I had a senior moment at the gym the other day.
But I’m trying to be more positive, so let’s skip over that particular misery for a moment and focus on an incident that occurred while I was in the locker room.
There were a couple of students from a local high school standing behind me. I wasn’t paying any attention to them until one guy mentioned a certain faculty member.
“Oh, yeah,” his friend replied. “He’s my robotics teacher.”
I froze. Wait a minute. Robotics…as in robots? That’s an actual course of study in high school? That’s impossible.
Robotics is something from Star Trek, or The Terminator, or Flash Gordon or a million other science fiction stories. And if it’s real, then it can only be happening in a super-secret government laboratory eight stories underground.
If it’s being taught at a high school two blocks from my house that would mean…I’m pretty goddamn old.
There was a best-selling book called Future Shock, which was published in 1970 before these kids’ parents were even born.
The author, Alvin Toffler described the sensation as “too much change in a short period of time.” It didn’t make any sense to me back then, but now I think I got it.
Look, I know that I’m a technophobe. I’ve never done a TikTok video, I don’t understand most of the functions of my I-phone and I’m still half-convinced that Google Maps is some low-level form of witchcraft.
I mean, you just type in an address and the computer just cooks up a map? What’s up with that?
My future shock later morphed into a blast from the past during a conversation with my brother.
He reminded me of science fiction movie we had watched when we were kids called Creation of the Humanoids, a 1962 film about a post-nuclear society where humans make up robots to held a dwindling population.
That’s more like it. Movie robots. Not real ones.
I hadn’t thought about this film in decades--geezer alert!--but as soon as my brother mentioned the title a certain phrase jumped into my mind.
“Is that the one with the Order of the Flesh and Blood?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “How did you remember that?”
It seems I have a talent for remembering useless crap. The Order of Flesh and Blood in this movie is a group of angry humans who think robots are getting too big for their switches and refer to them as “clickers.”
The movie has been dubbed a classic by some and was supposedly Andy Warhol’s favorite film.
I don’t see a classic here, but the film does address issues such as rampant technology, prejudice and the definition of humanity.
An observer on YouTube noted that the film was made six years before Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was published.
That novel provided the source material for the legitimate classic Blade Runner, which addressed some of the same issues as this film.
I watched Creation of the Humanoids this morning on YouTube and I found it to be talky as hell.
I understand the constraints of low budget filmmaking, but when a ranking member of the Order tells a robot “why do you put your gears in reverse and get out of here?” I wanted to go into high gear myself.
And when someone speaks out of turn to a robot, the humanoid responds by saying “my circuits are unoffended.”
I don’t know about your circuits, pal, but mine switched to overload when I heard that clicker’s clunker.
But I think my favorite line occurs when two goons from the Order tell a nosey police officer to hit the bricks.
“Why don’t you beat it while you still have a beat to beat?” one of them says.
I can’t beat a line a like that, but I’d sure as hell like to. Preferrably with a sledge hammer.
Okay, there are lessons to be learned from this experience—beyond the fact that Andy Warhol apparently had questionable taste in movies.
Technology is always changing, which will invariably change the way we live. It started with the invention of the wheel and it shows no signs of letting up.
Advances in technolofy will always come with a price, but giving up and saying “I don’t understand this stuff” is the surest way to get left behind.
And if a group of young guys are talking in the locker room, put your gears in reverse and get the hell out of there.