A Brief Rant on Forks
by Ambrose Little
You know, I’ve been thinking lately, and something’s really been bugging me. It’s this:
I don’t know who thought this would be a good idea. Presumably, at some point, someone said, “hey, this is the future!” And man, all these people just piled on and blindly followed. Geesh!
Why, you may ask, does it bug me? Because, heck, when we’re babies, we eat food with our HANDS. Yes, that’s right. Have you ever seen a baby or toddler eat? I mean, wow, they really dig those hands in, squeeze it through every finger, and then rub it on their face! They clearly are having a much more enjoyable experience, and obviously, because they’re babies, they’re just doing what is natural and intuitive for people. Hands are great!
So what lamebrain came up with the idea of a FORK? I mean, really. In addition to making the eating experience less tactile, all these annoying social conventions grew up around it, so now it’s like considered crude to eat with your hands. And now we have to spend years, I mean literally years, teaching kids to not eat with their hands and instead separate themselves from the food with this tool, that, I mean, all you can do is poke and scoop (and push, okay) food around. Have you tried eating with your hands lately? I mean, look at all the other cool stuff you can do with food using your hands!
Good grief! How could society have let this happen?!? It’s not like forks spontaneously generated like mold. I mean, some morons came up with them and then everybody just CHOSE to accept them and use them. Come on, people!
And don’t get me started on these:
Seriously. How unnatural are those things? I mean, you’re totally separated from the road (especially in Cadillacs!). You can’t feel the gradations on the ground under your feet, the rhythmic thud, thud, thud. (Plus, it’s exercise!) And worst of all, we have to have all these dang roads all over the place that totally cut swaths through nature, so we ride smoothly along instead of stomping through forests and glens. I’m not even so sure about shoes–have you walked on the ground without them? It’s almost titillating!
And then there’s this lovely thing:
What kind of doofus dreamed this up? I mean, the state of sci-fi in that day was so ridiculous. Where were the dreamers?!? I mean, have you ever swam in water? Do you love the feel of it as it tickles your skin and all those little hairs? Just how many nerves do you think you have in your skin? What about the feeling of the resistance of water versus that of air? It’s quite something, ain’t it? But this dude was like, screw that, I’m gonna make this boat that can go under water, so you don’t even get to touch the water any more. And not only that, compare how many different ways you can squirm, and roll, kick, and paddle–all those different swimming strokes that you lose out on, and what can this thing do? Just like go up and down and left and right a bit, using air bladders, propellers, and rudders? And do you think that piloting these things is easy or natural? Ha! Most of them you can’t even pilot on your own!
You know what, all I’m asking for is that we not pursue any technology unless it involves full sensory experiences that are completely innately intuitive. I mean, I don’t care how much value it might add, how much easier it might make things, how much it might improve our ability to do stuff or communicate better. If I can’t do it with my own whole darn body without having to learn and practice how to use it, well, forget it!
P.S. Thanks for the inspiration. For the record, I’m all for exploring tactile technologies, but really, we humans are lazy, and we usually want to achieve things in the least costly way possible. Why use a hammer, when you can use a nail gun? When was the last time you used a hammer for the sheer joy of pounding nails? Most of us use them cuz we don’t have nail guns.
If you want tactile, sure, write a letter with paper and pen. Pick up a paper book, flip through it, and read it. But don’t tell me that a Kindle or iPad is bad because it doesn’t replicate that experience–kids can carry their entire set of textbooks on these little devices instead of breaking their backs with backpacks full of books. You can browse and get new books in seconds. The list could go on–other such examples are above.
Some technologies are worth learning because of the value they add and the way they make things easier, even while sacrificing more sensory rich and “intuitive” interactions. I happen to like flipping a page by just clicking a side button or tapping on the edge; sometimes I’d rather swipe, and that’s okay, too. I happen to like using a touchpad for prolonged computer use–it’s simple, easy, fast, and fluid once you learn it, and a lot less trouble than constantly reaching up to do things on the screen and getting gorilla arm in the process. I’d hate to think how obnoxious it would be if I literally had to manipulate windows and tabs (or other objects that don’t truly benefit from direct manipulation) in 3D space…
When we want to have richer sensory experiences, we humans will figure out how do that–we can have both fast food and slow food. But when we’re just trying to get things done, don’t make us do things slower, “richer,” or theoretically more intuitive just for the sake of those things.