A Letter to Lexi



You'd be amazed (or maybe not) at how difficult it is to find home pages worth reading on the 'Net. By this, I mean home pages that truly reflect the personality of the author behind the keyboard. Sometimes they're slick and snazzy, other times they're as simple as simple gets. But they are all the same because they have (maybe) a photo, a resume, and a list of links. Dear Lord, people, put some of your heart, your feelings, your opinions on your page!

And then there is the overabundance of school names. I don't care that you went to UMass Amherst or Joe Schmoe High. Tell me what a sucky time you had there, how you were the only guy that didn't get laid on prom night, that you got a perm at age 16 that caused people to run for weeks... that's worth reading!

Below are the saviors- the people I've never met that I know. I may not like them, I may not respect them, but God damn it, at least I know who they are.



Sandpaper and Blood

So there is the challenge, uttered by a woman who sandpapers her soul raw till it bleeds, just to confirm she is still alive. Follow the Web to Pandora's Box. Take a wander through. Look at the questions. Does God exist, and can you disprove it? What is maturity, and how do you avoid it? What is Love, and how fast should you run?

I remember Lexi. I was young once. Once I was a Lexi.


The Road not Taken

School days. Three hours at a stretch, trying to solve a single physics integral. Success. I could do that, once upon a time. Turn it in. Seems I'm the only one to solve it. The professor asks, what major am I?

"Electronics, mostly digital."

"You are too bright for that. That'll bore you to death. You should try physics."

I nod. I pretend to think about it, smile, and move on. I can do electronics. Can I do physics? Do I really want to work all my life, or would it be easier just to write software?

Life sure is easy, just writing software. Lesson number one, Milady Lexi. Do the integrals. Push your limits till you die, or die slowly. Very slowly. Like me. Like the lady in your mirror.


Spock and Joy

Yes, I have a web page too. Star Trek. Airplanes. Role playing games. Fiction about an android called Joy. Geek stuff. Like a thousand other geek pages, never to make the Geek Page of the Day. No soul bleeding stuff. Not a drop of blood, or a hint of sandpaper. Just pale echoes of empty daydreams.

Once I was going to be Spock. I spent several years at it. Contain the emotions. See things as they are, without illusion. Deny the instincts, follow truth. Look God in the eye, and ask if he will take responsibility for that which he created. Look Man in the eye, and see the nature of folly.

Years later Spock is gone, but through another's eye I have seen the nature of folly. Dancing the web, to create for my pleasure, a sentient being. And it is emotions that are required, for without them there is no purpose, no joy. And from Asimov the laws of robotics are borrowed, and fed into an emotion chip. Do not kill or injure, or through inaction allow death or injury. Obey, unless there is a conflict with a higher law. Do not allow self to be destroyed, unless this conflicts with a higher law.

Life is precious. Protect it, or feel the horror of it's loss. Sacrifice one's self for others. Do as you are told, as it is your nature. Cling to your life, such as it is, unless you can exchange it for someone else's.

In positronics, sacrifice, obedience, loyalty, love.

Just a daydream, little Joy. A geek's waste of time. An echo of emotions once denied. A companion for one who lives alone. Sentience.

Lesson number two, Milady Lexi. Your emotions were programmed not by God, not by some engineer, but by Darwin's ghost. You are programmed to do what your ancestors did to keep alive, and to pass your programming on to the next generation of life's victims. You were not designed to be happy. You were designed to want grandchildren, and may God have mercy on your soul.



Once I was going to learn to fly. Phantom IIs were the aircraft of choice, in the days when I was young. They fly still, HARMing the SAMs, and outrunning the thunder.

Once only did I take the stick of an aircraft, and lived that old Dream as a daydream. Funny how dreams die. What was once going to be a way of life, somehow becomes a two hour joy ride, and a half dozen web pages.

Trivial stuff. No sandpaper. No bleeding.

And every minor course I took, once upon a time, was in philosophy. How much philosophy do I do, these days? Little enough. I just use it a little bit to liven up role playing games, to create a realistic feeling bad guy. And I dump it on the web, for laughs, for hubris. Just in case someone wants to know the nature of human conflict, a century ago, or tomorrow.

No sandpaper. No bleeding.

I once upon a time cried too much. A terrible thing for a male to do. Spock could help me hold it in, sometime. But the more you hold it in, the more it has to come out.

Then one day I learned what tears were for. They are for learning. They are for changing values. They are an opportunity for growth. And somehow, just when I learned to welcome tears, they stopped coming, and I stopped growing.

I think that's what they call maturity. It's about Dreams becoming daydreams, that you know will never come true. It's about the end of feeling, and going on after. It's about putting away the sandpaper, and letting the soul grow numb.

But you knew that, Lexi. Didn't you?