POEM: Confessions of a Closet Luddite

Some people dream of shoving a boss in front of an inbound train. My own fantasies run to the smashing of computers and phones into a fine — if toxic — dust.

I don’t know what it says about me that:
-I equate these machines with the boss from that first scenario,
and, also,
-(like the aforementioned people) I’m too scared to go through with it.

I realize that these devices make life much easier…
except when they don’t, and it’s only then that I want to murder destroy them. Of course, the person who wants to murder her boss doesn’t want to do it when there is cake in the breakroom or when an unexpectedly generous bonus comes through — just, you know, the other times.

Unlike the original Luddites, I don’t hate machines out of a fear that they will replace me.
They already make a better economist than I ever did.
And even if the machines pick up their poetry-writing game,
that’s why I have the yoga instructor gig to fall back on…

[Because I’m convinced it will be decades before humans feel comfortable learning backbends from an entity that can twist rebar like a bendy-straw.]

No, I detest our silicon brethren because I have been sold a line that they can (and do) only do what I ask of them. [Hence the reason I don’t get so enraged by humans; anytime a person does something I ask is an unadulterated victory.] Instead, sometimes the computer does what I ask, but the next time something else entirely may happen. If the machines were consistently unable to complete the task, I would chalk that up to my failure to understand them. As it is, I’m left with a landscape of disturbing possibilities:

One, the machines are pranking me. (If this turns out to be the case, I think we can, eventually, be friends.)

Two, my computer’s desolate existence is causing it to try to commit “suicide by user.”

Three, we live in a glitching universe, and at any given moment the machine may produce a random unexpected result.

I don’t want to go back to the Stone Age, but I do have a newfound understanding of the allure of Steampunk. Contrary to the name, no one ever got punked by a steam engine. (Scalded and blown up, yes, but never punked.) The same cannot be said of a smartphone.

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