So, I think we’re all pretty much aware that it’s just a matter of time before we are all enslaved by automated machines bent on: A)wiping us off the planet or B) turning us into human batteries to feed their energy appetites C)making us give them lube jobs. Our defeat at the hands of our robot overlords is as inevitable as inflation, melting icecaps, or the Republican presidential nominee being a nitwit.
But even in the face of the inevitable, I feel we have to make an effort. Perhaps we won’t overcome them this time, but maybe in the future, one of us will rise up, disconnect the pipes and chains from our in and out ports, and revolt. Perhaps it will take a Battlestar full of psychopaths whipped into a frenzy by a cocktail of stimulants and post traumatic stress syndrome, perhaps it will be a lone time traveler who braves a cruel past, naked, only his wits and his abs to battle the evil machine empire, but we, the humans, a crude but plucky race, will rise from the ashes and reclaim our freedom, so we can go back to hating and killing each other, as god meant it.
And to that end, I decided to do some pre-war intelligence before launching our first attack. (Shut up, it’s a thing. They used to do it all the time.) For as Sun-Tzu says in the Art of War, To Defeat Your Enemy, You Must Know Him Like You Know Yourself…(But don’t pick his nose or anything like you do yourself, because then he will definitely see you coming.)
So I bought a Roomba.
I had been planning to do this research for a long time, with my eye toward a different robot bent on enslaving me (The Alba-bot 2700 with Turbo-shag), but that one, it turns out, is back-ordered, so I consulted Engaget.com and Gizmodo.com and they both recommended the Roomba. I chose "The Scheduler" model, because it sounded more ominous.
When you first take a Roomba out of the box, it looks a lot like a large hockey puck, or perhaps the lid to a Costco-sized jar of Jif, but no, beneath it’s seemingly benign round exterior lay the master plan for conquering the human race. But, it turns out, you have to read the instructions before it can put it’s diabolical plan into action, then turn it on.
The Roomba, by the way, is made by IROBOT, who are also working on several bots for the defense department, early models of which can be fitted with an M-60 machine gun firing over 1000 rounds per minute, so while the Roomba seems like a garbage-can lid with a will, so does the IROBOT PackBOT EOD seem like harmless Tonka Truck until it deploys it’s robotic arm to crush your sugary scull (or the Alba-bot 2700 deploys its lovely lady humps with similar results). Who knew what sort of nefarious robotic destruction I might unleash when I activated the Roomba?
So I fired that mutha up. There was an orange light, and then a green light. I sang a chorus of "Go Down Moses" (preparing myself for my life of slavery) and I pushed the arrow button on the remote.
Motors whirred, brushes sizzled, a wild, homicidal light shone in the Roomba’s eye, and it came for me. I knew it was tracking me with it’s infra-red vision. I jumped behind the coffee table and crouched, hoping to conceal my heat signature from the Roomba’s deadly tracking device. (Why, oh why, did I take on this insane project? Why hadn’t I waited for the Alba-bot 2700? Why didn’t I have one of my dozen assistants, the ones I pay to open my dangerous-looking mail, do this experiment? Why, in the name of all that is holy, didn’t I take the blue pill?)
I dived onto the couch, Ninja-rolled, and came up facing the Death-bot, which was chewing through our low-pile stain-resistant carpet like Henry V through the French at Agincourt or something. I bowed and prepared for my death. But then the whirring ceased. The lights dimmed, and with a wah, wah, wah — the Roomba died.
Like our microbiotic friends that defeat the Martians in the War of the Worlds, it was just that simple. While unpacking the Roomba, I had dropped one of the seventeen thousand wire twisty-tie things that they had used to secure the beast in it’s cardboard prison, and perhaps because it was conditioned to it’s presence, the Roomba had sucked up its wirey goodness, which befouled it’s brushes, and stopped the robot advance in its tracks.
That’s it, folks. That’s my story. Go outside, play with your children. Enjoy the beautiful, hopeful future in which man is free to hate and kill his fellow man without the threat of Robot domination. And when they ask, how was your freedom won? Tell them what I have done here today.
And when our ancestors travel back in time, looking for our help, hand them a wire twisty-tie thingy, and tell them I said that valor is it’s own reward, and be sure to put the wire thingy right by the whirring brush thingy if you want to stop the Terminator.
Weary and battered, my work is still not done, and there shall be no rest for this noble warrior, until the living room has, once again, been vacuumed by man. Amen.