FINALLY, A COMPUTER FOR EVERYONE ELSE
by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Sure, computers were nifty, but they all did the same things. Once they got the productivity software in there, it was like music and games and the only advances in the personal computer world in the last fifteen years were tweaks and more speed and more memory and who gave a shit anymore? How excited could you get about e-mail and movies?
After his three-billionth game of solitaire and thousandth spreadsheet, Bill freaked out and smashed everything in his house with his computer. Finding a new use for the old shitbox brought him a sense of elation he hadn't felt since he'd studied under Guru ShugaCyoob Williams -- and slept with the guy's wife.
Bill wanted to design a computer that was good for something else, filled with apps killer that would breathe new life into the techno-undead who'd thought they were cutting edge when they downloaded feature films in a few heartbeats. It took him years, but it didn't matter; the rest of the industry still raced to nowhere on the same track. Bill unveiled the Billiwag.
The Billiwag made pie! That's right, goddammit, I said pie. Apple or lemon meringue, or dozens of others.
"Say, Charlie, that's some great pie!"
"Thanks, I made it on the computer this morning before I came to work."
The Billiwag helped your kid assemble his science projects and told tele-marketers to go fuck themselves before they even dialed your number. These were things people wanted. Things that people needed, with all the bullshit thrown out. To hell with presentation software! The Billiwag slapped speakers with barbed gloves and rubbing alcohol until they got to the point. Suddenly, three day business retreats were condensed to minutes over the phone.
Its operating system removed stains from damn near anything. In 2048 a Billiwag watched the Olympics so that the rest of us didn't have to and later on, when you saw it on the street, it was kind enough not to bring up what it had seen. It was versatile enough to mass produce gum wrappers or make extremely loud and convincing farting noises when politicians were trying to avoid the issues.
Entertainment software: hadn't we all heard enough music? We had it in our pillows when we slept and in our showerheads and diaphragms. You want real entertainment? The Billiwag trapped small woodland creatures and forced them to perform in macabre circuses for our pleasure.
It sent smoke signals. It massaged our egos and worked for real social change by publishing the names and addresses of people who shit all over the walls in public bathrooms.
This story doesn't have an ending. Bill just wanted you to remember the Billiwag ten minutes from now, once you've left here and sunk back into the shallow world your computer works hard to deliver. Revel in your limitations, Mundanes!
Well, okay, I guess it did have an ending, but it wasn't a good one! Well, maybe this is the ending. Hold on, the ending's coming up as soon as you reach this period . . . here: .