“I don’t get it.” “Consider this: Marshall McLuhan said tools are outerings or extensions of human capabilities.” “Like a hammer?” “Yes.”
“A hammer extends your hand.” I hold up my hand for a high-five and shout “Nailed it!” Stuart just frowns, leaving me high-five and dry.
“To an idiot with a hammer everything looks like a nail. That’s not the point.” Regi says “What do human extensions have to do with my Dad?”
“Instead of extending or outering abilities in our tools, superheroes internalize tools as super powers. Super strength instead of a crane.”
“Invulnerability instead of body armor. Laser eyes. Telescopic vision. Super speed.” “Flying your personal friendly skies?” Stuart frowns.
“My Dad was the sum of his tools?” “He was obsessed with becoming more than he was.” I say “Yes and with doing it with poetic constraints.”
Regi says “So Dad went through those painful operations to gain super powers because he thought an AI would return us to a simpler time?”
“Pre-technological possibly pre-verbal. Fortunately that part hasn’t happened.” “Um.” Stuart says “What?” “I’ve been through some changes.”
The room grows quiet. Stuart says “What changes?” “Nothing much. When Regi and I returned from the Caribbean it was to the 19th century.”
“We rode in a horse and carriage.” Regi says “Don’t forget the Marines who thought they were in Grenada in 1984.” “Yeah. That happened.”
“Those weird experiences phasing in and out of the past are the only times time changed. Stuart says “Don’t forget the shilling episode.”
The shilling episode? Ages ago when Stuart appeared in my office I happened to say ‘shilling’ instead of ‘dime’ as in ‘Stop on a shilling.’
He thought I had phased to a time when the shilling was still in use. I say “That wasn’t an episode. It was a slip of the tongue.” “Uh huh.”
“Admit it or not, you time-slipped. You thought the shilling was in circulation.” Regi says “Maybe he was just confused.” I say “Exactly!”
“Not just confused, but often reckless, feckless and out of his element.” “Feckless? Uh, Regi…” “He may seem not to know what he’s doing.”
“But he always knows the current year!” “Well, often.” “If that’s so how do you explain the horse and carriage or the Grenada 1984 marines?”
“Cosplay?” “Unlikely. How did you return from the nineteenth century?” I look at Regi. How did we return? Regi says “You read that manual.”
Stuart says “What manual?” I open the bag containing my belongings from lockup and remove the ERUPT Manual. “I found this on the island.”
He opens to the title page. “ERUPT: Existential Reality Update Prototype Template. The present reality will be superseded by Version 2015.”
“You found this at Regi’s medical school?” “Yes. A monkey threw it at me.” “This undid your time phasing? It calls for a paradigm change.”
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