Posts Tagged ‘humor’

When Will The Robots Arrive?

June 9, 2009

When will the robots arrive?
We’ve all been waiting so long for the robots to arrive.
They’re so efficient, so precise, there are no temper tantrums with a robot.
No, “I’ve got a headache”.
No, “The way you eat your cereal makes me crazy”.
No, “I’ve always hated your friends”.
Imagine, someone living in the same house as you, but
they never tell you they’ve heard your stories before.
They look at you with those wide robot eyes and there’s absolutely no shred of
disappointment in them,
or sadness,
or contempt.
They seem interested in everything about you.
You are the most fascinating person in the universe.
You are subject to moods, of course, but the robot factors that in.
The robot pays no attention to your moods.
The robot understands that you are an emotional human, and it is to be expected that
you will say and do completely illogical things.
The robot understands the algorithm for that.
The one that says humans will every once in awhile go crazy.
Some of us will want to be robots, be part of that clean, precise universe
where there is no randomness,
no yawning emptiness,
no fear, no tears, no grief.
It is such a lovely way to live, isn’t it?
Some of us will long for that, in our ham-handed human way.
The robots will understand that, and will take into account that we’re being human
and stupid, of course.
They will understand that we can never be like them,
even if we don’t understand.
They will clean up after us, pull the sheets tight when they make our beds, straighten the room after we’ve broken some plates in a frenzy of lust, or rage.
They will be there always, ever ready to make things right again.
And neat, very neat.
We might imagine them shaking their heads,
perhaps with a certain tilt of the head
as if to say, “look at these ridiculous humans,
how did they ever get to this point;
how did they ever build empires, probe the heavens, unlock the secrets of the universe?
How did they ever build us?”
But then again, that would be irony.
And irony is impossible for robots.
Which is another reason why we’ll love them.
They’ll be the most wonderful machines,
And our lives will never be the same.
Some of us will grow fond of the robots,
Adopting them as members of our family,
Giving them nicknames, like “Binky” and “Toots”.
Putting bunny ears on them,
Or aprons.
The robots won’t care.
They’ll just keep doing their jobs,
immune to the drama,
while each of us leads our
comic
and poignant.
magical
and messy,
fabulous
human life.

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An Interesting Case

May 22, 2009

I’ve noticed that my doctor spends a lot more time making notes
these days when I visit
than he did five or ten years ago.
I am a more interesting case, it seems.
He furrows his brow more.
“That blood pressure number is getting high again,” he says.
“We’ll check it again next visit, but
we may have to start you on some
medication.”
In my house, growing up, we never even took
aspirin.
My Dad worked 30 years without taking a sick day.
His mother hated hospitals.
She had four out of five babies delivered at home.
The one that was born in the hospital was never right, she said.
She blamed it on the hospital.
I was always proud to be healthy, and doctor-free,
but now I look at my body in shock and berate it.
“What’s this rash you gave me? And why is my blood pressure elevated?
What happened to all that energy I had when I was twenty?”
My body shrugs.
‘That’s just the way things are,” it says.
If pressed, it will tell me I should have taken better care of it.
“How many times did you stay up all night when you were romancing girls?
And do you remember how much you smoked?
And some of the food you ate? And the time you mixed vodka with whiskey, that night at the bar? What were you thinking?
I wasn’t built to last forever,” it says.
“I’m not indestructible.”
“You’re letting me down,” I say. “I had plans, lots of plans for these next couple of decades. I was going to travel, build castles, write books, fight some more wars, start a company or two, before I turn my empire over
to my children.”
“Listen,” my body says. “Take it easy. Enjoy every day. You know, I really like the feeling of sitting outside in the park on a sunny day. We used to do that when you were young.”
“Yes,” I say, remembering days that seemed endless, glorious.
My body sighs.
“Can we do that again?” it says.
I think of the doctor with his checklist.
“Sure,” I say. “That would be nice.”
I’ll settle for a smaller empire.

Don’t Need No Progress

April 29, 2009

Everywhere I see the news:
“The future will bring such wonders.”
Magazines and pundits all enthuse,
And tell us we’ll live to a hundred.

New discoveries, they proclaim
Will change us dramatically.
Technology will our lives reframe;
We’ll be living ecstatically.

Robots will do the dirty work;
Medicines will make us healthy.
We’ll grow new limbs, we’ll never get hurt,
We’ll all be very wealthy.

It all sounds grand and glorious,
And I hope to see it come true,
But I don’t take it very serious,
I’ve got a skeptical view.

I’ve lived too long on this Earth
To get caught up in the hype and the bluster.
I remember with some sense of mirth,
Predictions that didn’t pass muster.

Gardens on Mars, remember them?
Or affordable cars that fly.
Or the most ridiculous one, ahem:
Teleporting in the blink of an eye.

I’m not begrudging our progress,
And I love predictions so bold,
But I’d be happy with no more, no less,
Than a cure for the common cold.

Eternal Hope

April 27, 2009

I have books, many books, on how to get rich.
I have books on time management.
On interpreting my dreams.
On esoteric Oriental philosophies.
A whole bunch on how to be happy.
A few on self-hypnosis.
A smattering on religion.
A hodgepodge on visualization, yoga, law of attraction,
and other such topics.
When I was a kid I read a lot of comic books.
I was fascinated by the advertisements in the back
promising a well-muscled physique
if you just sent in your money
to Mr. Charles Atlas,
who once was a 98 pound weakling
like me.
One day I sent in my money,
waited desperately for the exercise plan to come
and tore the package open with shaking fingers
when it arrived.
I dutifully read the books,
practiced the exercises,
checked myself daily in the mirror;
and gained an inch or two in my biceps,
and another inch in my chest.
Sometimes I wonder what ever became of those books;
that patented exercise program
that made he-men out of skinny boys.
Maybe if I found it, and tried it again,
but this time tried really hard,
maybe I could still have that powerful physique.
It’s out there, waiting for me, like when I look up at the big grinning moon
on a clear night,
and it almost seems close enough to touch.
Maybe I followed the formulas wrong.
Subtracted when I should have added.
That’s it, I must have made an error;
the mistake was mine.
I’ll try again;
this time will be different.
I just need to buy another book.

The Aliens Have Left Us

April 24, 2009

By John McDonnell

Sometimes I look at the sky at night
And wonder if aliens ever took flight,
And traveled across the billion miles
And came to stay with us awhile.

It’s certainly seems to be the case.
They could have observed the human race;
And maybe joined us for a time
To probe the secrets of our minds.

They may have thought to colonize
This Earth before we realize
What’s happening, to enslave
And work us to our grave.

But I suspect that once they saw
Our stubborn nature and our flaws,
They made a beeline back to home,
And vowed never this way to roam.

How could they make slaves of us,
When they couldn’t even trust
That we’d have the same opinion,
Or do most anything in unison?

The fact is we’re a crazy lot,
We scheme and bicker, fight and plot.
We never follow logic’s rules,
Or much of what we learned in school

I’m sure the aliens would despair
And want to wash us from their hair;
They sped away, that’s what I mean,
And put us under quarantine.

They’ve left our little neighborhood,
They’ve spread the word that we’re no good.
“Stay away, it’s just not worth
The stress of visiting Planet Earth.”

A Man Of Many Interests

April 23, 2009


By John McDonnell

I’m a dabbler at heart, you see,
and there’s plenty more to me
than meets the eye.
But then you know I
never said I was a simple chap.
You can’t put me in that trap.
Subtle, that’s me, and complicated.
Not loud, a bit understated.
Preferring not to be a star,
or the loudest voice at the bar,
I’m happiest in the back,
not in front of the pack.
I get distracted easily, my mind wanders;
there’s always some other question to ponder.
My reality abounds in
complexity.
I know I should settle down and focus;
establish a locus
for my interests.
But every time I try
something bright catches my eye,
and I wander off, wasting time
on some new project without rhyme
or reason.
There’s so much to learn, I’ve always felt,
so much living to do as well.
Each day should be an adventure,
otherwise you’re just an indentured
servant, hemmed in by your
small horizons.
Tomorrow’s another day and
no way I’m going to get distracted
from my goal. I’ll attack the
day with vigor, discipline and
rigor;
at least until a bigger
shinier something comes along and
catches my I.