Ted (merovingian) wrote,
Ted
merovingian

Nano, the Em Dash, and Your Phone Bill

I paid my phone bill, but accidentally dated the check in the year 3004, instead of 2004. Maybe that's why my next phone call was misrouted into the future.


The person who answered -- or maybe it was a very friendly sapient machine -- or maybe there wasn't a difference in 3004 -- spoke in a superset of all languages. He used whatever words fit best, regardless of root language. For each sentence, he used the grammar that expressed the mood he wanted. Apparently, when human mental capacity and new teaching methods made it possible to learn every language completely, everyone just began using all languages simultaneously, in an elegant super-pidgin. The individual character and culture of each language was remembered and kept, but the whole was blended together, like some new kind of poetry.

It sounded like interesting gibberish to me, though. I was embarassed when I had to ask him to speak English. He seemed amused and delighted by the idea -- like it was a special word puzzle to use only one language. He said he was a story teller by vocation. Then he told me the fairy tale of CEO Midas.

Once upon a time -- sometime after 2004 but before 3004, presumably -- there was a CEO named Midas. CEO Midas wished that everything she touched turned to nano! But she wasn't one by idle wishing, and this was no exception -- Midas put together a well-paid and talented team of specialists to enact the project. After years of long work, Midas got her wish. Everything she touched was converted to programmable, polymorphic, cohesiveness-capable nanobots! She touched her house and it became well-insulated and sturdy, got clean very quickly and changed color at will. She touched food and made it more nutritious. She touched her daughter's cheek and her daughter became strong and healthy and smart. The whole thing was expensive, but Midas was generally quite happy with it. The End.

"Wait. Didn't something sad happen to CEO Midas?" I asked. "Isn't there an awful ironic end, with a moral?"

"Oh, I'm sure sad things happened to her sometimes," he said, "But in 3004, it's considered insulting to give a moral to a fairytale. It's especially condescending to tell a story where all of your own personal theories come true."


The next day, my phone was back to normal.

What's the moral?
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