Get Out of My Brain, You Norzoids! It's Y3K, and life sucks. Time to take things into my own boneless hands.
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I was in the middle of my late-morning mandatory cranial download when I realized that I couldn't take it anymore. Maybe it was the jolly seasonal music being piped directly into my limbic region that did it, but I just thought: Hey. Enough. It's 2999 already. It's time to take control of my life.

My plan is simple. It won't take long to implement. But I thought that before I went ahead and left all of you neural Netniks behind, I would give you some of my reasons.

First, and most unacceptable to Bud, I am sure, I'm sick of this transcortical implant in my head. I know it's a convenience. It's nice that we don't have to carry around those micro-DigiPhones embedded in our palms the way they did in the old days. It must have been a terrible pain to be instant-messaging someone via an interpersonal, real-time link in your adenoids and all of a sudden have your hand go off like a microwave oven when the turkey substitute is ready. Still, call me crazy, but I find it creepy to hear Bud's voice in the back of my head all the time, informing me I have an incoming communication from somebody in Omaha.

I heard once there was a time when people could go places where they could not be reached. Tunnels, I think they called them. Now there are no such places, because we carry our links inside us wherever we go.

I think that's wrong. I want it to stop. I'm tired of the mandatory downloads of news, weather, information, and entertainment that Bud provides for me. I know the cornucopia of data was assembled using a menu I myself provided from the 243,892 channels now owned by the Company. But just because I was interested in something last week, must I hear about it now? Don't I have the right to be surprised? I guess Bud doesn't think so.

You know how it happened. Around the turn of last century, the Company decided it was no longer a person's right to be uninformed and underentertained. Right now, for instance, I'm on my second internal alert about economic news from Eurok. I guess this is because I scanned similar information more than twice last monad. Now they won't let me alone about it. It's horrible. First, you get a little ping in your middle ear, and the message floats into your head. "Hi, Stan. Got something for you." That's mine, anyhow. Yours is, of course, whatever you asked it to be. The second time Bud's not as patient, and the ping comes with a little tweak. You don't want to let it go a third time. I tried that once, and it wasn't worth it.

The thing is, I don't want to know everything all the time. In the old days, there were millions who didn't know everything. A lot of them didn't really know anything. That must have been nice.

Supporters of omni-InfoSaturation point out that it's all on demand. We're just getting what we ask for! Actually, the tsunami of download material we tailor for our own consumption only forces us to come face to face with our own limited interests and disturbing obsessions. There are people who do nothing but sit in their eco-chair for monads at a time, soaking in on-demand supplies of "Who Wants to Be a Dodecazillionaire," chuckling every time Cyborg Philbin murmurs, "And that would be your final answer?" What a bunch of norzoids!

But honestly. Is that any better than my fate--being awash in news from Fresnia, Gorbatuna, and Blabst, constantly updated on economic data, sports scores, or political trends in which I truly have no interest? I have heard that at one time people used to roam the spectrum at will, discovering things they had no prior intention of watching. Can you imagine?

And our jobs, our jobs. What is it we actually do? We don't make anything, that's for sure. We come and go and don't leave a trace. At this writing I have climbed to the level of Information Director, Third Class. That's a very big deal, rating me a nice personal space. But...what is it I do? Move data, like everyone else. Financial data. Personal data. Packaging. Repackaging. Uploading. Downloading. I want to do something, goddamn it! To...make something.

You know, I heard that before the Company finally resolved all global competitive issues, there was more than one entity that produced things to buy. People actually went out and obtained things from "stores." Now it's different. I think of something I want. The subliminal order is placed over the ethersphere, which has my personal information on file. The "object" is then downloaded into my conceptual folder for review. If I approve, I get to "experience" it.

The hork with that. There is an existence in the physical plane, even though Bud doesn't want you to be aware of it. People smell things. They taste. They touch objects with their fingers as well as their minds--did you know that?

And they go places. Okay, I know the travel rules are for our own good, that there are simply too many life forms on this planet now for all of us to go anywhere without prior permission from Bud. But on my vacation, I want to feel real, not virtual, sand between my toes. I'm not scheduled to fly for anything but business until 3012. And the line for discorporealization to anywhere worth going is so long you'd have to be the CEO of a local Company governing franchise to get an authorization.

I wish I had bones.

Oh, all right. I know I have bones in there somewhere. But it's been so long since I used them. I know I have muscles too. I want to experience something that isn't filtered through some sort of portal into a physioneural net. In short, I want to get up and walk.

Go ahead! Laugh! But I'm dead serious.

I'm going to unplug. That's just a figure of speech, of course. There are no wires. It's all supra-high frequency. There is, however, the metapod in my hand that can be destroyed. It's my gateway. And all I have to do is squeeze.

I have heard tell of others. Perhaps they are out there, crawling around without their tethers, feeling actual rain on their pallid skin, nonvirtual sun on their shoulders. Perhaps they have books and thoughts that are not augmented on demand. Perhaps they are not merely receptacles for Bud or for the Company.

But even if there is only darkness and isolation and silence out beyond this world we have created, it is there that I will go. I look to the future with hope in my heart.

Wish me luck. Maybe I'll see you there.

By day, STANLEY BING is a real executive at a real fortune 500 company he'd rather not name.