I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives—a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra culpa!”—Albert Einstein, 1946
Yes, readers, it’s time for another “Ask a Mom About Technology”, the post which answers the questions you would have asked if you didn’t already have a life.
Dear Mom, Does talking on a cellphone while driving cause brain cancer?
Dear Reader, While it’s true that laboratory rats who drove little laboratory cars equipped with teeny built in phones displayed higher cancer rates and really annoyed laboratory rat drivers without car phones, scientists conducting the experiments caution that it is too soon to draw conclusions.
“Laboratory rats tend to develop cancer in direct proportion to the size of the government research grant involved,” reported one scientist from his car phone. “And since I still have three kids to send to college, it’s clear that resolving this issue will require big piles of grant money.”
Dear Mom, Does airline food cause cancer?
Dear Reader, Airline food comes from state-of-the-art kitchens where award-winning chefs spray leftover Middle School Cafeteria meals with a plastic coating and add a piece of parsley. Luckily, there will soon be an alternative because I’m considering starting my own carrier, Mom’s Airline (motto: “Your Mom Knows What’s Good For You”)
At Mom’s, you’ll notice the difference the minute you reach our departure gate decorated in Early Family Room, with Legos on the floor and a couple of drooling, crotch-sniffing golden retrievers roaming about. At departure time, you’ll hear the announcement: “We are ready to begin boarding shortly. Does anybody need to use the toilet before we go?”
Once aboard, Mom will have a few announcements: “On behalf of your entire flight crew of certified grandparents, I’d like to welcome you aboard Mom’s Airline. Today you’ll be flying Mom’s DC-3 that she got at a yard sale and reupholstered herself in country prints from the Fabric Bonanza table at the WalMart. Some of our features include:
- Tray tables containing video games complete with headphones and feeding tubes so your children won’t need human contact during the flight. (Fathers may also be issued headphones if they have written permission slips from their wives.)
- In the event of an emergency, each seat back will convert to a Baby Changing Station, and disposable diapers will drop automatically from the overhead compartments.
- For your viewing pleasure, Mom presents her old Beta VCR with selections from her extensive library of G-rated films featuring animated rodents and taped episodes of Barney and Friends. As always, you many not watch until you’ve finished your math homework and had it checked over by a member of the cabin crew.
On our flight today, Mom will be serving leftover Tuna Surprise. No, you don’t get any other choices; Mom’s not running a restaurant here. First class passengers will be allowed to order out pizza, but they have to use their own allowances. And as always, no passengers will be excused from the plane until they have finished all their vegetables.
We want to thank you for choosing Mom’s Airline today. Before you leave, please return all tray tables and Baby Changing Stations to their full upright positions, straighten the seatback lace doily, and make sure you have brushed your hair and teeth. A member of the flight crew will be passing through the cabin shortly to make sure you’ve washed your face and have clean fingernails. Sit up straight until the plane has come to a full stop at the gate. And remember, never go anywhere without calling Mom.
Dear Mom, Do automated phone answering systems cause brain cancer?
Dear Reader, If you are calling from your car phone and want to be put on hold indefinitely so everybody around you will think you’re closing important business deals, press “1.”
If you wish to make a reservation on Mom’s Airline, press “2” and stop that slouching right now. And it’s just a suggestion, but if you pulled your hair off your face, your skin might clear up.
If you want Mom to seat you next to her neighbor’s nephew, a perfectly nice accountant who would make a wonderful husband, press ‘3.”
If you are calling from a landline or you want to talk to an actual human being, you’ll have to wait until the kids get home from school. Mom hasn’t really figured out how to use this machine thingy yet.
[WARNING: Read the review of HOPE first, because this book could cause you to start fantasizing about moving to a remote location, living off the grid, and only reading books when the used paperbacks are posted in the little free library (which at least is a useful source of toilet paper). Because THEY really are watching you and making value judgements about your tweets. Just saying…]