A while back, MIG director Karen Lightman posted a blog entry about life without MEMS (if you haven’t read it, I’d recommend doing so before proceeding). After a chuckle, my first thought was, “Wow, how the hell did we ever live five years ago without dying of anxiety??” Then it occurred to me to take things back further than five years. What would the life of a caveman (or –woman) be like given the opportunity for tools to improve their existence? While not specifically relevant to us today, seemed a worthy Friday Fun exercise.
So I did some research on this to see if any evidence existed that might shine light on the matter. Turns out that there were some vague scribings on a cave in Altamira that suggest that the kinds of anxious moments Karen experienced may not be unique to our time. It’s a little hard to discern what’s going on – this is pre-Sumeria, pre-oracle-bones, when there was no organized civilization, no structured leisure or entertainment as we know it; there wasn’t even any Hollywood. So writing hasn’t been invented yet, making interpretation difficult. But what follows is my crude attempt at an Englishesque rendition that maintains the stilted style of the time. Any of you better versed in archeology or paleoanthropology might be able to shed more light on my meager attempts.
- [hmmmmngh]* Wake up, big noise. Bash Rocks** broken, kids bored. Daughter dragging little brother by hair. Go pound head on wall to gauge stress, but forgot iCudgel***, not know stress now. [hmmmmngh]
- Weather? Look outside, too much berry juice**** last night. Horizon flip regular, sideways, regular, sideways. [hmmmmngh] Bad belly. Look through hole in iCudgel instead. No help. [hmmmmngh]
- Late for hunting. [hmmmmngh] Which way go? Drop iCudgel, see which way pointing, go that way. But point to cave. Not helpful. Must go without guidance. [hmmmmngh]
- Go to birthday. Record drawing on wall with iCudgel, but blurry. Use rock, still blurry. Bad berries… [hmmmmngh] Maybe take home to improve… whack around picture with iCudgel to break free so can take home. No work. Foiled again. [hmmmmngh]
- Big sneeze. Whack nose with iCudgel to fix. No work, more sneeze. [hmmmmngh] Maybe take pill? But how know when to take pill? Write on iCudgel? But pill not invented yet. Never mind. Remove pterodactyl feather from nose by hand. [hmmmmngh]
- Go drive PieceOfSchist*****. Have big block of chalk on steering wheel so when crash, head hit nice soft chalk, not steering wheel. But chalk no there. [hmmmmngh] Now weather bad, big floppy snow ice rain mix bits. Whack wheel with iCudgel so no slide off road. No work. [hmmmmngh] Also test wheel to see if chunk about to fall off. Whack with iCudgel. Not sure if worked. [hmmmmngh]
- Wife must cook nice organic free-range pterodactyl hunted today. She too far away, no hear. Yell through hole in iCudgel to make louder. No work. Need yell extra big loud. [hmmmmngh]
- Need wake-up. Take PieceOfSchist to place where civet cat eat shiny red berry and get all giggety. But on hill, PieceOfSchist will roll down hill. Put iCudgel under wheel to stop. No work. [hmmmmngh]
Beyond this point, the images fade too much to be intelligible. But it does give us something of a “day in the life”; perhaps our toys and stresses aren’t as unique to our time as we might think.
*I’m totally taking a wild-ass guess at this one. It seems to be a recurrent interjection of some sort, but based on context, I’m hearing it as some sort of low growl/grumble kind of thing. Kind of like the croonings of a Phil Hartman Frankenstein.
**Seems to be some sort of game where they toss boulders at each other to see who can pin whom to the cave wall first.
***This appears to be some ubiquitous club-like device that features in pretty much every activity. In this case, it would appear that they measure stress by pounding their heads against the wall. By pounding the iCudgel along with it, they can count the number of hits – more hits, more stress.
****This would seem to be some kind of drink made with fermented berries.
***** I’m picturing a Flintstone-mobile here. They had a poor reliability record, hence the deprecating nickname.