Your inner GPS
There’s great news for Americans who can’t read a map or don’t know how to use a GPS as well as for foreigners who don’t understand English and get lost in this great land of ours, driving the wrong way down one-way streets in New York while some thug tries to bash in their windshield with a baseball bat because the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs.
Yes, there’s great news for travelers and vacationers who’ve tried to navigate through Boston and ended up in Dubuque, Iowa, or for motorists who relied on Siri, the cyber-queen of frustrated motorists, and discovered too late that a shortcut to the convenience store went through a radioactive zone.
The news is this: You don’t need your faulty GPS and you can forget you ever heard of Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant and navigator.” You can throw out your Google maps, your Hammond atlas and your Michelin Guide, and you can stomp on your cell phone. Why? Because of an amazing scientific discovery: You have a navigation system in your brain!
Now, right now you’re probably asking, “What the #%@#$@#!?”
Yes, it’s right beside your cerebral-cortex-mojometer, and the on-off switch is located in your right inner ear canal.
It’s true. I’ve tested it and got from the driveway to the bathroom without getting lost when I was suffering from a severe intestinal virus. Conductors on Metro-North rely on this internal GPS, and they haven’t misplaced a train. However, a few commuters are still unaccounted for.
The Nobel Prize in medicine was recently awarded to a team of researchers who discovered this navigation system. The Nobel committee said the scientists found “an inner GPS that makes it possible to know where we are and find our way.” I have to believe, though, that some people, namely my daughters, haven’t turned their system on yet because they still call me to announce, “Siri and us are lost.”
Even when we humans act like dimwits, we’re smarter than the average smartphone. As an intelligent life form, we have the ability to reason, which means we can get the best bang for our buck on the Home Shopping Network, largely because our brains have 30 billion neurons that communicate with one another, thereby creating one million billion synaptic connections. You see, God, not Apple, designed that technology, and it is much more affordable than the iPhone 6.
By using our critical faculties, we can determine the best route home, especially if it passes by an establishment that serves intoxicating beverages or has a “50% off” sale on women’s wear.
We also know how to avoid areas of town where the police routinely set up speed traps or where people have been known to slash tires as a recreational activity. We can calculate the best route between Point A and Point B even though it sometimes involves going through Point Z for reasons your GPS can’t fathom (or your spouse, for that matter).
Throughout our marriage, my wife and I fought over directions. There was the time, before Siri was born, when we were headed to Nova Scotia for our honeymoon and got lost in the backwoods of Maine in an area heavily populated by moose. I was afraid to get out of the car to ask directions, largely because there was no one to ask except several large, ill-tempered woodland creatures and a man with a very large rifle and a coonskin cap.
My wife blamed my inability to communicate while I blamed her inability to read the little lines on the map. To this day I don’t know who was at fault. Nevertheless, that incident marked the beginning of our marriage and a pleasant honeymoon … in Maine.
When the GPS came along, I thought all those problems were behind me. Now, instead of arguing over what the map says, I argue with Siri over her directions. Quite honestly, I’m getting tired of yelling at my cell phone. The good thing, though, is she can’t yell back. However, the ultimate revenge belongs to my wife, who insists the smart phone is smarter than I am.
Joe Pisani may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.