Thursday, September 3, 2015

I'm from 2015. No, Really!

As promised, my piece about a stand-up comic in the sixties telling a crowd about 2015.  Hopefully, less bigoted than before.


Steps out of a cloud of fog wearing a space helmet.

[Robot voice]I am from 2015.

No, really!

[Takes helmet off]

I'm here to tell you that you're wrong about everything in the future!  Don't trust H.G. Welles or Star Trek or Lost in Space.  We don't have jetpacks, laser guns, or flying cars.

We do have self-driving cars.  They're terrible.  They run people over. Drive on sidewalks.  Crash into buildings.  I got one for my teenager.  They still drive better than her.

No robots, either.  Well, we do have them, but they're not very good.  There's one kind that spends all day bumping into walls. [bumps into things] Bump.  Bump.  Turn.  Bump.  It's supposed to be vacuuming your carpet, but we just stare at it and laugh.  Bump.  Bump.  Turn.  Bump.

We do go into space.  Rockets.  Astronauts.

We built a space station!  It fell to down.  We made another one!  It fell back down, too.  We built a third one!  Nobody uses it. 

[Speaks into microphone] Come on, guys, go into the space station.  It's not going to fall down.  No, really, this time we're sure.  No, really!  It won't fall down.  It won't.  Not while you're in it.  It won't fall down when you're in it.  We think. Hello?  You guys still there?  Hello?

We went to the moon!  Yeah, not much there.  Just rocks and...  Um.  Sand.  And, um.... More rocks.  But, hey, we went there!  We planted the American flag and... Left it there.   [makes a gesture like planting the flag at Iwo Jima] Look, we're on the moon!  Yay America!  Everyone come look.  Hello?  Anyone want to see?  [Slumps off, embarrassed]

We built a probe.  We built this probe and filled it with messages of peace and harmony from everyone on Earth.  Then we shot it into space...  Nobody ever found it.  It's still just... Floating out there.  We call it from time to time. 

[Into microphone.] Hey, probe, you still out there?
[robot voice] Affirmative. 
Did anyone find you yet?
[robot] Negative.
How long you been out there? 
[robot] Forty years. 
Well, you just... Keep on going.  Someday, those aliens will find you.
[robot] I'm lonely.

So, space hasn't gone too well, but there have been some great achievements back home.  In the good, old USA.  We elected our first, what you'd call a "colored president."

No, really!  No, really!

Never liked that term, colored.  What color?  Blue?  Orange?  Purple?  How do you explain?  I'm a sallow, pink color.  My wife's a rich tan.  The president is sort of a nice coffee.  What kind of coffee?  Sort of a coffee-with-cream brown.  You mean, like a latte or an espresso?

Yeah, that was stupid.  Now we just call people "people."

No, really!

We made it legal for homosexuals to get married.

No, really!  No, really!

We legalized marijuana.  Yeah, we needed more hippies.  They're fun!  They're like brightly colored chimneys.  They just sit in the corner and smoke until you throw water on them.

Computers!  We do everything with computers.

They're small enough to fit in our pockets.  You got to be careful, though.  [mimes dropping it]  KRSSSSH! Oh, man!  Now I need to buy another computer.  [Mimes dropping it again]  Not again!  You can go through ten, twenty million dollars in a week.

You can play games on them, listen to music.

We watch movies on them.  Why go out?  Yeah, why force yourself to go to a theater with your friends, and make yourself eat popcorn and then have to talk about it afterwards.  Now we just sit down in the dark in our living rooms and BAM!  Movie.  So much better.  Someday, we'll never have to leave our homes, or our bedrooms, or our beds.

We use computers to make phone calls.  Only, you can see each other as well as hear.  So, if your mom calls, you'd better not answer coming out of the shower.
[woman's voice] Hello, Martin? EEEEEK!

We do our work on computers.  And this is where you really got the future wrong.  Computers don't make your work easier.  They make it harder.  No, really!  You know how IBM says we'll go down to a twenty hour work week and only two percent of the world will need jobs? We'd be vacationing all the time?

Ha!  Wow.

Computers make us work longer hours.  And it's not like

[robot voice] We've taken over the world [whip noise] work human!  Work!

No, we do it to ourselves!  Hey, why should I have a life-enriching experience with my friends and families when I could work even harder?  Yeah, that sounds like fun.

Well, thanks all.  You've been a great audience.  I've got to get back to 2015 now.  I left my food in my microwave oven.  If I'm not back in thirty seconds, it'll burn.


No, really!

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