You Know What, Gillette?

Imagine this for a moral lesson: A lucky group of teenage boys are given a new form of artificial intelligence, designed to help them suck less. How do you tie a tie? How do you shave? How do you speak to girls? The young men need merely open an app on their iPhones and intone their questions; moments later, a precocious robot responds in its mechanic cadence with a personalized answer.

Better yet, this AI is freakishly empathetic, and its raison d’etre is to coddle today’s youth through life’s deepest quagmires. How do you ask someone out? How do you show confidence? What makes somebody a real friend? How do you know when you love someone?

Don’t worry about these pesky, 20th century worries – There’s an app for that! Continue reading You Know What, Gillette?

Senior Week – Chapter 8

Everything was soon out of control. The dregs and miscreants of Southern California were infiltrating our house. Mitch stood atop a chair on the porch, scouting out potential customers on the boardwalk, directing them to the Drug Den. Mandy, meanwhile, was selling their inventory upstairs. I was impressed by their business model, all-the-while praying for my possessions, which were tucked in the closet of our unlocked bedroom. I then spotted Arnold at the other end of the room and waved at him, standing on my tip-toes to see over the swarm of strangers. Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 8

Senior Week – Chapter 7

Arnold grabbed his skim-board from our room as we descended from the Drug Den. I found a spare board on the porch sitting underneath a table. The dogged California sun was tiring, beginning its descent and bathing the mackerel sky in a pale yellow coating. A local teenage boy was shouting into his phone, sitting on the boardwalk barrier with one foot above sand, the other above pavement, straddling the wide cement bannister as if it were a horse. The beach was uncrowded and serene as Arnold proved to himself and the world that he was an excellent skim-boarder. Watching him float atop the water – effortlessly elegant, yet endlessly silly in his sombrero – he seemed like one of Kerouac’s goofy water bugs zipping across pond surfaces in Big Sur Valley, just playing in the water ’till the end of time.  Continue reading Senior Week – Chapter 7