Scene:—Alexander Hambone is at his apartment’s dining table with a telephone company representative.
MR. HAMBONE, OUR RECORDS REFLECT that you have been an excellent cellular customer for the past several years and yet, for reasons unknown, you refuse our offers to bundle all your data needs (Cable! Internet! Phone!) no matter how low we set our price.
This is correct, said Hambone.
We’ve offered you unlimited data, streaming for a full year for as little as $59 dollars a month before the mumbles-mumbles-mumbles and such and… * inaudible | cryptic jargon | inaudible | cryptic jargon | inaudible * Okay? Deal?
What was that last part? Do you realize you could make it free and I still would not allow your cables or dishes in here?
You’re driving our marketing department insane, Hambone. You’re the last holdout in this complex. This is our turf! Every unit must have cable, Internet, DVR and smartphone bundled. Bundled! * looking around suspiciously * What do you do in this place when you’re alone? That TV isn’t even connected to anything. Gross!
I think about stuff, read books, focus on what I want to accomplish.
Focus? Hogwash Hambone! NOBODY focuses anymore. They mustn’t. They mustn’t. I’d be out of a job—do you remember that movie with that one horse that sounded like… uh, Adam Sandler? It was all dressed like a ninja… I think. * fiddling with smartphone * KITTENS! (Damn I love those kittens). Look what they keep doing with their little, little paws. I high-five you. I high-five you… little buddy.
Focus, Phone/Cable/Internet-guy! Let’s get through this and get on with our lives. I’m not gonna go your way, okay?
We have a word in our business for people like you, Hambone: The Unplugged. Netflix subscribers, Hulu enthusiasts, WiFi junkies, video podcast subscribers, dumb-phone downgraders, e-waste recyclers, upgrade abstainers. You’re getting smug because there’s more and more of you each year. You think you and your kind will start some new revolution; take people off the grid; give people the power to disconnect, to reexamine their role as consumption-pawns for the One Percent. Well, your kind won’t win, Hambone. And do you know why?
Why is that, my friend?
Because, Hambone: you are atomized.
Atomized, Hambone. Isolated. Marginalized. A scattershot demographic of kooks and misanthropes who aren’t hip enough to set a trend or garner media attention. You’re no old-school backlash, Hambone. Get real. This will all fizzle out. Atomized, Hambone. All alone in this little bachelor apartment. You’ll get desperate. You’ll take what we give you. You’ll laugh at the laugh tracks; wonder what Chloe will wear next week; wish you could buy the latest designer drug before we even tell you what it is. You’re a dinosaur, Hambone. A Luddite. Are you really gonna show up to a date with the girl of your dreams with that clunker of a cellphone in your pocket… which reminds me, we’ve got a limited special on a 4G… wait. What was I talking about—? I don’t think it was a horse. Maybe a squirrel or a monkey or, or something. Remember the time when the dude was all like: “I’d buy that for a dollar!”? Where—where does that fit in?
I believe you’re referring to the motion picture, Robocop. And I don’t know where that fits into this discussion. It’s dismissive, however, to think of The Unplugged as Luddites—
And it go all like BOOM! * making hand gestures * and the guy comes out the back of the van and his skin’s all hanging and sagging * gesturing with hands * off his face because of the toxic waste and he’s all like ‘Help me! Help me! *voice hoarsens: H E L P M E!’ but nobody would help him—
Right… I’m not afraid or opposed to technology. I respect it. I don’t buy ice-cream every time I go to the store nor do I always buy alcohol. I’m not opposed to either, however. Likewise, I’m not opposed to sitcoms or movies or anything for that matter. What I do not want to do, however, is guzzle media through a fire-hose twenty-four/seven so ya’ll can maximize the amount of ads I have to digest in a given day. I’ll pass on being the Kantian mean to some Hummer-pushing, stat-analyzing ass-wipe’s end.
I want to be the station manager of my own life; to filter my media of pollutants just like I filter my tap water; to control the amount of time I set aside for other peoples’ ideas and desires.
* thumbing a text to someone * It probably was a horse, actually. Remember that dude with the pins coming out of his face was all like: ‘solve this puzzle, dude,’ right? because you’re going straight to hell? And then flames and screams and ahhhhhh * stamping feet and thrashing head * ahhhhh!
How old are you, sir?
Why don’t we just agree to go our separate ways?
You mean like those underground guys and those ones that got all eaten on Futurama?
The Morlocks and the Eloi? Maybe. I certainly hope it doesn’t get that bad.
$49 a month! Wait…? What were we talking about? Kittens! Wait—my boss just texted me to ask you: is that his final answer—and then the music plays, right? but then I was all like let him think about if he can eat just one; like Obi-Wan Kenobi…
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