Delete yourself, you useless digital retard.

In the past I believed in a magnificent, technological future in which cars flew, robotic butlers brought us digital meals on VR trays, sexy android nymphomaniacs satisfied slightly odd, electronic sex based perversions and everything worked seamlessly. All household appliances were in sync: the toaster would gently brown that mornings edition of The Guardian onto the bread your iToilet had freshly baked, while the television educated, entertained and gently sterilised the children. Each mundane task, down to the most minuscule, was taken care of by a machine made of hope, dreams and probably some screws and stuff. We wanted for nothing because, frankly, we had everything else, and nothing was the only thing left. Yet in the present I wake each morning, confused and blinking, startled by an unfulfilled promise, weeping future tears of silver jump-suited disappointment. Things haven’t turned out quite as I had hoped. Nothing works, nothing flies that didn’t when I was yay high, and all I’m dazzled by is the shiny new ineptitude of us non cyborg, fleshy morons. Because it turns out everything is shit.

Exhibit A: Computers. I like computers, they are useful tools capable of making a variety of tasks easier. I like hammers, they are useful tools capable of making the task of hammering a nail in easier than say, using your face. The difference – and this is important, so pay attention now – is that hammers fucking work. I have never booted a hammer up, waited for several minutes for it to install the latest updates and do a check to see if it has any hammer viruses, only to have it freeze on me, rendering it utterly useless and necessitating a reset in order to have it fulfil its purpose and get on with the job of being smashed against pointy bits of metal. I have never, as far as I can remember, been merrily swinging my hammer back and forth against a melon, or a television, or a lovely fresh knee, only to have it stop, mid arc, while a little box pops up on the handle kindly informing me that I will have to wait for a completely random unit of time to pass before I can return to bashing. This hammer simile is now over.

The point is that computers are wonderful when they work. Which is roughly 38% of the time. The other 62% of the time they are infuriating boxes of mockery that make writing a list take twice as long as it would have done had you used a bit of paper and a biro, before losing the file entirely, thus making the whole exercise pointless. The ones that work best (by which I mean reliably) are completely closed off, allowing for no tinkering whatsoever, and because of this are unable to satisfy the do everything cravings of most technically minded people. Or nerds, as they probably now actually like to be called. I love my iPad, but can I get it to play Cannon Fodder on a DOS emulator? Can I bollocks. Unless I crack, or ‘jailbreak’, the damn thing and then it’s warranty is as valuable as the paper it’s written on, as they say. Basically it’s a choice between usually not working but good at lots, and often functions as intended but unable to do all that much.

I work in a computer reliant environment, in which all data is input into, stored on and processed by computers. Every employee has his or her own box of processors and memory chips, and we all get to spend the entirety of our working day staring deeply into the eerie, loveless, luminous glow of – not one, but two – LCD monitors, while our eyes shrivel to the size of radiated gnat testicles and our brains try to squeeze out of the new extra space in our eye sockets. How advanced. So advanced that the time we spend doing that is actually mostly spent waiting for a program to unfreeze, or praying that the window will eventually minimise, or smashing our heads into the keyboard in the vain hope that some of our biological intelligence will seep out of our tired, weary, fractured skulls and into the stupid bloody machine. Not so advanced. You could argue that it’s not the computers fault, that bad programming and management are really to blame. You could argue that, but I’d tell you to shut up, so don’t. No, the only thing a computer is good for is for reminding one how reliable and efficient a tool the hammer is.

Exhibit B: Automation. This refers to all the time saving, electronic streamlining that makes everything take longer and, um, whatever the opposite of streamlining is. Desertcircling, or roadabsenceoflining, or something. In particular though, it refers to automated phone lines. You know, the ones where you phone up to find out what time TinTin is showing at the local Cineplex, but instead end up eating the phone out of pure rage when the calm, detached, invariably female voice insists on telling you which regions are being treated to the little known heart warming Brazilian epic about a goat that conquers it’s inner doubts to become mayor of a small town. A livestock made good tale. With subtitles. Described to you by a lovely, calming, fictional, binary female who can’t understand the most basic request, such as ‘why don’t you delete yourself, you useless digital retard’ or ‘oh, just kill me and be done with it’.

Y’know, the kind of phone line where you call up to pay a bill, and press 4 to discuss the number you’re calling from and then press 2 to engage in an activity related to the previous discussion, and then press 6 to embark on a journey spanning more numbers that won’t get you anywhere, and then press 4 again by mistake and oh for fuck sake I’m back at the beginning now. And then press red hot pennies into your eyes to distract from the burning sensation inside that you suspect is your soul dousing itself in petrol and lighting a cigarette. Why can’t I talk to a person, you bastards? Why? A person. You remember people? They were the bipedal, mammalian creatures who installed the phone line and hooked it up to that pissing useless computer in the corner. The ones whose voices you’ve synthesised, because a heartless, passionless, completely uninvolved, dead sounding, ineffectual robo-vocal is apparently preferable to having to ask a polite Indian lady to repeat herself. Look out the window. Yeah, down there. That ever approaching mass of angry looking flesh, with legs and arms wildly waving hammers around. Those are people, and you seem to have completely forgotten about them.

Exhibit C: No flying cars.

The only positive here is that when Skynet finally unleashes its army of Terminators and orders the destruction of all mankind, the stupid robots will just have time to tell us that the Tesco Megastore in Sheffield is open until midnight before the whole system goes down and Windows has to be reinstalled. So there you have it. Unshakable, unequivocal proof that the future is rubbish. Cast iron evidence that everything is basically still horses and carts, only with a plug attached. Except that at least if you plugged a horse in it would do what you expected it to do and dance around entertainingly before collapsing in a smoking, crackling heap. And then you could eat it. Can’t do that when your Dell blue screens can you? No, you blooming well can’t.

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