Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

First, a disclaimer: The following critique of a new consumer product comes from the same guy who thought cell phones, social media, bottled water, and grocery store sushi would be flash-in-the-pan fads. You have been warned.

Nonetheless, I’m quite leery of newfangled computer chip implants for humans. These doohickeys allow users to activate computers, dial telephones, start car engines, and unlock doors at the wave of their hands.

I’m not pulling your leg or your arm. The technology already exists. It’s sure to be refined in the near future.

Already, a Seattle, Washington, company called Dangerous Things (I didn’t make that up, either) is selling these gizmos. They’re about the size of a grain of rice. They are surgically tucked into a fold of skin between the thumb and forefinger, transforming the wearer into a sure-nuff human robot.

No more keys. No more codes. No more passwords to remember–  or forget, as the case more accurately may be.

Instead, you just wave your hand across a sensor and – presto! – open sesame.

True, some of this high-tech gadgetry has tremendous medical potential. Perhaps it could bring life back to withered limbs. Or allow the blind to see. In that regard, I say full speed ahead and don’t spare the horses.

But for everyday use by me and thee? Thanks, but no thanks.

I have enough trouble with the computers, large and small, that rule my life on a daily basis. Such as the machine I’m typing on as we speak.

Most of the time, it performs its tasks without complaining. But “most” in this regard isn’t any better than a human heart or a set of lungs that work “most” of the time.

On those not-infrequent occasions when it does go on the fritz, my world turns into a personal hell.

The machine might freeze up. Or else it abruptly shuts down. Or else it suffers from any of 10,001 digitized ailments that, in geek speak, means it has a migraine or the runs or the pukes.

This condition is irritating enough when I can tickle keys or push buttons in a conventional manner. Imagine the angst if my only recourse is to keep waving my hands over and over, eliciting no more response than what happens in a public restroom when you’re trying to activate one of those stupid “motion” paper towel dispensers.

Speaking of which: Why, pray tell, do different brands of towel dispensers have sensors in different places?

On some, you wave in front.

On some, you wave in back.

On some, you wave at the sides.

On some, you wave underneath.

You wind up standing there, dripping all over the floor and your pants, moving your hands around like the Village People singing “Y.M.C.A.”

Trust me. If God didn’t want us to use our hands the old-fashioned way, He wouldn’t have given us middle fingers.


Sam Venable is an author, stand-up comedian, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. He may be reached at .