I guess I’m one of the ones who don’t understand. Or maybe one of the nine. But I feel we should give our computer nerd and math geek friends a chance to snicker at us once in a while since we spent all those years in high school laughing at them and giving them wedgies. You can’t spell binary without b-r-a-i-n-y, right? I think this “binary” stuff has something to do with the way numbers are counted and communicated. But hey, don’t get the wrong idea. Just knowing that is no reason why anyone should give the Idler a wedgie. Because we live in an age where it’s important to pretend to know what’s going on technologically.
I first realized this in 1968 when I had this totally smokin’ blind date and I took her to see “2001: A Space Odyssey.” She asked questions and chewed gum all through the first reel, but it wasn’t entirely her fault because it was a pretty confusing movie. All that stuff with HAL, the evil computer, trying to ice Dave while he’s outside fixing the satellite dish, well, it had her going, And they kept playing all that waltz music – it was wild ride. Anyway, in order to appear to be a pretty savvy and sophisticated guy I explained to her how the hexidecimal coding of the centrifugal processing unit might induce HAL to subvert his pericardial subluxation while Dave was putting new bearings on the astral muffler. She dumped me for a mechanic.
You know, in retrospect, it wasn’t a very realistic portrait of HAL. Remember that scene where Dave is trying to shut HAL down, and in order to do so he has to pull out these huge circuit boards, a couple dozen of them, from a big cabinet? And HAL gradually is reduced to techno-babbling and cyber-drooling and crying for his mother board. Well Apple has a HAL too, name of “Siri”, and she fits in an I-phone. I got to try one out recently and I must say it’s pretty cool. Siri will call you anything you want, so I had her calling me “Big Dog” which I always thought would be a cool nickname. Just ask and she’ll tell you what movie is playing where, what the temperature and forecast are and where the gas is cheapest. You have to enunciate clearly though because I think she’s a little hard of hearing. I asked her for the number for Triangle Subs and she got me the Navy recruiting office. And unlike smarty-pants HAL, if Siri doesn’t know something she’ll come right out and tell you. So it’s hard to imagine Siri going rogue on me like HAL. Therefore, in the more realistic sequel, “2013: A Space Odyssey” which the Idler is in the process of writing, and which will star yours truly and my new friend Siri, the one dramatic piece of dialogue you are unlikely to see enacted is as follows:
The Idler: Open the pod bay doors, Siri.
Siri: I’m sorry, Big Dog. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
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