Friday, December 20, 2013

COLUMN: Amazon

This week it's a fresh installment of a recurring feature which I just made up: ADVANCES IN MODERN LAZINESS.

Have you guys seen the acclaimed animated Pixar horror movie, Wall-E? Set in the year 2805, the movie paints a future where rampant consumerism has overrun the Earth with garbage. With no choice left, mankind must evacuate the planet onto giant spaceships where humanity lives a morbidly obese existence upon floating La-Z-Boys while relying on machines to provide their survival.

Then some robot shows up and destroys this wonderful utopia.

At the end of the movie (spoiler alert), these poor sods are forced to return to Earth, where I presume they'll have to get out of their comfy Barcaloungers and, I dunno, do gardening in the sunlight or whatever healthy people think we should be doing with our lives. I KNOW, IT'S HORRIFYING, RIGHT? I hate when movies have a sad ending.

Yes, apparently there's a consensus among some of you people that life SHOULDN'T be spent on the couch ingesting high fructose corn syrup and saturated fat. If this is true, I ask you, then why did God make Netflix? You non-morbidly-obese people have SOME nerve, what with your jogging and your cycling and your weird yoga poses, always going on about farmer's markets and carbohydrates and pretending that tofu is somehow edible. I've got half a mind to complain... if the other half wasn't busy watching a "Finding Bigfoot" marathon.

Fear not, fellow lazy people. We will win this battle if we concentrate and put forth our best effort at doing as very little as possible. For every mind working hard to curb the obesity epidemic, another is working just as hard figuring out the tastiest means to deep-fry a candy bar. For every farm-to-table piece of greenery, there is a Monster Thickburger. For every spinach leaf, there is a Baconator. And for every person trying to get our lazy butts to do something with our lives, there's a team of engineers figuring out new and exciting remote controls that will allow our posteriors to remain firmly planted on our couch cushions.

I write to you today, Team Lazy, to herald a victory for our cause. One company is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we don't have to go ANY extra miles, and their recent developments have warmed the cockles of my heart. Or maybe it's indigestion.

Regardless, we lazy people of America salute you,

Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went on 60 Minutes to unveil the newest technology they've been playing with behind closed doors: Amazon Prime Air. Envisioned with a potential 2015 roll-out date, the service is simple: order your product through Amazon, and they send it you ASAP by means of an unmanned "octo-copter" that plops it down at your front door before flying away into the ether. It's something right out of The Jetsons: delivery by drone.

The way I see it, this is awesome on three separate tiers:

First off, I think we can all agree that if there's one thing the world needs more of, it's an army of small sentient robots with whirling blades flying through our neighborhoods on a routine basis. "Congratulations, Little Timmy, here's your new video game! We're sorry about our octo-copter decapitating your cocker spaniel on the landing, but it's still better than waiting in line at the mall, no? And once you get an electrician to reinstall the power lines that we also inadvertently severed on approach, we're confident that you'll love your experience shopping with Amazon!"

Drone delivery in thirty minutes or less definitely puts the pulse back into impulse shopping. As a lazy couch-dweller myself, I'm all for the ability to do my shopping from a prone position without a care, worry, or overly aggressive salesperson in sight. But let's face it, the stuff I usually end up buying online is impulse garbage. "Oh, look at that. That's kinda cool. I should buy that. Oh wait, I just DID!" But then you've got to sit around for a week before it shows up, and that's plenty enough time to pull up your bank account and realize you're a gullible, irresponsible broke idiot with no self-control. By the time your impulse buy shows up, you've forgotten why you even wanted it in the first place and you're too busy being racked with guilt to remember to even bring it in off your porch. But with 30 minute delivery, the lure of stuff clearly outweighs the guilt of overspending. Good thinking, Amazon.

But most of all, I love the idea of delivery drones because it gives me the perfect excuse to take up a new hobby: skeet shooting. Anybody with a license and a 3-day waiting period can go hunt Bambi, but it takes a REAL man to bag an octo-copter. What do you want for Christmas, Billy? Let me just climb out on the roof here a sec... is it (BLAM!)... a set of steak knives? (BLAM!) A Shirley Temple DVD box set? (BLAM!) How about a Kindle Fire?

Never underestimate the human race's instinctual desire to shoot things out of the air for little to no good reason. This, of course, will lead to the only logical response: weaponized octo-copters that can defend themselves against attack. And then things will be awesome, because Rock Island could use a little extra danger.

Of course, all of this is theoretical for the time being. The plan needs FAA approval, and if there's one thing we know about the government, they NEVER cowtow to the wishes of billion-dollar corporations. Plus the current technology is only advanced enough right now to deploy octo-copters within a 10-mile radius of one of Amazon's distribution warehouses, of which there are achingly few at the moment, likely due to the fact that each is roughly the size of Rhode Island.

But it's coming. Wheels are turning and advances in sedentary living continue to grow. Once Amazon begins sending sentient robots to our doors, others will follow. I'm talking to YOU, Culver's. The only reason I don't subside on an exclusive diet of Butterburgers is because I'm too lazy to drive out there every day to get one. But if you swing a Burgercopter thisaways on a regular basis, my arteries are yours to do with as you please. Just aim for the mouth and chuck it on in - reaching for food is such a chore these days.

Thanks, science!

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