk into Speedgoat back in 1997, he’s previously owned a bike shop in Pittsburgh, and he became my landlord of many years. He let me borrow a bike stand, which I returned to him fourteen years later (actually, I couldn’t find his, so I ended up giving him a new one). He’s generally a sweet and relatively harmless elderly gentleman who happens to own not one but two original Chris Chance-built Fat City bikes.

But it always seemed to me that he didn’t understand what we really did at Speedgoat. He never seemed to see the significance of all those computers and people we had around, and I never had the impression that he understood what I did for a living. I guess now I’m certain of it.

So what did I do as CEO of an e-commerce company? Every day was a little bit like this:

Difficult to say exactly what that makes one qualified to do, though lately I’ve been thinking about going into politics.

Fortunately, I may not have to pick up a paper route or shovel driveways for a living, as humanity’s infatuation with self-destruction seems to be in high gear. For one thing, we seem to all be getting much more religious–or not necessarily “religious” in that cheesy “love one another” kind of way, but more “smite-happy” and insular. Certainly those without that lizard-brain add-on, “critical thinking,” have long since retreated into their respective god-holes by now, with only rifle barrels left sticking out. Already we missed a few rapture predictions, but that can’t stop the faithful from hoping for annihilation to be visited upon us all soon. And even among the secular, is it just me, or does it seem like we’re collectively hoping for a zombie apocalypse at this point, just to break up the monotony? Certainly, the Center for Disease Control is.

If vampires were the analogy-du-jour for the financial crisis, nothing seems to sum up the current state of the American economy quite as well as a sea of zombies, slogging through the day, unfit even for very basic janitorial duties. At this point, we’re for whatever makes us want to live again, and apparently run and scream. And maybe we’ll get lucky. Given the cost of health care these days, probably better to just let the kids go feral zombie as opposed to trying to afford anti-zombie meds. Lord knows there are plenty of people who could use a good brain eatin’, though I don’t think it’d be a very satisfying meal.

For what it’s worth, though, I think zombie is just the flavor of the week. We all really know it’s going to be killer robots that take us out.

Instead of the gleaming invincible army we’ve been led to believe is on the way, though, our robot overlords are going to be adorable!

OK, maybe not adorable, but they’ll have hair and the ability to turn their “eyes” into hearts (as they’re dismembering us). Apparently the DragonBots are all cloud connected through web connections and as one “learns,” so do all the others. Though I’ve never seen one of these and am not nearly as amped up about them as Gizmodo seems to be, I sure do hope the world ends in a sea of mass-produced tiny plastic claws. You have to admit that it’d be sort of be fitting.

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