Words and Thoughts — May 25, 2023

Hello again, alleged readers.  It is important that I lead off this week’s content with an unequivocal disclaimer: This is NOT an application to join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this lately. I can tell that when I talk to people, they are thinking, “Does this individual want to become a Mountie, and are they applying for the position right now?”

I am not.

And with that out of the way… a few mornings ago, I stumbled ass backwards into one of life’s funny little lessons. As I was getting my Bear Grylls brand hatchet, that I was trying to bring into the bowling alley, taken away from me by two extremely zealous and one mediumly zealous, security professionals, I had two profound realizations: 1) I would likely not be able to get my Bear Grylls brand hatchet back from the bowling alley this time. And 2) the job of these security professionals could probably not be automated. The Chat GPT will never be able to keep me from bringing a Bear Grylls brand hatchet into places that some say I shouldn’t bring it, as well as the three large humans at the front door of the bowling alley were able to execute the task.  

I thought about this all week, after I bowled a 34 aggregate through 26 frames (the last four being forfeit due to the alley closing for the night). Coming so close to my all-time high score and falling just short brought me the type of deep and visceral angst that I can only fathom someone goes through when they are callously cut loose from a career that they’ve spent decades offering their literal lives to. So many times, we hear, “the self-checkout eliminated my position”, or “Microsoft Paint can do my job in a fraction of the time it took me to do my job”. And of course, while the two aforementioned scenarios are simply unconscionable, we also must take necessary steps to protect ourselves against this automation.  

Then the “ah-ha” moment came. “You can’t automate a bowling alley”. I had been so blind, idolizing the job security that the aptly described security professionals had. Yet it’s not their job that affords them this high falutin luxury, rather it’s the bowling alley itself. YOU CAN’T AUTOMATE A BOWLING ALLEY.  

This isn’t taught in schools, but it should be. You can keep all your inalienable rights. I’ll trade you every single one of them for one unsinkable bastion of stability that is the bowling alley. My crack-addicted neighbor, Steve, used to say, “Two wheels and one lane is all I need.” He was referring to his motorcycle, but he was also lying, because he also needed crack pretty badly on a regular basis. So it is unsurprising that he was incorrect in his statement. Instead, I say, in loving memory of Steve, “Give us about 12 lanes and at least that many balls, and then however many bowling pins are needed for that many lanes; and that’s all we need.”

References for the Mountie application available upon request.