Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Feed The Monkey
I recall a very bad joke from way back when we were still hurling men up into space, but hadn't quite reached the moon yet:
NASA decided they'd finally send a man up in a capsule after sending only monkeys in the earlier missions. They fire the man and the monkey into space. The intercom crackled, "Monkey, fire the retros." A little later, "Monkey, check the solid fuel supply." Later still, "Monkey, check the life support systems for the man." The astronaut took umbrage and radioed NASA, " When do I get to do something?" NASA replies, " In fifteen minutes, feed the monkey."
There's a great deal of feed the monkey in that video, and in modern life in general. The fellows you see appear towards the beginning of the video, wearing the clown shoes of liability -- safety glasses worn where there's never any danger to speak of, are checking to see if the robots welded everything to the correct tolerance. They're feeding the monkey. Maybe there are lasers in use there I didn't notice, hence the glasses. Someone feed the laser monkey after you feed the robot monkey.
There are people even farther removed from the monkey's nimble digits out of our field of view, making up slips of paper that tell the monkey-feeders to wear safety glasses whether they're sitting on the john with the morning paper or welding. You can go pretty far down that rabbit hole, looking for ancillary monkey-feeders. Manolo publishes pixel opinions of what shoes to wear to assist the slip-producing women in Personnel --oops, Human Resources-- in deciding what shoes to purchase online instead of doing their job producing slips with bits of text on them.
Of course the pinnacle of feed the monkey instruction is the government, reminding you constantly that you're feeding the monkey wrong, and in an unapproved way, and is that salt on that, you fiend? You looked at the monkey a bit funny just then, and that monkey might be the wrong color monkey, and you touched it in a manner deemed inappropriate unless you work for the government and then it's Colombian hookers and stained blue dresses all the way, baby.
Hell, if Mercedes builds a vehicle full of coal batteries instead of a big gasoline battery, Uncle Sam tries its hand at infinite recursion and pays you to feed the monkey-feeders, giving you the taste of sweet monkey-feeding feeder importance for one, brief, shining moment.
The world isn't like it used to be. The big thinkers in charge of everything, and the people that would like to take their jobs, are very small thinkers indeed if you ask me. They offer outdated unguents for imaginary ailments. Some say kill the monkey, and take his job. Others say get Chinese monkeys. Why not marry the monkey? Let's send the monkey to college while we work in a coffee shop. He'll fling his poop at the professor, but let's face it, so would most of the people behind the counter in a Starbucks. Let's make the monkey god. Let's make the monkey a goat, and scape the living bejesus out of him.
My life is simpler than most people's, and more complex at the same time. I am the monkey. I'm warning all you wannabee monkey feeders. I have a window into the mind of the monkey that you probably do not. The monkey is getting tired, and the monkey is getting angry. You can't feed yourself at all or even feed him correctly while he's doing all the work, and you're hurtling through space in a tin can. You don't want to be in a little tin can with an angry, hungry monkey. Think harder.