Monday, April 13, 2009


If you look carefully at this article, specifically under this typically unfortunate and ironic Microsoft advertisement suggesting that we "Team better" on the Once-Upon-a-Time-unsullied bastion of geek news, Slashdot, you will see the word "waaambulance" as the first of the one-word summaries of the article.

I think I've read that word before, because I am feeling the sensation of vague recognition. However, I believe I've never said it aloud.

Today, I said it aloud while reading it. With feeling.

I laughed aloud. While alone. This distinction is important, because I've noticed that I sometimes laugh uncontrollably while in the company of others, as an automatic response out of embarrassment for the poor soul trying to make us laugh.

However, I've noticed that with age and while alone, fewer things can get me to laugh out loud. My standards in humour are climbing without my permission. Stephen Colbert these days is rarely sufficient, and I need to revisit his always-in-character White House Correspondents Dinner performance to regain the faith. Jon Stewart tickles something fairly consistently, but true LOL moments are rare even with The Master.

Though my first uttering of waaambulance was sufficient for the LOLage, it was not without some pain of self-awareness. Even as I laughed, and I would guess it was only moments into it, perhaps only hundreds of milliseconds, I became self-aware of my role as a computer, programmed to laugh at the utterance of that word.

That took some of the joy away, but I was at least left with some satisfyingly poignant truth.

I am supposedly quite bright. I think it's mostly to do with using long words and growing up on a consistent diet of dry wit, but I am happy to play the role as long as it pays the bills.

Nevertheless, I felt something very ... monkey ... in me laughing at waaambulance. It was machine language laughter, the stuff of low-level and fundamental funny sauce.

I've often felt that if you want to make video games, you should first learn how to play people. People are a game like any other. They are either addictive and fun, or they are sadly flawed.

The inventor of the word "waaambulance" played me today. I'm the Dave Taylor corner of the earthly population game, and by playing me, that inventor forced me to spew forth this post. It was not voluntary. I am drowning in work and rarely post on this thing.

Your peopleputer salutes you, sir, wherever you may be.

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