Have you ever thought what it might be like to turn on the television just by snapping your fingers? How about opening the fridge by nodding your head? And just imagine the surprise of your friends, if you have any, when you demonstrate your extraordinary ability to start your car by deploying a discreet fart. Well now, thanks to the miracle - yes, miracle - of remotely activated biometric implants, you can do just that.
Good evening. My name is Doctor Adolphous Bongo, winner of the best dressed pipe smoking rear of the year 2011, even if I do say so myself. Actually, I have to say it myself, and I will continue to do so until someone has the foresight to inaugurate such an award and the good sense to present it to me.
Anyway, when I'm not flaunting my smoking bottom, I'm pushing forward the frontiers of medical science in a very real, scientifically rigorous and financially rewarding way. And since there's no money in finding a cure for the common cold - at least, not when I have shares in companies manufacturing palliatives - I have decided to turn my attention to the age-old dream of blending man with machine.
And before you ask, I don't mean by forcibly inserting a food blender into some unsuspecting visitor. I tried that once, and found that the product of the experiment enjoyed only limited success. True, what Mr Colin Wibberly - formerly a meter reader for Southern Electric - can now do with 4oz of butter and two fresh eggs is astonishing, but the fact that he can never ride a bike again, and that when he crosses his legs he destroys the furniture, more than outweighs any advantages.
No, the kind of man-machine interface that I have conceived - and gone some way to making a reality - involves far more stabbing, poking, rending and slicing than your common or garden kitchen assault. It entails pain bordering on agony, surgery that could be seen as criminal, and a disregard for the sanctity of human life that lesser men than I might call monstrous. And yet I make these sacrifices willingly, for I know that the work on which I am currently engaged will, in future years, be hailed as revolutionary.
My test subject, Mr Lewis Masefield, being on the receiving end these many painful procedures, feels rather differently about the whole matter. Question him on the subject and he will, in between his alternating bouts of agonised screaming and mournful sobbing, express opinions that are frankly negative, and tell you that he'd rather be at home with his feet up, watching the 'telly'. I have little time for his infantile tantrums. The whole thing serves him right for wandering into my surgery and attempting to waste my time by rattling on about his bunions. I have more important things to do, and the echoes of anguished screeching coming from my basement would suggest that Mr Masefield now has a more thorough understanding of my work.
And anyhow, I don't see what he has to crow about. How many other 42-year-old unemployed pork butchers can claim to be able to set a video recorder just by simply waggling their nose? Exactly - five, but we can happily dismiss those as freaks of nature. Admittedly, the system does not yet work as smoothly as I would like. Last week, for instance, when I tasked him with recording an interesting documentary about sharks on the Discovery Channel, a minor wiring error on my part resulted in Mr Masefield's head bursting into flames. This, as you can imagine, was a major setback, and distressing for us all - but I'm reliably informed that the programme will be repeated next week, so there's no real harm done.
The important thing in these situations is not to give up. Progress is never easy, and innovation comes at a cost. Everyone who has been involved in this project sees the enormous potential, and cannot fail to be inspired. I must admit, even I get emotional from time to time. Sometimes, when I look at Masefield, with his mournful plaintive eyes, the dark furrowed brow and the white tracks of his tears that streak his soot-blackened face, I think to myself 'this is going to make me a bloody fortune' and I'm almost moved to tears myself.
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2012
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