Being old is entertaining as hell. As you slide, however unwillingly, toward The Big Sleep, the folly of humans comes every more clearly into focus.
Take this stuff we have convinced ourselves is “Progress,” for instance. There was a time when people physically did things themselves. However, in order to “make-up an economy” we had to start monetizing everything in sight.
So, instead of admitting “We’re all crazy now…” we instead decided to “Create New Enterprises” with the mistaken belief that would make insanity somehow better. Well, guess what?
While it hasn’t made things better, necessarily, it has changed the way we live. In a nutshell, we’re virtualizing.
Let’s go through the list.
- Home Ownership has been virtualized.
Most people don’t own their homes. In fact, the percentage of Americans who own homes is on the way down.
It may not look like a big deal, but it is. It means that 5-million people own their own homes compared with 10-years ago. Think that’s progress?
I don’t. I’m telling you that virtualizing makes someone else rich. Plain and simple.
2. & 3. Food has been virtualized.
Two examples: Fast food joints. And Amazon Fresh.
While neither is bad, per se, there was once a time when Americans spent more time cooking (and being with their mate) than they spent chasing the money so they could afford the airtime, so they could ignore each other while posting to social media at dinner.
Again, it sure doesn’t look like progress to me…
4. Transportation has been virtualized.
People are slowly getting out of owning their own cars. A year ago, Edmunds.com reported leases accounted for 4.3-million units sold. In 2009, that number was 1.4 million. Big change.
Toss in things like “going to the dealership” to change your oil and update the fluids and such, and yeah…another part of life gets app’ed.
5. Communications has been virtualized.
When a lot of us “grays” were young, we read the Sunday comics in the newspaper. (Remember either of those items?)
The was a detective, Dick Tracy, who sported a two-way wrist radio. Piqued my interest in ham radio as a kid: Build your own equipment, no data plan, and your own teletype is you wanted it.
Today, the pocket picture-phone is real and we have Microsoft/Skype to thank.
But the kids still don’t call except of state occasions (marriage, major purchase, death, and bail). So you tell me: Where’s the progress?
6. & 7. Environment is all virtual.
You may be old enough to remember weather. But, except for a few “gloomy-Gus” types, there was no real money in it. Now? Everything is monetized.
Storms have names. Cold fronts get names. Snow has names (Lake Effect is my fave. No idea what Native American’s called it…how did the survive?
Climate changed over centuries. Now, in a mad rush to impose a global “climate tax” we’re told to expect a killer heatwave by lunchtime. Piss on it. Just more virtualization; a kind of weather-based cosplay.
We also have to save the killer whales. This way, they eat more salmon and keep fish prices at the store high. Bingo.
8. Energy is virtualized.
Mrs. Trout lived up the street from us when I was a kid. Her home was heated by a coal-fired furnace.
Weekends, I’d go over (for a buck or two) and spend two hours hauling out the clinkers and shoveling heaps of coal into the feed-screw of the furnace for the week.
It was work, sure. It didn’t pay for indoor skiing in Saudi Arabia, nor did it develop oilfields for ISIS and Iran to lust after.
Toss in the local utilities wanting me to set up a “an autopay” despite never missing a payment and it sounds a lot like the energy sector has been taken over by Guido and Luigi.
9. Finance has been totally virtualized.
When I bought my first shares a stock, certificates were mailed to the house. I proudly kept them in the safe, even though I was a “registered shareholder” for my own protection.
Now, just try to get a stock certificate.
There was also a time when bonds actually had “coupons” that you’d clip and mail in – a check would show up the following week.
Sure, this reduced the turnover in stocks and bonds, but you know what?
It kept the greedy-bastards who are front-running our daily trades with high-frequency trading from slipping a fraction of a penny to us on every share.
Again, we ask: Other than to make the “special class” of rich pricks richer, where’s the benefit?
Oh, and that old, archaic system was delightfully, intrinsically EMP-proof. We were THE world superpower back then because we got it mostly right.
Today, we’ve become totally dumbed down, over-complexified, and electronically reliant.
God help us if the power ever goes out.
This is not sour grapes, this morning.
Think of it more like a friendly reminder that if you come back here Monday and you haven’t added to your personal skill bank over the weekend, you’re living a wasted life.
But we’ll be glad to suggest a tattoo for your forehead, if it will help.
A big pair of V’s – for vitualized victim – would seem like a fitting label.
10. & 11. Still, There Are Times
Meanwhile, since we put as much as we can on our credit card and then pay it off with a free bank transfer an hour later, we did cash in 23,318 “points” Thursday.
When $186 bucks in free money (from partnering with Guido and Luigi) is posted, remind me to admit (grudgingly) that there are a few upsides to virtualized living.
That and automatic prescription refills….
“Please hold, I have an important call for this number…”
Write when you get rich, or have your AI write; I know you’re virtually busy. After all, if you can find a way to make people more egocentric or lazier, fame and fortune are Ures…