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Crazy electrician

Filed Under , , on June 7th, 2014

Faulty Wiring

By Seth Kabala

I’ve been trying to get a bunch of construction project managers together to answer questions regarding one of our management consulting engagements. The issues are complicated enough, involving both state and federal tax law, but this is made even more of a pain in the boohahna since they all live 90 minutes away and have different schedules. After trying various methods of coordinating these people, the one I’ve found that worked the best was getting buy-in from one and having him go around to rally the others, which required face-to-face conversation. Work made easier through human interaction. Who’d a thunk?

This got me thinking: how much would it suck if we could only communicate with those in our household by the internet or other electronic means? What if it were physically impossible and/or illegal, to the point of punishment by death (my dystopian novel release date to come soon), to communicate with another human being through a method other than those requiring the internet or electrical power?

I know most people spend their family time sitting on the couch staring at individual mobile devices, but that’s what they choose to do. What if they were forced to do this? What if all communication had to be internet or electronic-only? Methods I use to communicate through the internet or electronically include: text messaging, emails, voice-mails, video-chatting, and conference calls. Selecting, one at a time, only from the aforementioned items, here’s how I envision household communications would go down:

1. When Dinner’s Ready.

Mom sends group text message to kids. Kids are busy gaming with the latest Minecraft version, ignore text. Later, kids send ALL CAPS texts to mom complaining about hunger. Mom sends back smiley face with halo, and a pile of poo jumping from four-leaf clover, if she’s feeling snarky.

2. When You’re In-the-Mood

You see your wife is bug-eyed focused on Pinterest. You also see that her email account is open, so even though you’ve never done this before, you’re really horny, so you send her an email marked urgent, with a picture of your junk attached. She replies back with a picture of her boobs, but strangely asks what happened to the collection of freckles that used to be around the bottom of your shaft. You realize your wife is having an affair, and you email a divorce attorney.

3. When Your Portfolio Is Tanking

Your broker leaves five messages, each one sounding more panicked than the previous. You need to sell–now! Problem: he mis-dialed and called your wife’s number by mistake, as your two numbers differ by only a single digit. Your wife has to work late at the office, concentrating on a hard deadline, so she doesn’t check her phone until after she gets home, after the markets have closed and your portfolio is in shambles.

4. When Your Child Graduates from College

The university’s performance hall is packed with relatives, friends, co-workers, and people jealous of your success who are only there to cast under-their-breath curses at you in the hopes that you trip and fall off the stage. You walk in with your classmates and fellow degree-candidates, take your seat, and crane your neck side to side to catch a glimpse of your parents.

Although you see aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and siblings–no mom and dad. As the beginning of the ceremony draws near, you feel your skin prickling, knees start bobbing, sweat forms on your back. Good thing this robe is black, you think. Then getting back to the painful reality of the moment: I can’t believe my parents are going to miss my college graduation. They said they would be here. What happened? The president of the university gets up, goes through the motions, and begins reading names.

What usually takes forever has now gone into warp speed, and before you know it, your name is called. You rise with trepidation and begin your journey to the platform. As you ascend the steps, you glance upward at the big screen and receive confirmation that you look as miserable as you feel.

Suddenly the picture on the screen fades out, and a gigantic image of your parents’ faces appears. You father says, “Hey, Son. We’re trying out this new doohickey video chatting thing. What do you think?”

5. When Your Power Goes Out

A massive summer thunderstorm downs trees and power-lines across the city, shutting off power to thousands, including you. You turn on the battery-powered radio to get updates, but get static. You scan from frequency to frequency to no avail. Every channel is static, white noise. Your eyes widen, nostrils flare. You can feel your heart racing. Even though the storm cooled everything off to the mid 60s, you feel like you’re about to go up in flames.

What the fuck is going on? you think. Are we under attack? Is it *gasp* the dreaded zombie apocalypse?

Then your phone rings, because apparently the storm was thoughtful and veered left and right of cell towers, only taking out its vengeance on power lines. You answer, but all you hear are multiple people–six or 10? You’re unsure–jabbering all at once. You catch pieces of conversation–”electrocution,” “live wires,” vicinity of …,” “stay inside if you live near …”–but nothing constitutes enough to form an informed opinion, so you decide to do the old fashioned thing: open your front door and step outside.

Once you do, you immediately step on a live, downed power line, are electrocuted, and die.

Obviously, I’ve painted a grim picture of the perils that await you if you were constrained to communicating only through internet or electronic means. My advice: go find a family member in the flesh and talk. About anything. Really. It doesn’t matter. Just put away the damn electronics for a few minutes.

Your life could be at stake.

Or at least your dinner.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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