The above quote comes from the end of that evergreen celluloid perfection, Trading Places.
I mean, what is not to like? A manic Eddie Murphy, the comic genius that is Dan Aykroyd and when has there been a tighter fitting top than Jamie Lee Curtis’? Not since they introduced safety caps on medicine bottles. Pause, feels faint.
This is my 300th post (second pause, takes bow) so why not feel good? I kicked off in April last year with no real aspiration and certainly no plan and now I have a book out there for the public to buy and 300 posts under my belt. Of course I feel pretty good.
And then I read this article about how we are all now so interconnected, we are all so dependent of our electronics and our chips and our digital what have yous that our world will soon be run by AI, Artificial Intelligence and this is the greatest existential threat to humanity since the cold war or the Industrial Revolution or the invention of the potato crisp (or maybe none of those – I didn’t read it that closely even though it seems Stephen Hawking is a proponent of this fear). And then I saw the film Brotherhood, an extraordinary epic by Richard Linklater. In it the lead, Mason who grows up before our very eyes posits that there is some major conspiracy behind all the social media that dominates our lives and holds us in its thrall. But then he’s seventeen and talking shit is kind of obligatory at his age – if you haven’t seen the film the last line, which sort of defines his philosophy cracked me up; it was so true to life – it was exactly the kind of utter bullshit that the eighteen year old me came out with, thinking it profound but actually it is about as deep as Kalaharian puddle (straining the metaphors, aren’t we?). And no I won’t tell you what Mason said; go see the film: it’s epic in all senses.
But, and here’s the thing, the Textiliste mistrusts social media in the same way she mistrusts cold callers offering free anythings, the notion that diets work and my judgement of what colour suits her. And she’s not wrong in her misjudgements (apart from the green cardigan; I was right there – and it was green and not blue). She won’t participate, not because she fears a conspiracy to control us or that AI will render most human employment pointless but because it stops us being human and having human level interactions and discourse. Sure she hates giving out her details to anyone; she cannot believe well of anyone who wants her debit card details and she still thinks the cheque book is the finest fiscal control measure since the gold standard was reintroduced in the 1920s. No, what pisses her off the most is when I look at one of my many devices just when she wants/needs/expects/deserves my attention.
During his TED talk (posted by Norah as part of the 100o voices for Compassion) Dan Goodman referenced a word which he said was created to describe the annoyance and puzzlement engendered by someone answering the phone or reading a text/mail/whatsapp/whatever when half way through a conversation with a real person: PIZZLE (a compound word to describe how a person feels both puzzled and pissed off at being ignored). Leaving aside the fact that the urban dictionary describes this as slang for penis (which might merely mean the person ignoring the sentient being and answering their device is actually a dick) it is good to have such a word for such a state which, sadly, the Textiliste finds herself in more often that she would like or deserves.
All this makes me wonder if we wouldn’t all be in a better and happier place if we put our phones/tablets/laptops etc away for a day. In the last year I’ve posted 300 times. I’ve published a book, reached a point where another is with my editor for a final polish, written many flash and a few poems, finished Nano with at least 70,000 words towards a sequel my first book, started a weekly novel…. a lot of time spent with my fingers on a keyboard, as you can see.
So I will try and ration my computer use. Really. Well, maybe a bit… But I will not engender that sense of pizzlement if I can help it. And if I do, then I will have every reason to feel good!
This stream of nonsense emantates from Charli Mills latest prompt
February 18, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about feeling good. Is it a relationship? A new dawn, a new day? A reprieve or a relief from earlier tension? Does it come from giving or receiving a gift? Is it the result of compassion? If you hear wedding bells, add them to the story.
So Mary. She who is, Atlas -like, carrying all humanities burdens in 99 word weekly dollops. I know what Charli is doing. She’s trying to see if my tortured and twisted mind can both be true to the prompt and keep Mary in her own little hell.
If you need a refresher, click here; you will also find a summary of the story to date at the top of the link.
‘How did it go?’
Mary sat still, a grin slipping unbidden across her face. ‘Gloria made me feel lighter, you know?’
Paul nodded. ‘Did you learn much?’
‘No. But I don’t mind. I think, even if those bones are my twin… well let’s see.’
Paul let her speak in her own time.
‘No one knows if she’s alive. I believe Rupert. Dad’s diaries don’t mention her, only me. It looks like Mum knew who my birth mother was, though not Dad’s… affair.’
‘Can we bottle Gloria?’
Mary hugged her husband. ‘From here on, I just need you and Penny.’