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Published by joshuamalbin
My take on the crappy economy. With a sentient home computer thrown in.
My take on the crappy economy. With a sentient home computer thrown in.

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Published by: joshuamalbin on Jul 27, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Joshua Malbin307 12
St. Apt. 8Brooklyn NY 11215
1NADAfter years of trying, Max sold a screenplay. It was sort of a sci-fi comedy in whichall the silicone breast implants in the world became sentient and possessed their owners.Finally a producer had appreciated the potential in showing giant-breasted women firstmanipulating powerful men and then, once they were discovered, battling in the streetswith a band of natural-breasted heroines of various cup sizes.The first sum of money, for the rights alone, was enough of a bump in income forhim to leave his annoying roommates and take one of the few rental units in a new full-service condominium building all the way on the west side, near the river. There was agym on the second floor, a washer and dryer in every kitchen, a bar and lounge on one of the upper floors, even a concierge in the lobby with her own desk, separate from thedoorman’s. The day after he moved in he asked her where in the neighborhood was goodtakeout, and she not only suggested a Thai restaurant that delivered, she told him whichitems on their menu were best.He soon became dependent on all the little conveniences. When he left in themorning for the job he couldn’t yet afford to quit, he no longer had to remember to put achange of underwear and socks in his gym bag. Instead he got to ride the elevatorupstairs after a session on the treadmill or at the weight bench, shower in his ownbathroom, and have all his clean clothes right there. He no longer had to monitor howmuch clean underwear he had left, either, and make time for the laundromat before it ranout, because he could do laundry any night while he prepared dinner and simultaneouslywatch the shows his Tivo had stored for him. When his agent FedExed papers to him or
Joshua Malbin307 12
St. Apt. 8Brooklyn NY 11215
2he ordered shoes online, he could leave home and not worry about when the deliverytruck would arrive. When he wanted a taxi he called down to the doorman and it waswaiting when he reached the front door.He felt like he was beginning to arrive in the life he’d wanted ever since college. Inhis day job he worked for a major publishing empire, in a group that put out high-endluxury magazines like
Yacht Magnate
Cigar and Brandy
, and
. Essentially hewrote and edited advertising copy dressed up as short articles and fitted around theprimary content—the paid ads and other pictures of expensive products. He’d wantedbadly to write something that stirred people, that made them happy, and being paid for itat long last validated that strangers (who counted for more than friends or family) mightrespond. The real feeling of success would come until the movie was actually made andreleased, of course, but the foretaste was very sweet. He could look at his socks andunderpants tumbling in the dryer and think:
ideas and heartfelt effort paid for that.Eighteen months later his movie went into production and he received another,considerably larger sum. He used part of it for a down payment on a condo unit on theopposite side of the building, the one with river views, and the remainder to make up thedifference between what he could afford on his day-job salary and the checks he now hadto write each month for his mortgage and the condo fees.The new apartment came with what the super described as a “magic box” and whatthe owner’s manual left on the kitchen counter called a Needs Anticipation Device.Apparently the building’s developers were experimenting with this new technology as away to phase out the concierge. It was essentially an ordinary desktop computer locked
Joshua Malbin307 12
St. Apt. 8Brooklyn NY 11215
3behind protective Plexiglas in an alcove in the living room and connected by cableshidden in the walls to touch-screen consoles in all four rooms: bedroom, bathroom, livingroom, and kitchen. It was supposed to collect information on his habits and use it topredict other things he might like to do or buy.According to the technician who came to turn it on and make sure there were noobvious initial bugs, it worked better the more information it was fed, so Max should getused to doing as much through it as possible. He should use it to order groceries fromFresh Direct and takeout food through Delivery.com, to buy movie tickets and bandtickets, to reserve taxis, to program his Tivo, even to wake him in the morning. Heshould give it access to his Facebook page and all his email accounts. He should allow itto receive all his text messages and forward them to his cell phone, and he should use itsVOIP whenever he had to make a call from home.In fact, to get it started on the right foot the technician opened a personality quiz onthe living-room screen and told Max to complete it right away. It was basically a versionof Meyers-Briggs, Max discovered when the tech had gone, with a few idiosyncraticquestions thrown in like: Which was your favorite of Charlie’s Angels in the remake?(Drew Barrymore.) Do you like your friends to get you out of the house to do new things,or do you prefer that they accompany you to your favorite activities? (Get him out tonew things.) Name your favorite martial arts movie star. (After considerable thought, hecouldn’t justify Tony Jaa over Bruce Lee.) Name your top three favorite bands, and thetop two bands you like secretly but wouldn’t want anyone to know you like? JosephConrad, Ernest Hemingway, or Gustave Flaubert? How often do you masturbate?

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