George Eliot and the Meat Cleaver: An Allegory
I’m a coder, and I like video games. One writer person did change my life, though. Some guy named George Eliot?
I couldn’t get a date, so I decided to do something about it. I found an app called “The George Eliot Conversational Etiquette Game: Correcting Your Ability to Converse with Little Reminders,” designed by “STEMinEnglish.” I downloaded it onto my AR glasses.
Later, my bud Tommy was talking about different Spidermans, and he kept saying “dude” this and “dude” that. I was like “why do you have to say ‘dude’ all the time?”
Then suddenly a black and white photo of a woman with droopy eyes, a bulbous nose, and hair like a travel neck pillow wrapped over the top of her head appeared in my field of vision through the internet glasses. As she spoke, her pupils moved and the mouth dropped like a ventriloquist doll.
No, no, my dear! One mustn’t be Mr. Aristocrat, assessing another’s speech in lieu of listening to what they say. Are you sure you’re not just distressed? -10 points
She kept popping up.
When the trainer explained to a group of us coders how workouts are more mental than physical and I mentioned listening to ABBA while on the treadmill, the lady popped up (Mr. All-About-Me, -17). At the Afternoon Ideation meeting, when I corrected a slight inaccuracy in someone’s comment about HTML, she popped up (Mr. Nitpicker, -14).
There was no reason to these rules. My etiquette score was -87, a rank in the “lesser arthropod” category.
Then I got a notification for an expansion pack, designed by “MeatCleaverXXX”: Improve your training with Pavlovian negative reinforcement. This app would like to access the heat coils in your thermoregulated clothes. Do you give permission?
Tommy said something dumb again, and she popped up (Not-so-honorable Mr. Judge, -30). This time, I detected the seams in the coding where the expansion pack picked up.
The woman’s eyes glowed red.
Time to burn, hombre!
Ten milliamperes of alternating current jolted my torso. I shrieked and jerked forward.
“Whoa, you ok?” Tommy said.
Apologize! The hologram said, nostrils flared.
“Yes! I’m sorry for being rude!” I gasped. The shock stopped.
It hurt, but I kept trying. She kept popping up. A lace collar never induced so much terror. But I NEVER quit a video game.
Just when I was concerned my speech would be permanently slurred, I got a call about an Extended Warranty for my car. The dude talking to me sounded stale. I couldn’t hang up or I’d be shocked. I just kept saying “Ok. It’s ok. I understand.” My back started to sweat, which would make the shock worse.
“Wow, I never got through this whole script,” he said. Then he started crying. He said he hated this. I said it’s ok. I understood. Then I started getting good scores. We talked three hours. He--Daryl--apologized. I forgave Daryl (+500). Daryl said I saved his life (+10,00).