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Life is not like Star Trek

This is not original but it’s too good to not share …

Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek
(Written by Scott Adams, published in “The Dilbert Future” by HarperBusiness. Copyright United Media, 1997. Please keep this notice with the text if you forward it by e-mail.)
[Edited]

There are so many Star Trek(tm) spin-offs that it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that the Star Trek vision is an accurate vision of the future. Sadly, Star Trek does not take into account the stupidity and selfishness of the average human being. Allow me to describe some of the more obvious errors in the Star Trek vision.

*Medical Technology*

On Star Trek, the doctors have handheld devices that instantly close any openings in the skin. Imagine that sort of device in the hands of your unscrupulous friends. They would sneak up behind you and seal your **ahem** shut as a practical joke. The devices would be sold in novelty stores instead of medical outlets. All things considered, I’m happy that it’s not easy to close other people’s orifices.

*Transporter*

It would be great to be able to beam your molecules across space and then reassemble them. The only problem is that you have to trust your co-worker to operate the transporter. These are the same people who won’t add paper to the photocopier or make a new pot of coffee after taking the last drop. I don’t think they’ll be double-checking the transporter coordinates. They’ll be accidentally beaming people into walls, pets, and furniture. People will spend all their time apologizing for having inanimate objects protruding from parts of their bodies. “Pay no attention to the knickknacks; I got beamed into a hutch yesterday.”

If I could beam things from one place to another, I’d never leave the house. I’d sit in a big comfy chair and just start beaming groceries, stereo equipment, cheerleaders, and anything else I wanted right into my house. I’m fairly certain I would abuse this power. If anybody came to arrest me, I’d beam them into space. If I wanted some paintings for my walls, I’d beam the contents of the Louvre over to my place, pick out the good stuff, and beam the rest into my neighbor’s garage.

If I were watching the news on television and didn’t like what I heard, I would beam the anchorman into my living room during the commercial break, give him a vicious wedgie, and beam him back before anybody noticed. I’d never worry about ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ because as soon as they got something nice, it would disappear right out of their hands. My neighbors would have to use milk crates for furniture. And that’s only after I had all the milk crates I would ever need for the rest of my life. There’s only one thing that could keep me from spending all my time wreaking havoc with the transporter: the holodeck.

*Holodeck*

For those of you who only watched the ‘old’ Star Trek, the holodeck can create simulated worlds that look and feel just like the real thing. The characters on Star Trek use the holodeck for recreation during breaks from work. This is somewhat unrealistic. If I had a holodeck, I’d close the door and never come out until I died of exhaustion. It would be hard to convince me I should be anywhere but in the holodeck, getting a massage.

Holodecks would be very addicting. If there weren’t enough holodecks to go around, I’d get the names of all the people who had reservations ahead of me and beam them into concrete walls. I’d feel tense about it, but that’s exactly why I’d need a massage.

I’m afraid the holodeck will be society’s last invention.

*Phasers*

I would love to have a device that would stun people into unconsciousness without killing them. I would use it ten times a day. If I got bad service at the convenience store, I’d zap the clerk. If somebody with big hair sat in front of me at the theater, zap! On Star Trek, there are no penalties for stunning people with phasers. It happens all the time. All you have to do is claim you were possessed by an alien entity. Apparently, that is viewed as a credible defense in the Star Trek future.

I wish I had a phaser right now. My neighbor’s dog likes to stand under my bedroom window on the other side of the fence and bark for hours at a time. My neighbor has employed the bold defense that he believes it might be another neighbor’s dog, despite the fact that I am standing there looking at him barking only twenty feet away. In a situation like this, a phaser is really the best approach. I could squeeze off a clean shot through the willow tree. A phaser doesn’t make much noise, so it wouldn’t disturb anyone. Then the unhappy little dog and I could both get some sleep. If the neighbor complains, I’ll explain that the phaser was fired by the other neighbor’s dog, a known troublemaker who is said to be invisible.

And if that doesn’t work, a photon torpedo is clearly indicated.

*Cyborgs*

Given the choice, I would rather be a cyborg instead of 100 percent human. I like the thought of technology becoming part of my body. As a human, I am constantly running to the toolbox in my garage to get a tool to deal with some new household malfunction. If I were a cyborg, I might have an electric drill on my arm, plus a metric socket set. That would save a lot of trips. From what I’ve seen, the cyborg concept is a modular design, so you can add whatever tools you think you’d use most.

I’d love to see crosshairs appear in my viewfinder every time I looked at someone. It would make me feel menacing, and I’d like that. I’d program myself so that anytime I saw a car salesman, a little message would appear in my viewfinder that said ‘Target Locked On.’ It would also be great to have my computer built into my skull. That way I could surf the Net during useless periods of life, such as when people talk to me. All I’d have to do is initiate a head-nodding subroutine during boring conversations and I could amuse myself in my head all day long.

I think that if anyone could become a cyborg, there would be a huge rush of people getting in line for the conversion. Kids would like it for the look. Adults would like it for its utility. Cyborg technology has something for everyone. So, unlike Star Trek, I can imagine everyone wanting to be a cyborg.

The only downside I can see is that when the human part dies and you’re at the funeral, the cyborg part will try to claw its way out of the casket…

*Shields*

I wish I had an invisible force field. I’d use it all the time, especially around people who spit when they talk or get too close to my personal space. In fact, I’d probably need a shield quite a bit if I also had a phaser to play with.

I wouldn’t need a big shield system like the one they use to protect the Enterprise, maybe just a belt-clip device for personal use…

*Long-Range Sensors*

If people had long-range sensors, they would rarely use them to scan for new signs of life. I think they would use them to avoid work. You could run a continuous scan for your boss and then quickly transport yourself out of the area when he came near…

And that’s why the future won’t be like Star Trek.

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Categories: Movies, TV shows

Annoyed, Busted, Changed ?

Through the years, I’ve developed a stubborn dislike for certain shows or actors … something without any valid reason.

While living in Ohio, I caught a commercial promoting an upcoming episode of the show X-Files.  Awhile later, I saw another promo and either it was for the same episode or something remarkably similar.  Based on this limited experience, I decided that I had no interest in ever watching the show because it was completely unoriginal.  I stubbornly stuck to my guns even though everything about the show sounds like the type of show I’d normally like.  My then-roommate (Dave Sakymster) and my now-roommate (and wife) Liz both made fun of me for this stubbornness but I stuck to my guns and don’t believe I’ve ever watched the show.

Another show met a different fate.  I’d heard lots of people talk about Big Bang Theory but I just didn’t see the appeal.  However, this time, I tried giving it a chance and watched a few episodes which just confirmed my previous prejudice that Sheldon is annoying.  So, obviously, this confirmed my earlier judgement about X-Files and that made me feel pretty good about myself and my wonderful judgment.   Then, a few weeks ago, I was in zone-out mode where I just left the TV on without changing the channel (even though I’m normally only watching shows on the DVR so I can skip commercials) and I saw an episode of Big Bang Theory which actually made my laugh.  I then watched another episode and had the same reaction.  This wasn’t enough for me to add it to my list of shows to record and watch later but it’s made me second-guess my across-the-board rejection of the show.  Surely this doesn’t mean that I’d need to reconsider my rejection of X-Files, does it?   Say it ain’t so!

Switching from TV shows to actors, I can’t stand Adam Sandler – I guess I can see why some find him amusing but I just don’t get it.  Actually, he falls under the Saturday Night Live curse … if an actor makes it big on Saturday Night Live, the rest of his career tends to be a disappointment.  There are exceptions to this: John Belushi is amazing in Animal House and even better in Blues Brothers, Bill Murray has had a brilliant career, and Eddie Murphy had a couple classics amongst a bunch of lousy movies.  However, recent stars of Saturday Night fall into the same trap as Adam Sandler – what makes a somewhat amusing sketch during a few minutes on TV just doesn’t translate into a 90-minute movie.   However, I have this annoying habit that once I start watching something, I want to see how it ends.  So, a few years back, the house was watching “50 First Dates” (despite my protests) and I sat in the living room complaining about how untalented he was (leaving the room would’ve been far too simple) but then it was time for me to leave for a meeting when the movie was almost over.  So, a few days later, I’m at home alone and notice that the same movie is on and almost over.  Wondering how it ended, I turned it on and was watching the end when someone walked in … busted!  I had chosen to watch an Adam Sandler movie.   I still can’t stand him but I had to know how it ended.

Finally, I don’t like the Baldwin brothers … any of them.  I went to a movie several years back (don’t remember the name of it) on what turned out to my last date with the last person I dated before my now wife.  The only positive thing I can remember about the movie was that the character played by one of the Baldwin brothers gets beat up.  I just don’t like the whole family.  However, I’m a big fan of the Jack Ryan books and movies and think The Hunt for Red October is a classic.  I justify this with the fact that the movie really stars Sean Connery even though he plays the Russian while Jack Ryan is played by a Baldwin.   Yet, what’s my explanation for being a fan of the sales strategy classic “Glengary Glen Ross” which also stars one of the brothers? I saw it while working on my MBA and it’s a classic for anyone involved in sales (and as one of my marketing research mentors once said … if you’re not in sales, you better support someone who does) and it is definitely not approved for young ears.  Another classic is Backdraft but once again, I like it despite the Baldwin brother.  Finally, one of my favorite movies of all time is The Usual Suspects but when I looked it up, I realized that it also has a Baldwin brother in it. By the way, I have no idea which of the Baldwin brothers is in any of these movies but they’re making it more difficult to say that I don’t like any of them when they keep appearing in great movies.

So, the lesson here is that sometimes the sum is greater than the parts.  Or that maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.  But is the “old dog learning new tricks” the actor or is it me the viewer?