Narrator is showing a new employee the ropes, taking place in the future.
|You are the new guy right? That doesn’t happen often.. new guys I mean. The youth of our age? Just as bad as the old.
No worries, kid. Let me show you around. First things, my humble office....something is out of place. I know it. Do you ever get that feeling?
It is irritating the hell out of me. You aren't a stickler on language, right? I don't want to hear shit from HR after showing you the ropes. It will be a test of your bureaucracy, God knows there is enough of that crap around these days. What is in my chair? It looks like an old family portrait. Do you know what those are? Wait a second... I just swiped it, why is it still there?
Shit! It’s the real thing, genuine, fibrous wood pulp. Real paper! Do they make that anymore? I suppose you don’t know anything about paper, the real stuff or holo. Normal citizens probably wouldn’t recognize it, they rarely need to leave their auto-pods.The advent of holopaper destroyed the entire industry of business stationery. Although I think business cards are making a comeback, retro is cool these days. How does holopaper work? A touch of a button on your wrist, a device the size of a wristwatch, results in the spray of a fine mist. No, I am not sure how it smells. Stop interrupting me.
The mist contains hundreds of tiny machines which arrange themselves in a thin film, nano-meters thick. The nano-machines stay together, and through some strange manipulation of the electromagnetic force, provide the characteristics and feel of a real piece of paper. At this point the differences between the film and paper cannot be distinguished by human senses. The microfilm can be picked up, manipulated, folded, painted on, written on, all the functions of normal paper, and more. Anything performed on the paper will be digitally recorded, with the ability to recreate the exact same conditions on another holo paper. Another button dissolves the film, and the individual machines return as a fluid filled canister. Occasionally it has to be refilled. Tiny robots sometimes get lost.
Why do I think holo paper is so great? In the days of conventional paper, it easy to lose ideas, drawings, etc. Nowadays, all paper works on the same principle as the social dating apps that plagued humanity earlier in the century. If you swipe to the right, you save your work. Swiping to the left erases it.
Have you ever been sitting through a lecture, mindless sketching to escape monotony. Suddenly you discover that your doodle is breathtaking in its detail and quality. Sure, the drawing consists of just a stick figure, frozen in mid-air, leaping out of a helicopter. But the lecture just ended and you still need to add in the second stick figure, you know, the guy who is standing in the sunroof of the speeding sports car that the helicopter was chasing. He should be drawn in, no, needs to be drawn in, must be drawn in. He just fired a rocket propelled grenade at the helicopter, giving reason to why the first stick figure was attempting to escape the chopper. You absolutely, positively, are compelled to add that detail, for it gives justification to the whole picture.
That doodle definitely was swiped to the right. Whenever you feel the need, grab some holopaper, link it to your account, and now that doodle you would have lost with regular paper can be completed, presented to the world, and hung in the Smithsonian museum with the description: “The picture represents how, despite a complete lack and in some cases regressive ability to draw, beauty can be found through the sheer badassery of the concept attempting to be portrayed.”
Anyway, these tiny machines, if you are using the cheaper versions, reflect ambient light and create a cream colored surface. The expensive versions do far fancier things - iAudio, images, videos & editors, I could go on. And if you are asking about resolution, that’s geez talk from geezer city. There was a time when pixel density, refresh rates, all that crap mattered. Nowadays, even calculator screens are capable of “Moderately Enhanced Graphics, Asshole”. The marketed phrase was ‘M.E.G.A Def,’ complete with an ad campaign utilizing a T-Rex upon a motorcycle, with an attitude just as aggressive as the marketing campaign.” Never saw it? I’ll describe it.
“Didn’t go with Mega-Def?” The T-Rex, donned with expensive sunglasses, would ask an especially wizened old dude as he walked out with a competitor’s product. The wizened old man is completely distraught. He shakes his head slowly before dropping it in despair, acting more like he watched his children get murdered than buying the wrong TV. “Didn’t think so gramps,” The T-Rex says with a smirk, swinging his tail and smashing the old man and his ill-purchased TV. He turns and points at the screen, “Do NOT be like this little BITCH.” The old man, still alive, tries to say something. The T-Rex stomps on him before he can get a word out. “Get yourself M.E.G.A-def, or you are gonna be MEGA DEAD!” The last two words were emphasized by a sweet guitar riff.
I’m gonna watch that commercial on my holowatch. I have the expensive one. The nanomachines have, as was explained to me, a type microscopic light emitting diode, although the representative who was selling us the product stressed they were not “actual LEDs.” I didn’t care, I just wanted my damn holopaper so I could watch my holoflix account.
What did I call the picture? Oh yes, family portrait. Now, newbie, this may be hard to believe, but not even 100 years ago, families had to spend minutes driving to photographer, I’ll get to what that guy does later, but it wasn’t just minutes spent, it was decades of whole minutes! I’m talking twenty to the thirty minutes!
Speaking of, did you know that if I told a geezer to wait a decade of minutes they would think I am asking them to wait ten years worth of minutes? I came across one stupid oldy, listening to geezer stuff. He told me it was a song from “A Musical Called Rent.” Sounded like a dumb name for something. What is a musical? What’s rent?
Anyway, the lyrics told me that there were 525,600 minutes in a year. I asked my holowatch, it knows everything, and it said there were 5.25 million minutes in a decade! People back in the day were so bored, they made sure they knew when the earth had traveled an ENTIRE revolution around the sun. It’s so stupid, I mean you have...um let me ask my holo...so you have 86,400,000,000,000 nano seconds in an entire DAY, and you want to worry about over three hundred entire days? I bet in three hundred days we will have colonies in the Andromeda galaxy. We may even be able to create our own stars.
Wait, what? Oh, how did I know what the geezers were listening to? I am sorry, we have been here for several minutes and that is quite a long time to remain focused. I never mentioned he was, as he called it, ‘jammin on a speaker?’ Yup, actual speakers, makes noise that other people can hear. I know I know, weird that they didn’t have Apple’s™ iAudio (‘i’ stands for internal audio (or it could be implanted audio) I can’t remember what the ‘i’ is for! Damn thing came out before I was born, doctors put it in when I was a baby, don’t remember it much at all...Wait, Did I just put parenthesis inside of a set of parenthesis? Is that even legal?)
Why did they not have iAudio installed? Some babble about old myths - new world order, mark of the beast. You know how the geez are. They talk about government, but I am not even sure what that is. Are those the guys that make sure my iAudio stays in constant connection? Or the guys who sometimes refill my holowatch? If so, those guys kick ass.
You are right, I went off track there, back to the pictures. So the geezes spent an unfathomable amount of time for family portraits. They gather everyone in the family and lump them all together in this steel box, which is smaller than your bedroom! It weighed tons and could travel at speeds high enough to outright obliterate yourself. They called it an ‘automobile,’ but get this, it was controlled by a human! How stupid! I guess ‘manual mobile’ is a mouthful. People died in them all the time. I think that’s why geezers are so scared, death happened so much back then. They were scared about humans not driving anymore, thought it was going to end the human race. I asked my holo - driving those boxes killed over 3,000 people everyday. Old people would be terrified to deviate from something that killed over a million of them a year.
Yes, family portraits, I apologize. The whole family would risk life and limb inside the steel death traps. They would arrive at a location and they would give this guy resources, “cash” to take their pictures. After spending entire minutes in a steel box, begging fate that another human operated box won’t smash into yours, the family had to go inside a room with special lighting, and this guy would point an oversized camera with big lens at all of them, standing together. I haven’t stood in the same room as my brothers in years, and my parents? Being in the same room with them would be weird. I hear the test tube thing is catching on, makes sense. Have you seen what babies look like when they are born? They have cone shaped heads and they are covered in human cheeses. It is disgusting. Test tube baby? Might as well be a Gerber™ baby.
Pictures, pictures.. Well, they didn’t have holowatchs to take pictures for them, and they didn’t have the software to digitally insert each family member into a photo. Yup, things are way better now, that one picture that gets taken of you at birth, they can use that for the rest of your life. The algorithms for digital aging are a perfect reflection of what we really look like. I saw how I was going to look at 50, and let me tell you, even at that age I am still going to get tons of likes when I post it.
Someone told me once how they do the aging thing, it involves that DNA sample they take at birth. That sample tells them things like what you are going to look like, how you will age, any minor genetic anomalies (major ones would never make it past the sperm and egg test performed prior to conception), and a statistical analysis based off genetic data predicting behavior and personality. It is only partially accurate, won’t confirm you are a genius or serial killer. I’ll ask my holo why, I can’t seem to remember. The holo tells me it’s because ‘we don’t have the monitoring capabilities to accurately measure all the factors that go into the experience of living.” I don’t know what that means, it sure has a lot of syllables and long sentences. I think I had a daydream in the middle of “accurately measure.” One of the guys fixing my holowatch once told me that “if it wasn’t for the damn geezers infecting these young folk with ‘individualism’ and ‘self-reliance’ we’d be able to predict every criminal, every thief, every liar.” He asked me if I would like a world that didn’t have any bad guys. I asked him if he meant like the robbers when I play Virtual Justice 3. He told me exactly like them. I think that sounds pretty kick ass.
Well, newbie, we spent ten entire minutes talking about holopaper and old folks. I just realized that this is a family portrait of Salzman ancestors. Yea, the guy in accounting. Our work period is about to end, next shift of guys is due in. Could you drop off the picture to Salzman on the way back to your auto-pod? Get yourself a good solid 90 minutes of sleep in, meet me back tomorrow, in three hours.