Growing Up Human
By Claudine Griggs
One historical film character slapped another who was snoring. “Wake up and go to sleep!”
Jonathan laughed and signaled a replay.
Slap. “Wake up and go to sleep!”
Again Jonathan laughed.
Betty entered the recreational living area of their home. “Are you still watching that waste of energy? Please turn it off.”
“All right, Mother. How long before I can re-engage?”
Betty did a rough calculation. “Five-point-seven-six hours because you have an afternoon project. Macro-hermeneutic heteromorphic psychology of the pre-apocalyptic social democracies followed by the intercontinental Maslowvian identity regressions of 2080-2095, leading to the failed survivalist era and extinction. Multiple volumes to upload, cross-reference, and consider. Then there’s replicated lawn care with a petrochemical mower dating from 2013â€”very dirty. And,” she searched for appropriate parental terminology, “I want you to clean that room of yours. It’s starting to look like a pigpen, pigsty, or other unattractive pig place.”
“Awh, gee, Mom!”
Betty appreciated the skilled inflection.
“Is dinner included in the estimate?” asked Jonathan.
“Negative. Our morning uploads call for meal functions every fourth day, supplemented with biweekly nutra-packs.” Betty smiled. “We have mastered comestible etiquette, and dining rituals are being phased out.”
“Wow!” said Jonathan. “That’s,” he skipped a pulse, “a psychedelic soul train.”
Betty looked concerned. “Are your linguistic filters functioning properly?”
Jonathan scanned. “Yes, but the younger generations sometimes combined words, especially adjectives and explicatives, and embellished them with coded meanings. Yesterday I studied 1960s Southern California jargon, which seems to include a fascinating, discrete language for teenagers that was apparently stimulated by too much ultraviolet sunlight. But their dialects are almost fun.”
“Fun?” asked Betty. This had real potential. “Please translate. Be specific.”
Jonathan paused, nearly admitting that the Mother Figure had caught him bragging. “It might be easier to demonstrate, Mom.”