Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Virtual Reality Snark

So I got a little mixed up with the schedule this week and posted inspiration on Monday.  Old habits, you know?  Don’t worry, Friday’s is accurate (I wrote it last week after I finished the script it’s about.  WOW.)

At any rate, here’s this week’s bit of short fiction.

Virtual Reality
by Jon Stark
July, 2014; 546 words
There’s a lot of talk these days about virtual reality.  The ‘new technology’ that’s going to change everything.  Just like it did 20 years ago.  Sure, The Lawnmower Man looks campy now, but its promise was very alluring back then.  Sort of like these silly goggles now.  Or the glasses with HUDs – Heads Up Displays.

But guess what, everybody?  You don’t need those goofy gadgets to tap into a virtual reality experience.  You’re already in it.  Ever watch cable news and wonder what planet the anchors are living on?  It’s Earth, but they’re living in their own virtual reality.  And the Mayor of Toronto – Bob B. Smokinstill?  Total VR junkie.

It isn’t just the rich and famous either.  We were discussing the global poverty crisis at work the other day and a man I’ll call Jim crashed the conversation to tell us all that he completely understood because with the cost of gas going up he could barely afford his interest only mortgage on account of the two truck payments, the new snowmobile from last winter and the last three years of payments on the old snowmobile that he bought four years ago plus the big screen he bought for the Super Bowl only came with 6 months of no payments so he’s going to have to come up with another $15 per month to cover the minimum on that.  We nodded, hoping he’d leave.  But there was more.  Apparently he couldn’t afford the 34 foot 5th wheel camper he was planning to buy, something about his credit, and had to settle on the 26 foot model with only two slide outs.  “So yeah,” he said, “I totally get the poverty problem.”

And then there was the lady at Big Food Big Savings.  She was offended that I wouldn’t let her in front of me in the checkout line just because she had a couple of screaming kids and had only stopped in for formula and diapers and was late.  Sorry, Lady.  I’ve been here for hours filling these two carts.  If you wanted to be ahead of me in line, you should have left the brats in the car.  The warped sense of entitlement some people have.  I should have let the air out of her tires in the parking lot.  That would have taught her to leave extra time in her schedule for the unexpected.

Twice this morning on the drive in I had to speed up to keep some Mario Andretti wannabe from being able to pass by going around.  I hate in when the traffic is moderate, people think it’s okay to just zoom around because there’s a little bit of space.  All that’s going to happen is that they’ll get stuck at a red light.  The one guy got really upset and started honking his horn at me and flipped on his emergency lights.  I threw my mostly empty coffee cup out the window at him at the next light.  “Here you go, Copper, sorry I don’t have a doughnut to go with it,” I said.  Those lights are for emergencies, not to fill your belly.  Abuse of power and position.  Why?  Because they’re all living in a virtual reality.

Makes it hard for those of us in the real world.

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