Do you work in the new Admixture Economy?
If you don’t, but feel you’re missing out on something, don’t worry; you’ll be laid off or fired or downsized or rightsized or smartsized or bought out or furloughed or spun off or phased out or involuntarily attritted fairly soon. You’ll be Bangalored, good and hard, and end up out here with the rest of us trying to cut and paste a living out of the remains of the day. The day after the severance runs out, I mean.
I don’t think anyone’s inventing anything much lately. Not in any meaningful way. I see everyone fumbling around with the most misnamed thing in the history of the universe, the smartphone, and they’re busy as beavers with a loose tooth, apping this and texting that, and they’re looking at me with my flip phone thinking I’m L7, man. They think I’m L7, man, just for using the term L7, I imagine, or the term, “man” too, so their opinion of me is going way downhill, and fast. But I had a Palm Pilot fifteen years ago. I’ve seen it all before, kids. You’re not doing anything I wasn’t, except paying by the minute instead of all at once at the beginning.
In my heart I knew my Palm Pilot couldn’t do anything a geezer’s battered daytimer and a pencil couldn’t do — except run out of batteries. A variation on a theme isn’t an invention. But variation is all that matters now. Google’s just the Yellow Pages, with those nasty ads from the back page of the indie newspaper thrown in. Craigslist is just the classifieds. Facebook is just a dry-erase clipboard on some college girl’s dorm room door, writ large, and with about as many emoticons. Come on, if you don’t remember hearts over the “i”s and little kitties in the margins on the ” I’ve gone to the mixer” message on her door, you haven’t lived.
Look at that video. Some nameless guys with pocket protectors and slide rules made everything in that video possible. And not the geeks pictured on TV in The IT Crowd, either. No, it was IBM types in the seventies, and NASA dorks from the sixties. People that look like Milton on Office Space, not cool kids like Peter Gibbons. Of course they had to understand real world engineering with profit and loss thrown in along with the slide rule stuff. They had frumpy wives and 2.3 kids and a dog to kick at home, too. They didn’t have time to dress their dog like Boba Fett. They had to shovel the walk before they went out on Rt. 128 and made it to the office park early anyway. They made all this stuff so that avaricious punks in hoodies could pick it up off the desk and Rubik it into a fortune.
Some people come along, and they see these disparate things, and think they can cobble them into a working whole. So your phone has maps in it, because there’s this satellite made by who knows who, circling the earth, doing not much, and they can glom onto it and mash things up and make some money for doing nothing but seeing possibilities in joining things Then they crank up the cognitive dissonance and use their phone to get online and slag Henry Ford in some off-topic Guardian comment section because he didn’t invent the assembly line, you know. And Bill Gates? Don’t get me started.
Everyone hates the circus all of a sudden, so people start skateboarding and biking and just plain running and tumbling, and a little digital camera makes YouTube into the circus. It’s still the circus, even if the only animals you tease are hominids with tatts. And a tiny digital camera, slung on a remote control drone, and mashed up with music and posted on the Internet to cadge advertising without paying in order to sell the whole mess, is an Admixture Deluxe, my friends.
I make furniture. People think my occupation is making furniture, but it isn’t. I’m not sure what I’m doing, exactly, but making furniture isn’t a quarter of it. The most interesting part of what I’m doing might be packaging, or selling what I have without ever advertising, or something else I’m doing that doesn’t even register with me right now. I mashed all sorts of possibilities together, and I’m trying to make a go of it in the new Admixture Economy. A wise man said he could see so far because he stood on the shoulders of giants. I’m looking into the navel of prosperity right now, because I stand on the shoulders of midgets, but maybe I’ll be able to add the admixture of human growth hormone into my midget’s affairs and fix that someday soon. You never know. But I do know that there’s very few places to hide from the Admixture Economy anymore anyway. I’m glad I’m in on the bottom floor, even if it is flooded and moldy a bit, and the light over the stairs went out five minutes after I went down there.
I hope I do half as well as whoever thought to put that turquoise bathing suit on that very tanned woman at the beginning of the video, because that is some admixture, I’ll tell you what.