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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Electronic Zombie Apocalypse

Photo courtesy: Spikenzie on Flickr
People think it's cute when they first experience it.  And I suppose it is. Or at least was.  Jack will race up to some stranger (of varying perfection) and ask them all about phones and earphones and iPads and iPods and what sort of video equipment they've rigged their house with and if they know what a microphone does.  Or maybe they'll chat about amplifiers.  And you can bet your last square of TP that the wondrous technology behind the electric guitar will be discussed.  If he knew who Les Paul was, I'm sure he'd name drop.

Think about it.  Here's this little guy, just talking you up like some fool twentysomething hawking pricey plastic at Best Buy.  (Jack claims to be twenty, himself, but that's a separate issue.)  Is it fun to watch?  Sure.  They think, now there's a sharp little dude.  I'll be he makes his old man proud.

No.  Well, yeah, I mean of course he makes me proud, of course of course of course, but specifically, in this instance, mostly he just makes me - makes us - crazy with this whole electronics fetish.  Fixation.  Thing.

No powercord in the darn house is safe.  USBs will be unnaturally wedded to HDMIs.  DC power plugs link up with firewire and CAT5.  Or CAT6, s'help me.  Old phone headsets have impromptu cords made out of notebook paper.  Copper speaker twist will hook in PAPER microphones (guitar stands - some stolen, some not - hold the mike in place).  Helium balloons that may have been stolen from your sister are pressed into service as guitar amps.  Stretchy hair bands - I haven't the foggiest as to the actual word for these - become little green heart monior straps for running, a'la my Garmin.

Old bottle stopper thingys are tweeters.  My ancient Casio keyboard is his soundboard.  Still works.  This is the one that no one learned to play but everyone simply HAD to have back in grade school, the one with my parents' home phone written in permanent marker across the front of it (no area code).  An old PC keyboard that I (wisely) trimmed the cord from is set at 90 degrees to the Casio in my old 1980's cubby of a bar.  It's no longer a bar, man.

It's a sound booth.  You heard me.

His idols surround him there in vinyl:  Petty.  Charles.  Mr. Mojo Risin'.  Cash.  Mick and Keef.  Mr. Bono.  Mr. Edge.  Page.  Plant.  They're all there, cheering on the madness.  Toy ukuleles are electric guitars, CDs are coasters, DVDs are CDs, up is down, down is up, minivans are cool, cats and dogs living together, total chaos.

The only purpose for which an object is never, ever used is... well, its intended purpose.  That would be predictable and boring.  Jack is unfamiliar with either concept.

The scary part of all this is that at some point, real-deal, thunderzap-delivering electrical outlets get involved.  You see where this is going.  So, in the worst move since Chamberlain's oopsie at Munich, I brought Jack some (hopefully) non-lethal cords to pie him off.  Don't use my phone cord, use this USB cord that doesn't fit in any electrical outlet.  I thought.  Don't use this videocam link, use this A/V pair I found.  That doesn't do anything dangerous whatsoever.  I thought.  The peace offerings didn't make it 24 hours before confiscation.  We still find squirreled away contraband daily.  (Think a shakedown at Alcatraz.)

Putting Jack back into the stone age (about 1994, by our reckoning) didn't even leave a dent.  He now runs a second-world sweatshop out of his room, cranking out iPhones, iPods, iPads, universal remotes, Bluetooth headsets, you name it... in construction paper.  Each day, each item is lost, thrown away or torn apart by a small sibling, only to be reborn the next.  It's like our own electronic zombie apocalypse.  They'll never stop coming, man.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure we'll all be quite happy (and rich) when he's invented his generation's version of the iPhone.  WIRED and Time will breathlessly schedule interviews.  "What was it like to raise THE Jack de Frisco de Souza du Monde d'Arriste de Fernando de Leon de Franco Comodoro?"  I'll give the interview in sunglasses and a bespoke velvet smoking jacket that will make The Most Interesting Man in the World go pale.

Who am I kidding?  They'll be mailing my check to the looney bin.

1 comment:

bebe said...

no telling what goes on in the sound booth. soooo funny. and how does he know all those terms??