David Bouchier

David Bouchier: Prisoners Of The Microchip

11 hours ago
David Bouchier's old car, sometime in the 1970s.
Courtesy of David Bouchier

The manufacture of cars is apparently in danger of grinding to a halt, not because of a lack of steel, or rubber, or even plastic, but because there is a shortage of microchips. For drivers of my generation this sounds ridiculous. We suspect that our cars have microchips in them, because everything more complicated than a can opener does. Even my own ancient Honda may have a computer hidden somewhere inside it, because the car does the kind of inexplicable things that can only be blamed on a computer. The windows go up and down, lights and screen wipers go on and off without any human intervention and odd warning lights appear on the dashboard. The warning lights are easily defeated by a piece of duct tape, but the other jokes played by the hidden computer are annoying, and unnecessary.

wedding
Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay

Spring is here: the trees are leafing out, the flowers are springing up, taxes are falling due and the first air conditioning service vans are circulating coolly through the suburbs. This is the season of romance and it is, or should be, the time for spring weddings.

A bust of Franz Liszt
Image by Jolanta Dyr from Pixabay

Self-image has always been a problem for our species. We worry far too much about how we look. A cat or a cockroach doesn’t fret about its appearance, but we humans have whole industries dedicated to making us appear better, more stylish and more attractive than we are.

Image by Noah Haggerty from Pixabay

Earth Day was established in 1970, and that was no accident. We were just beginning to see the Earth in a new way — from space. It is one thing to know intellectually that we live on a ball of dirt floating in the middle of infinite nothingness — it was quite another thing to see it as we saw it in those first photographs from the moon landings. Suddenly it was all too clear that this was it — this was all we had or would ever have by way of real estate, and perhaps we should take care of it.

money taxes
Image by Eric Perlin from Pixabay

The Federal tax deadline has been put back this year, which must please a lot of people. But the whole Kafkaesque system somehow seems less formidable than it once did, now we are living in a post-truth society where anyone can say any crazy thing and expect to be believed. Lies have been certified as truth at the highest level, which should make filling in the 1040 form much easier. The IRS, which in any case is overwhelmed by a backlog of tax returns, would surely never question our sincerely held beliefs about income and expenses, no matter how unlikely they seem.

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