What’s Your Emergency

This is a writing exercise. My writing prompt was: A senior with Alzheimer’s reporting a crime to the police.

“What’s my emergency?” she asked. It really wasn’t MY emergency. I couldn’t care less if my neighbor was being murdered or if she was ringing her cat’s neck, but the noise was keeping me up and I had an important meeting in the morning with the President

I’m not sure why this lady on the other phone is asking me so many questions. I’m really not even sure why she called me. It’s probably because of that screeching cat in the neighbors house. I told her I’ll go take a closer look to see if I can figure out what’s going on. For some reason, she doesn’t want me to do that. I can understand that. Not everyone is as fearless as a war hero like me.

Some have accused me of losing my mind, but I haven’t lost a step. I’m as sharp as the bayonet on the end of my rifle. I tell you, trench warfare will change you. It changed me, but this lady on the phone doesn’t want to hear about that right now. She’s only interested in that damn cat!

Fine, you want to know about the cat! I’ll find out about the cat. Still, she insists that I shouldn’t go check on the cat. I remember having a cat when I was a child. Or was Tiger my sister’s cat? I’m more of a dog person. I don’t know why this lady on the phone is asking me about a cat when she knows I’m a dog person. Everyone knows I’m a dog person.

I knew someone who had a tiger when I was growing up. It tried to attack my dog once. Cold blooded killer were it not for my bravery! See that cat lady! I’ve been brave my whole life! Hey, someone finally made the neighbor’s cat shut up. Finally, I can go back to sleep. Good night lady on the phone. Click.

Shorty story idea: Bot Wars

Bots are built by various countries around the globe that escalate tensions on social media and traditional media outlets. Counter bots are developed to counter the existing bots and that sparks a bot arms race that eventually leads to traditional warfare.

Short story idea: dystopia repo.edu

Sam is unable to repay student loans despite having a fairly decent job, nice apartment, fast car, and material excess. Sam starts noticing his every movement is being watched and discovers that he’s being tracked by a repoman. He uses elaborate schemes to secure all of his material wealth and finally confronts the repoman only to discover that the repoman was merely tracking him and waiting for his default on his student loans so that he could repo Sam’s education. The repoman repos Sam’s education, leaving Sam with a knowledge base that’s 8 years in the past. Meanwhile, the repoman is part of an elite group of humans becoming super intelligent as they repo the education of millions of students around the globe and put that knowledge into their own minds.

Human Machinery

A great example of the human machine is waking up in a particular “emotional state”: sad, angry, lonely, depressed, happy. That’s a product of the human machine. We have done nothing with the body or placed the body in an environment that makes such an emotional state a natural reaction. Yet, the emotional state is quite real.

That emotional state exists because the human body is a machine.

The moment we discover human machinery for ourselves brings clarity. Emotional states do not stop appearing (seemingly out of nowhere). Emotional states are not invalidated. If anything, discovering human machinery validates emotional states. An emotional state is created (whether physically/mentally awake or asleep) by human machinery.

We cannot NOT experience an emotional state. Still, an emotional state is both as real as our human body and as unreal as our dreams.

Prolonged exposure to particular emotional states (whether from a physical environment or a mental environment) results in reprogramming of the human machine. It is the same as learning to play the piano, ride a bicycle, drive a car, read, write, dance, do math, cook, sing, act, etc. Human machines can become programmed to produce a consistent emotional way of being. These exist as depression, anxiety, paranoia, delusion, and other ways of being that are often mistaken as an emotional state. The human machine has no judgement as to whether these are “good” or “bad”. That judgement is left to us.

The human machine becomes increasingly proficient at whatever it is trained to do. The human body will become better at being depressed (anxious, worried, happy) with practice whether you are choosing the training or not. Eventually, the human machine will be programmed to produce emotional states without thought. It is at that point, the human machine has gone from an emotional state to a way of being (e.g. going from “feeling depressed” to “being depressed”).

The state of depression is not the same as the emotion of feeling depressed. Depression is a physical state of being for the human machine. In any given moment, a human machine with depression can no more be NOT depressed than a human machine can not go to the bathroom. Depression is something the depressed human machine must do.

Seeing the distinction of our human machine gives us the opportunity to distinguish between taking an emotional laxative or costive.

  • If we choose to be purely our human machine, we are depressed
  • If we choose to be naive enough to believe that we are NOT our human machine, our human machine is still depressed
  • If we choose to exist inside of a human machine that is depressed, we are ourselves with a programmable human machine that can be reprogrammed to any way of being given prolonged training

In other words, we can choose to be in our depressed human machine AND train it to learn how to be in a perpetual state of happiness (or complacency or anything we want). Much like becoming a master at playing the piano takes 10,000 hours of practice, so does becoming a master at being happy. The great news is that any mental state can be practiced 24/7. That mental state has an effect on our human machine. We get to direct our human machine however we want.