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When Will the World Stand Still?

Somewhere along the way,life began moving faster than the speed of light.  Built gradually through the ages, the unstoppable machine named progress, a modern day manifest destiny into the brave, unknown future of science has picked up speed in the Information Age.

In today’s day and age, everything moves rapidly and no excuse, much less “the dog ate my Request for Proposal,” stands a chance.  Why didn’t you back it up on a flash drive?  Why didn’t you print out multiple copies?  Why didn’t you finish and hand it in before you went home with it?  The word, “excuse,” will soon be excised from the dictionary.

Food has become “fast food,” lunch hours have transformed into a run to the closest Jimmy Johns. Packages are shipped and received the same day, or even within hours.  Snail mail remains only as a formality.  Moore’s law asserts that technology, essentially, becomes twice as fast every two years. Amazon reports more E-book sales than ink and paper book sales.

Life is moving faster and faster on less and less.  Sleep is no longer a requirement.  In the same way coffee, the speed drug of the last generation has given way to energy drinks riddled with taurine, caffeine, so will energy drinks be superseded by the next wave of the newest wonder fix of the modern world. These latest and greatest energy booster enable us to ramp up productivity while simultaneously destroying capability.

Aches and pains are no longer a reason to worry, but simply one more than a reason to visit the pharmacy.  Pills, the band aids of today allow us to mask what ails us and continue living life unchanged. Sleeplessness is cured by a small blue pill, inability is cured by a small blue pill, depression is cured by a multicolored pill, what was once an excuse to put a book down and play soccer is now cured by an orange pill containing Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. There is no longer any reason to slow down, take it easy, or fall victim to inconveniences.

But, eventually, all “good” things must come to an end. Snowballs rolling down hills eventually either collide with trees or come to a rest. Rome eventually fell.  Airplanes must eventually land…  For now.

But is this what we really want?  To continue at the speed of light until there is no possible way to become any stronger, better, or faster?

Usain Bolt set new records of 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds for the 100 and 200 meter dashes, respectively. There must be some point of perfection where it is physically impossible to go faster.  But, to be honest, when that point comes, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the Olympic Games began a Bio-Olympics league and allowed artificial blood, artificially augmented limbs, and literal lungs of steel.

What do you think?

July 28, 2010 Posted by | musings, writing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Happens When I Drink Coffee at Work?

I don’t drink coffee often.  I don’t drink it for fun, or for dessert, or because I get the shakes and a headache if I don’t.  I drink it for one reason: to stay awake and get energized.  I can count the number of times I’ve drank coffee this summer on two, or maybe one hand.

So, with the aforementioned preface in place, I found myself in the awkward position at work yesterday of feeling my eyelids droop, and my head slowly start to tilt backwards.  I assume it’s safe to say we’ve all been there at some point in time?

So, I get up, walk to the Keurig coffee machine, pick out a random packet from the eight boxes available, and start it up.

Returning to my desk, I take a sip, then another, then another.  Gradually, with sip after sip, I finish the cup.  Though I don’t drink coffee often, I do enjoy the aroma and taste.

A few minutes pass, and I become gradually aware of a strange, foreign feeling in my body.

Suddenly, I notice the God of Thunder demo (which is far faster paced than the regular version), by Kiss (courtesy of Derrick Pettelle), start pumping through my headphones.

All at once I can feel the power of the caffeine coursing through my veins and my heartbeat starting to race.  Checking to make sure no one is looking at me, I rock the air guitar along with Ace Frehley and stick out my tongue in imitation of Gene.  Rock on.

I don’t feel like I’m sitting at my desk in Lansing, Michigan anymore.  It feels like I’m racing a bright, cherry red Formula One Ferrari at the head of a pack through breakneck speeds in the Monaco, France race.

The office building suddenly begins to shake, and small pieces of wall in front of me start to peel away and fly past my head.  A particularly large chunk hits my monitor and bounces, smashing into the whiteboard behind me.  As I watch the deteriorating wall, I can see the oceanside on one side and the city buildings on the other through cracks and holes.  My keyboard starts to undergo a transformation, becoming a steering wheel with the black horse logo at the center.  My damaged monitor rolls down my desk and jumps onto my head, morphing into a red helmet with the Italian flag on the right side.  My office chair molds around me into the cockpit of the Formula One car.  The entire office quakes once more and then everything falls away, leaving me looking down the track of a real, live Formula One race.

Powerful engines whir and whine all around me.  Tires screech as cars scream around corners.  The scenes blur in my peripherals.  The smell of melting rubber, exhaust fumes, and sweat invade my nostrils, and the blanketing heat presses in on my suit.

My heart is in my throat, but I swallow and push it back down, grip the steering wheel with white knuckles, and jam the accelerator.

Right!  My head whips left and then to the right as I hit a successive right, then left turn.  Ted’s driving school never prepared me for this, but today I feel like a natural born racer.

Straightaway!  In my mirror I can see cars behind me fan out and start to creep up on my sides.  I glance back in front of me.

The finish line is up ahead!

The close second reaches my rear tire; I drift slightly left, then back to the right, edging him towards the wall.

500 feet!

A car on my left tries to make a break for the lead.

400 feet!

The car to my left reaches the center line of my car.  I can see the helmet of the driver and the reflection of the sun in his helmet shield.

300 feet!

I straighten the wheel and move back towards the center.  It’s no use attacking one and letting the other take the lead.

200 feet!

The car on the left noses forward ever so slightly.  The car on the right falls back.

100 feet!

If this were the Fast and the Furious, this would be the moment where I would hit the red nitrous button and secure the win, blue flames shooting from my tailpipe.

50 feet!

40 feet!

30 feet!

20 feet!

10 feet!!!

I drive a Ferrari; I don’t need nitrous.  I win the race by inches.  Cheers erupt into my helmet microphone.  I ease off the gas and raise my right fist in celebration.

My car presently sits, retired in the Ferrari store in Rome, Italy.

I don’t drink coffee often, but when I do, I prefer French Roast…

July 21, 2010 Posted by | writing | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments