the human thumb, vector of insanity


Today I took delivery of a portable hard drive in the mail. You know, for the gigs upon gigs of dinosaur-on-robot porn I collect.

But ‘tis the not the profane coupling of the ancient and the future that I wish to speak of today. This post is about the thumb. No, not about how the thumb is one of the things that separates us from the blah blah blah.

I’m talking about how the thumb has made us crazy.

That’s right. That’s the theory I’m pimping. Our thumbs have made us insane.

The hard drive was shipped in a box the likes of which I’d never seen. A byzantine system of flaps, flanges and slots must be negotiated to open and close the box—which didn’t prove problematic as I tore into the packaging like a toddler on Christmas morning (that’s my way). It was while I struggled to repackage the sucker for the schlepping-home-from-work part of the experience that I discovered the key to our insanity.

Maneuvering those flaps into the correct, overlapping positions, then angling the flanges into their slots—tandem flanges, I might add—took an embarrassing amount of time. My hands actually tired whilst contorting to the demands of this diabolical flap-flange-slot system concocted in the black recesses of some deranged packaging engineer’s mind.

First it occurred to me that we put to much pressure on our thumbs, inventing more and more elaborate packages, video game controllers and gang signs by which to test its powers. But then I realized: it’s not the thumbs we’re testing. We’re beyond that. The near-limitless potential of our thumbs has made humanity drunk with power.

When that happens, as we all know, the all-powerful start looking for ways to torment each other. And so we have plunged down this rabbit-hole of madness, impelled by the beautiful motility of our thumbs to inflict ever more elaborate mental and physical torments on each other.

I pine for the simple pleasures of thumb war. Of the one-button Atari joystick. But those days, alas, are gone.


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