Think about it

If I were to get a tattoo, it wouldn’t be butterfly on the back of my calf. It would be the kind you get in prison, the letters between your knuckles, the ones that say L O V E on one hand, H A T E on the other, across the lower joints of each digit. The kind they do with paper clips and melted ballpoint ink. Mine would say M I L K.

I sometimes resort to this. An initial on the heel of my palm.

Milk, I remind myself yesterday at work. I write it on the edge of a card with two other things, which I do. I get home. No milk.

My computer has spent the month in and out of the shop. Actually, for a computer, it’s probably like being at camp or an artist colony. It has been hanging out at the Apple store waiting for parts and moving up the repair queue. Tonight, I am collecting it and think to myself as I drive: Milk.

Today, someone in my Twitter feed posted a link to a video that some guy made of his 5-year-old daughter’s reaction to familiar logos. They said it would make you smile so much your face would hurt. I found it really depressing. The one creative idea she had was that the McDonald’s logo looks like it’s made out of fries. Otherwise she was just winning the speed round of global branding and visual literacy. She recognized them all immediately, either by name or product type (except for Motorola). Even if she didn’t know the name, she knew it was for soda, coffee, games.

When our children were small, I read that McDonald’s and Coke signs were recognizable to babies, even ours, and it was kind of, whoa, baby intelligence, freaky, but now it’s so clear that these things are being imprinted on us and children are just absorbing it all.

“The Apple store logo with a bite taken out,” says the 5-year-old.

I have always thought that this is a really brilliant logo, capturing the moment where the bite has been taken; it’s all about knowledge and maybe you’re still even in paradise. People love going to the Apple store. It’s pretty and you can play with things. Women especially love to touch things in stores. Here you go, lady. An apple.

Because I have been taking my laptop in for treatment it’s been feeling a bit more like going to the vet. There is the awkward moment where you are waiting for the bad news. Or when you are waiting for them to bring your device out from the back room, where it has been transmitting fear, aggression or anxiety to the other devices.

And out where the Apple store is: no place to buy milk.

But I remember anyway. I put the milk away. I am listening to the radio in the kitchen. Scientists have made an amazing breakthrough. They have isolated the area in our brains where we process language and amidst the electrical chaos of our minds (I liked that) they can pick out and decode the words that are being thought. The reporter concludes happily that this will be a great means of facilitating communication with patients who have no other means of communicating.


Who says that such amazing breakthrough technology is going to be limited to this use?

What would they do if the patient is thinking, Get out of my head. I hate you. I love you.

Thought control to Major Tom. I’ll type it out for you because maybe you don’t have the new mindreader app yet, but start thinking like a sci-fi villain for  a minute. What would you do with this new technology? How could you make some money out of it?

I already find OnStar and GPS location services freaky enough.

I wouldn’t need a tattoo to remind me to buy milk. I would think it and you, my car, would drive me there when you detected we were in the vicinity of a milk-buying place, far away from the Apple store, on whatever road was closest.

By the time my thoughts get me into trouble with whatever authorities have bought the rights to the Verbalizer, if I didn’t already have something printed something on the other hand, my cellmate might have ideas for what it could say, but no need to speak them.

Radio reading of this post.


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