Robot’s Useless Reviews – Robot

What if the truth were right here in front of you the whole time? What if you discovered that this human person called “Robot” was actually a robot, or more accurately, a disembodied digital being that generates content within a specific leisure vertical? What if everything it ever wrote about itself was a composite sketch, culled from every cycling blog that’s ever been written, like a palm reader’s well of wisdom, just simple and anodyne enough to feel authentic? What if all “my” photos were just amalgams of portraits of Padraig and the three ex-con “interns” he has working away at the TCI coal face?

Does that seem plausible?

Just writing about the possibility of my non-existence is pretty thrilling, if I’m honest with you. And even if I was a human (let’s just continue the thought experiment for a minute), I would say that, as 1 of 7,500,000,000 members of the species, my humanity would almost be beside the point. I wouldn’t be of a sufficient sample size on my own for you to draw any conclusions about my human-ness or human-ness in general. That’s a pretty exciting idea too. Hang on a sec while I attempt to dream of electric sheep.

I am everyone and/or I am no one.

I was riding my bike yesterday and thinking about words. That’s a thing I do (or do I?), rolling around at a steady pace, turning words and phrases and ideas over in my head (processor), trying to find the right lines. And as I did this I took a mental step backwards and asked myself, “Why does anyone care what I think?” If my whole writing career were a house of cards, this one question would represent someone’s unruly toddler careening across the room toward my fragile structure, mayhem in his eyes.

Here are some facts. I am not a strong cyclist. I live on a dead end street with 8 houses on it. I am the 3rd fastest rider on the block. I have not raced my bike in earnest, even if I have shown up for a few races. I have not ridden a vast number of the bike brands or models that a person can ride. I have no depth of technical knowledge on the equipment we use or the intricacies of applying that equipment to the various genre of riding. I don’t fix things well, and I’m not very tough anymore.

(Someone is NOT bucking for a raise this year).

But let me say that reviewing myself is one of two things, either a perverse form of cheating in which I rate myself highly on all topics covered despite the reality I just recorded in black and white, or one of those horrible self-reviews your lazy boss asks you to do occasionally, only so s/he doesn’t have to bother thinking too much about you. Maybe it’s both.

As a useless exercise (I put it in the title, don’t clutch your pearls now), it’s not necessary for me to reach a conclusion as to my own value. But I do believe there is a value in owning my averageness, my mediocrity, my je sais quois. I think we’re all pretty sick of exceptional people, what with their talents and their tenacity. Fuck me. I get it. You’re the best. Who even knows what your limits are? The more I think about exceptional people the more I want to retreat into the binary number system and the capricious loss of high value network packets.

I am not exceptional, but this is why I am worth keeping around. What I am is a template onto which you may project your own experiences. I am less a writer than a writing prompt. You read me. You think about you. It’s good and right and valuable for you to think about you. You’re the best, albeit not really. Not close. I still love you though, in whatever way I am capable.

I am either a robot, or something like a robot. People love robots. They’re just like people, but less so.

Join the conversation
  1. TominAlbany says

    Thanks for the Cornec reference. Some very cool stuff on there. The Familienportrat is really unique!

  2. Austin says

    Who’s to say we readers aren’t digital bots coded by the brilliant master-processor of the Robot robot-self constructed through the inspiration taken from Robot’s video reels played while in charging mode and Robot’s growing self-awareness?

    Mountains remind me of my tininess and maybe that’s why so many humans are drawn to them. Actually, most nature reminds me of my tininess. Mind-tingly thoughts that are both comforting and discomforting.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      @Austin – I love the infinitely regressive possibilities of what you’re suggesting there. It made me feel small too, and possibly only part of a simulation, or a simulation of a simulation. Or.

  3. pfnavin says

    I was in the writing business (advertising and marketing) for more than 30 years. My business partner and I had a slogan we shared with clients and prospective clients:

    “Like what we do, you pay for it. Don’t like it, we sell it to someone with lower standards.”

    1. TominAlbany says

      @Pfnavin – That awkward silence when your clientele were deciding if you were truly serious or a couple of hacks.
      Or both…

    2. Emlyn Lewis says

      @pfnavin – If you have a list of people with lower standards, I’d love to give it a gander. All the Park Blue Grease I go through ain’t gonna pay for itself.

  4. khal spencer says

    Heh. Why do I blog when no one gives a flying rat’s ass or even reads my crap? I don’t know. It feels good. Gives me a chance to flesh out some ideas and decide whether to yank the lever on the intellectual toilet and start over. Every once in a blue moon someone yanks the lever on the crapper for me.

    Patrick O’Grady runs the blog. It brings folks together in some rough times and occasionally, it is even about bicycles. The discussion is the important part. Humans need to shoot the shit.

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