1/21/2011

When I am King: Fast-Forward Progress

When I am King...

We will all have a fast-forward button for life.

Recently, a friend requested the ability to fast-forward through certain life events. It's possible that he was kidding, but since he was talking to the future monarch of our society, it seemed worth considering.

The problem with life is that it doesn't always not completely suck. There are some periods you go through, like grief, healing from injuries, and standing in line at the DMV, that simply take time and anguish. Wouldn't it be great if you could just mentally check out during these times and wake up later when they were all over?

Some lucky people don't have this problem; they clearly checked out years ago and won't be coming back anytime soon. But for the rest of us, why must we suffer these episodes?

Life offers its own fast-forward system already. It's called "getting old." This is the process by which everything seems to happen faster as you get old. A year in school to a kid feels like forever, but a year on the job thirty years later rockets by like a duck through a jet engine. This is a natural reaction to aging. Our body realizes that as we age there is simply more going wrong, so making everything seem faster will make it all better somehow. It's the same reason why punk and speed metal are set to fast tempos.

This current system works, so that the downer periods don't last as long as they might. But we still have to go through them. And since the acceleration applies both to awful events and to the few that aren't as bad, we don't benefit from being able to skip the ones that are worse and focus on the handful that are reasonable. It's a coarse approach, meant to get us to the finish line faster, not to make the journey there any more pleasant.

What we really need is a button that lets us select the periods to skip.

When I am King, we will all have a fast-forward button that allows us to skip past things that we don't like. Just hit the button and watch everything speed past until we want to wake up again. So many things in life will become more bearable: debilitating illnesses, workouts at the gym, tedious conversations, traffic, and most TV shows will breeze by, and we can slow down for the things that we really enjoy: sleeping and watching movies.

One of the difficulties that my scientists are still working on is the remote. When fumbling for the fast-forward button, it is all too common to hit the Stop or Eject button instead, and then the show's over.
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