Hear that? Listen carefully.
It’s the sound of mosquitos—the ancient Earthly scourge to try and eliminate humans as millions scratch themselves to death. That was the original plan, but like so many original plans, it didn’t work. Instead of the relief of death, we have months of misery.
As a kid there were a few “treatments” for mosquito bites. The first was scratching the damn thing raw, which was generally frowned upon and created a new and more uncomfortable level of discomfort to the itching—painful itching. Another trick was to press your thumbnail hard again the center of bump of the bite to form an “X” and thus stop the urge to scratch. I didn’t give up on the treatment but don’t recall finding it particularly effective. Didn’t last that long. As soon as the “X” left, the itching came back—a sort of game of tit for tat.
Other treatments included holding a cotton ball drenched in alcohol against the bite, or the application of Calamine Lotion, but I was convinced that these treatments merely made whatever was lurking under my skin intoxicated or even more pissed off and itchy. Mostly the bites merely ran their course and scratching was limited—usually unsuccessfully—to using only the tips of my fingers had I already created an open wound. What was the joke: let the thing run its course and it will go away in 14 days or treat it and it should disappear in about two weeks.
As a child I think I was a walking target for mosquitoes. It became a deadly game—watch one land and carefully pick a spot, apparently where my skin was thinnest, and just as he—or maybe she—started to drill me with its proboscis, splat! I got to the point where I preferred to come up alongside the little critter and with great force snap it on its side with my finger. It gave me a joyful image of having its body ripped from its drill bit and fall to the ground in terminal agony. I would never put such a critter out of its misery. After all it was there to create misery for me.
Ultimately, I moved to California and mosquitoes weren’t allowed to cross the border without proper papers. In my early years in LA I don’t recall having to scratch a single mosquito bite. It was heaven. But apparently the Mosquito Union got involved and decided to invade the state . . . not just move in but also send the meanest mosquito troops that could be mustered. Suddenly a mosquito bite didn’t just produce a bothersome and aggravating itch; they could kill ya . . . dead. Where’s the sport in that?
Keep this up and pretty soon we’ll all be like the kid who lived in a bubble, which gives me a funny picture of a trip to the mall. How would that work? You’d park your car, remove the deflated orb from your trunk, unzip it and climb inside, then connect it to a high-pressure nodule to inflate it and, bingo, you’re rolling on your way.
Don’t laugh. It could happen.
I can see in my mind’s eye the basic Ford and Chevy models and then the more luxuriously appointed Lincoln and Cadillac models on display at bubble dealerships. They would start with the walking models and develop self-propelled ones, and soon enough the kids are out drag racing on the strip and wreaking havoc in mall parking lots. It’s a natural progression of products: start with the fundamental basics and add a few accouterments, then come the luxurious appointments and pretty soon the model you drive reflects your place in the pecking order of class differentiation. The kids would prefer stripping them down and supping them up.
Like the days when the garage remained empty while you parked your new car in the driveway to announce your step up in the economic class ladder. Orbs would start perhaps with color tints then tiny LED lighting, and soon enough tuck-and-rolled upholstery. And don’t forget the coolness of white, side-walled orbs!
Kids wouldn’t go cruisin’ but rollin’. The ultimate upside, because of the natural “cushiness” of the devices, would be the drop in fatal collisions, which might—in the longer term—lead to further traffic congestion if society’s driving habits didn’t kill off a sufficient number of drivers. With such a safety record, those who succumbed to fatal orb accidents would probably be limited to the annual Orb 500 and similar racing adventures around the countryside that tested the outer limits of Orbing.
Kids would cruise around the countryside to spot orbs parked with their “dark-tint” mode on and see if they could spot people inside making out. Attending stock-orb races at county fairs would become a popular summer event. You’d be able to buy sound chips that would let your orb make the noises of your great, great, great grandparents old Chevys and Fords from the old, old, old days. “Check out my new dual Hollywoods, man!”
Orb trucks. Orb jeeps. Orb limos. Soon we would be back to the meaningful basics of transportation ownership—the more money spent, the more luxurious the ride. Kids would sneak around trying to get high on the exhaust fumes of some ancient internal combustion engine that Great3 Grandpa Jones still drove. There would be displays of how these old models were manufactured in plants rather than spit out on 3-D printers that your household service robot put together.
It almost gives you chills to think about it. It almost makes you want to go camping, whatever that is. Still, we’d be scratching mosquito bites and complaining that with all this technology you’d think they’d come up with a way to get rid of these things. At least until some hiccup in evolution took Earth down a different path . . .
. . . be bop a loo loo, she’s my baby . . . be bop a loo loo I don’t mean maybe . . .
“You know, they say if you hold the speakers against a mosquito bite and turn up volume to max, it will kill the itch . . . ! I haven’t tried that yet.