Time to climb on the old soapbox again.
This time, however, not so ladylike. Nope, this time I want to put on a pair of heavy winter boots, stomp my way up, get a megaphone, and scream as loud as I can, “What the hell are we becoming?” Remember that old sci-fi TV program, “The Twilight Zone?” Well, it has arrived, and we’re living it.
It all began with a news item this week that Domino’s Pizza is going to start test-marketing delivery by robot cars. That’s right, a pizza delivery robot. They’re doing it right now in Houston, and what a wonderful place to try it out. Houston, known for being built on a swamp. Also known as the world capital of space exploration, the world capital of air conditioning, the world capital of the international energy industry, the world capital of petroleum exploration, the world capital of capital punishment (now there’s something to brag about), and may we say, “Enron?” And now they are the test market for delivering pizzas without human beings driving the delivery vehicles. Isn’t that another, “Houston, we’ve got a problem?”
Seems that Domino’s will soon be out delivering your pie without customers ever having to come in contact or pass a word with a live pizza delivery man. The robots are descending upon us and have come for the most basic of jobs, ready to wipe them out via the R2, the self-driving pizza bot made by Nuro. Domino’s has tried this sort of thing before with its DXP pizza delivery vehicle and more recently during the pandemic with a contactless pizza pickup method in which the Domino’s employees would merely drop the pie in your trunk or cargo area. Hope the sausage didn’t fly off. However, if this pizza delivery bot catches on, we’ll soon have human pizza delivery folks standing on the unemployment lines, as if they’re not long enough now. On-road autonomous vehicles. How does that make you feel knowing these bots will be on our roads, eliminating any chance of conversation you will have with a live body like, “Hey, I didn’t want anchovies!” or “How is it out there tonight?”If Amazon is sending down delivery drones and pizzas are coming by robots, pretty soon we might as well eliminate English from high school classes because we’ll have no need to speak with another human again.
Here’s something else that’s been bugging me for quite a while. I almost hesitate to mention it because I’m sure there’ll be some angry mail. When candidate Biden secured the Democratic nomination for president, he was very vocal in saying that “I will soon pick a running mate, and it will be a female of color.” Now before you call the paper complaining, think of what he said. He wanted so desperately to be politically correct that he had already made up his mind it would be a woman and would be someone of color. As it was, he found a suitable candidate, but why didn’t he tell the American people, “I will soon pick a running mate, and it will be the best person for the job.” Maybe that might have turned out to be a crusty old white guy, but with great qualifications. Or maybe a Jewish Eskimo amputee. Point is, don’t we want the BEST man or woman for every job?
And so it goes. We are constantly hearing comments like, “Sabina Matos, who just became our lieutenant governor, is the first woman of color in the office.” Why not, “Matos is highly experienced and appears to work well with the new governor.” Why are we using adjectives of color or nationality to describe the people we put in office rather than adjectives like “well-educated,” “accomplished,” “popular with constituents?”
Finally, have you noticed every conversation lately among relatives, friends, neighbors, and workers always begins, ends, and settles around the vaccine? Which one did you have? Did you get sick? Where did you go for your shots? And finally the great question, “Did you have all your shots?” I sometimes feel we’re a bunch of dogs and can’t get our license until we get them all.
Well, if you must know, I had both in Cranston. I did not get sick. I had a sore arm. I got a bit tired. However I realized this is not the end.
I now need one for distemper.
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 19 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-539-7762.