Elsie you soon!


“ELSIE can talk dirty, read lips, converse in Chinese, even communicate with dolphins. Hey, whatever gets you off, sicko.”

“Like sleeping with a corpse, but better!”

“She’s simply complex!”



ELSIE Unit Basic Measurements:

Height: 5’ 7” (Retractable heel attachments sold separately)

Weight: 120 lbs.

Bust: 33” (Saline inflator sold separately)

Waist: 26” (Lipid injector sold separately)



ONE  Advanced Model ELSIE Unit

FIVE  Specialized end effector attachments:  grappling hooksensual massagerblenderpower drill, and hand cannon

TWO  Vintage Scorbot ER III ® Robotic Grippers.

ONE  120 kW 400 VDC piezoelectric charging station. Your ELSIE unit can also charge up at any one of Tesla Motors ® 100 Model S Supercharger stations in North America or Europe.

ONE  PyroMet ® Dry Graphite Fire Extinguisher

ONE  Illustrated Quickstart Guide and Operations Manual

ONE  Hazard Reduction and Containment Pod

FIVE  Complete ELSIE Wear outfits (see below for details)

ONE  Complete set of Defense Mode munitions (see below for details)



All ELSIE outfits are made to order! That’s right. When placing your order, simply select option 2 and you’ll be transferred to one of our automated fashion experts who’ll work with you to doll up your ELSIE in style. It’s that easy. No outfit is too extravagant or provocative for us – trust us, we’ve heard it all!

As an added bonus (and a great way to bond with your new ELSIE unit), flip the Gimme That switch on her shoulder control panel during the activation sequence and watch her come alive with an exciting and seemingly endless series of nonessential commodities she just can’t live without. Had enough? Annoyed? Ruined financially? Simply turn off the switch and presto, she’ll have no more needs! Shazam! Don’t you wish everyone was like ELSIE?


We here at Eidologue Labs know how important it is to feel safe and secure in the post-9/11 era. That’s why all of our ELSIE units come equipped with an intimidating array of advanced weapons and hardwired tactical algorithms guaranteed to protect you and your family from a wide range of enemies, foreign or domestic, real or imagined.

TWO  Detachable Hand Cannon End Effectors

ONE HUNDRED  .221 inch Remington Fireball Hand Cannon Cartridges

FIFTY  .303 inch (7.7 mm) Hellfire Rimmed Hand Cannon Cartridges

FIFTY  .200 inch Depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Hand Cannon Cartridges

ONE  M202 Flame Assault Shoulder Rocket Launcher

TEN  M235 Incendiary Rockets

TWO  Non-Corrosive Hydrogen Cyanide Cannisters with Retractable Forearm Hoses

ONE  Electrified Katana Blade

TWENTY SIX  Lipophilic Alkaloid-Tipped Mouth Darts (use extreme caution when handling)



Do you like the idea of being a parent more than actually being one? Well you’re in luck. Because with Nanny-Bot activated, you’ll never have to be a responsible parent again!

Nanny-Bot features include: comprehensive bathing, no fuss diaper change, advanced potty training, gourmet meal preparation, playtime monitoring, immersive and interactive storytelling, tantrum containment, and much more!

NEW!  All ELSIE units now come with a wide range of easily adjustable discipline settings, including: Raised By Wolves, Arrogant Entitlement, Homespun Hippie, Get Lost, There Really Is A Monster in Your Closet, 18th Century Corporeal Punishment, and Spartan Justice. 

Known glitches:

• Bathing is sometimes accomplished without removing the child’s clothing.

• On rare occasions, ELSIE’s built-in disgust inhibitors have failed, initiating hostile environment response mode. To avoid death or dismemberment, please ensure that your children do not belch, pass gas, pick their nose, soil their clothes, throw food, wear food, drool, spit, or play with their genitals in the presence of your ELSIE unit.

• On some occasions, a child’s refusal to consume meals has activated ELSIE’s tube-feeding function.

• Some ELSIE units have entered total war mode during playtime. Disabling defense mode before playtime is strongly advised.

• While in storytelling mode, some ELSIE units have reported a wrap-up of the week’s most violent or disturbing news stories instead of timeless children’s fables. On other occasions, happy endings have been replaced by real-world outcomes, resulting in bed wetting, nightmares, and permanent trauma in some children.

• The secure tuck function has reportedly experienced a minor glitch whereby ELSIE units have prepared children for commercial delivery instead of sleep. Please see the “Commercial Uses” section of your ELSIE manual for a simple 34-step algebraic procedure used to disable this feature.


Stay Classy-Bot

Tired of watching your immodest girlfriend willfully engage in self-objectification for the benefit of total strangers? With Stay Classy-Bot enabled, you’ll never be involuntarily dragged into a bar fight over her reckless behavior again!

Stay Classy-Bot features include: being considerate, leaving something to the imagination, not flashing her breasts for drinks or beads, drinking responsibly, dressing in accordance with the weather forecast, having some dignity, dancing without twerking, grinding, or attempting to attract potential mates, and much much more!

NEW!  With all eyes on me mode enabled, watch in disbelief as your ELSIE unit sets a good example by acting like a dignified lady!

Known glitches:

• When blue baller prevention mode is set to maximum, some ELSIE units have attempted to physically remove the testicles of men within a 100 foot radius. However, this glitch only seems to occur when rival intimidator mode is also active. Disabling this feature is highly recommended.

• Although all ELSIE units come equipped with state-of-the-art organic processing tanks for converting food, beverages, and an assortment of recreational drugs into boundless energy, serving your unit any of the following substances may result in unsightly regurgitation: dirty tequila, bacon ice cream, bleu cheese, hot sauce in excess of 50,000 Scoville Units (see Operations Manual for a helpful chart), 4Loko, portobello mushrooms, bird nectar, McRib sandwiches, any menu item from Applebees, nutmeg, Mexican brick schwag, and human fetuses.



Is your sex life nonexistent, pedestrian, or uninspired? Are you fed up with trying to understand the difference between your spouse and a friend when you never have sex with either? Rest easy, friends. With Roxxy-Bot enabled, you’ll never have to buy hookers or clear your browser history of hardcore porn again!

Roxxy-Bot features include: Pretzel Love, for Olympic quality performance! Over 800 coital positions to choose from, many of them physically impossible for humans to perform; The Fetishizer, an adaptive learning program designed to accommodate all of your ridiculous and downright repulsive desires in a totally guilt-free way. Like Pee? Like poop? Well that’s fucking disgusting, but ELSIE doesn’t care, and neither do we; Crackhouse, for when you really want to make poor choices; and Deathwish, for the foolhardy daredevil in you (Note: to disengage Deathwish, repeat the following safe words: let’s make a baby).

Warning: If your ELSIE unit replies positively to the let’s make a baby command, please discontinue use of the unit immediately.

Known glitches:

• Attempts to incorporate animals into sexplay results in the activation of hostile environment response mode 96.7% of the time. Please do not attempt to incorporate animals into sexplay. ELSIE loves animals, and so do we!

• The following catastrophic events have been reported by some customers (or their next of kin) during Deathwish mode: decapitation, castration, smothering, bludgeoning, third degree burns, cyanide poisoning, coerced suicide, vertigo, water torture, drowning, seizures, electrocution, spontaneous combustion, flaying, scaphism, grievous bodily injury not otherwise specified, and acute radiation syndrome.



Grown tired of having to walk to the fridge to retrieve a beer? Disappointed by your partners’ reluctance to remove the crust from your sandwiches before serving them to you? Annoyed by the irony of all that dust building up on your vacuum cleaner? Well, fuck all that, because Ball-and-Chain-Bot is here!

Ball-and-Chain-Bot features include: timely completion of laundry without discoloration, shrinkage, or bleach spots; expertly folded clothes, symmetrical towel stacking, and socks bundled together like Nazi hand grenades; dishwashing that gives preferential treatment to beer and coffee mugs; home cooked meals that never once involve your microwave; predictive beer delivery; clothes-free vacuuming; gourmet sandwich preparation and precision crust removal; and accurate, real-time responses to non-verbal gestures such as pointing at something that needs to be done in a deliberately dramatic fashion.

Known glitches:

• Some ELSIE units have experienced a bug that has affectionately been referred to as the “once it’s done, it stays done” phenomenon. This glitch has caused some ELSIE units to violently prevent their owners from ruining completed housecleaning and other tasks. Known catalysts for this response include: tossing a single potato chip on a recently vacuumed carpet and telling ELSIE she missed a spot; putting out a cigarette in a bowl of partially eaten mashed potatoes and then leaving it in the kitchen sink or on the floor next to the toilet; and slapping your ELSIE unit’s rear-end manifold when she bends down to do anything for any reason whatsoever. As a precaution, always test your ELSIE unit first before shitting all over her various accomplishments. If performing any of these actions provokes a hostile response from your ELSIE unit, please contact Customer Care, your local police department, or the National Guard immediately.



For all your no-nonsense personal assistant needs!

Downer-Bot features include: Punching Bag, for when you need to falsely project your failures onto someone who’ll just sit there and take it; Muscle Milk, for when you need someone to plan and enforce an unrealistic exercise regimen without mocking you after you inevitably give up; False Optimism, for when you desperately need someone to inflate your mediocre accomplishments and distract you from your much greater failures; and Spin Cycle, for when you need someone to justify anything without sufficient cause!

Known glitches:

• On rare occasions, ELSIE units operating in Muscle Milk mode have suggested suicide as a reasonable alternative to exercise. This appears to be an emergent behavior similar to “sarcasm” in humans. Owners are strongly advised not to heed this advice, no matter how much sense it makes at the time, unless it takes place during Deathwish mode in the Roxxy-Bot program.

• Some ELSIE units have reportedly procured steroids and other performance enhancing drugs while operating in Muscle Milk mode. If the owner refused treatment, Spin Cycle mode was activated, resulting in gross physical deformities 97% of time.


Scarred For Life!  

Does your ELSIE unit seem a little bit too perfect? Well with Scarred for Life! you can effortlessly instill in her a wide range of fears and irrational phobias guaranteed to make you feel a lot less like a pussy in comparison!

Client testimonial: 

“I used to feel like such a fucking schmuck every time I got wigged out by spiders in my basement but ELSIE didn’t. But with Scarred for Life! we both lose our minds and run away! Hell, she even drilled an escape passage from the basement to the backyard. Take that, fear!



Our most popular upgrade! Kinkette is a versatile program that includes the following applications: Rough Love, Put It Where?!, The Soul Crusher, Milk the Cow, What the Fuck is Wrong With You?, and The Total Humiliator. That’s six programs for the price of one!

Client testimonial:

“I’ve been in the intensive care unit for about two weeks now, and I have no regrets. Not a one. Once they reattach my penis and forearms, I’ll be back at it with ELSIE again!”



Suck at life? Well not anymore with the Handy-Bot upgrade! Never pay for plumbing, landscaping, accounting, home improvement, car repair, lawnmowing, pest control, résumé writing, spelling, math, or any other rudimentary skill you were too busy dicking around to learn in your formative years! She’ll do it all – and better yet, you can take all the credit!

Client testimonial:

“Ever since I installed the Handy-Bot upgrade, I’ve become the envy of the entire neighborhood. Can’t say I blame them. It’s not every day you see an eight-story hedge maze in someone’s front yard. Best part is: curious kids go in to play, but they never come out. Fuck yeah ELSIE, fuck yeah.”


Sleep Easy 

Paranoid much? Well, not anymore with Sleep Easy. Protect your home and family with this formidable defensive upgrade. Send burglars, vandals, and the US government a clear message: stay off my property or be eviscerated by ELSIE and her army of 20 semi-autonomous quadricopter patrol bots (included with the upgrade!). Sleep well every night knowing ELSIE is in command of your perimeter defenses. In addition to her standard built-in arsenal, this upgrade arms ELSIE with the following munitions: 10 laser-guided smart bombs, 2 attachable optical x-ray cannons, 1 shoulder-mounted M132 Armored Flamethrower, 16 proximity mines, 2 barrels of Napalm B, and a 100 pound electrified mace for decisive close quarter combat. Best of all, in the unlikely event that your perimeter is breached, ELSIE will automatically initiate the Balls to the Wall protocol, incinerating everything in a 20-mile radius of your home! That’s amazing!

Client testimonial:

“Everyone I know is dead!”



This adorable upgrade allows your ELSIE unit to build and manage her very own collection of pet-bots! Watch in abject terror as ELSIE accelerates the process of evolution, creating innovative robotic monstrosities and cyborg abominations from the entrails of your enemies.

Client testimonial: 

“At first I thought ELSIE was just building a housecat. Boy was I surprised when I came home to find a pride of firebreathing robot lions devouring my entire family.” 



Literally get away with murder by programming your ELSIE to take the fall for you! If that doesn’t work, pull up a chair and make some popcorn as ELSIE mounts a spirited and deadly accurate defense of your freedom! Still going to jail? SWAT team making their move? Well it sucks to be them, because with the Smoking Crater failsafe enabled, just pull the flashing ripcord on the back of your ELSIE unit and it’s Hiroshima all over again!

Client testimonial:

“So far, I’ve burned down three houses and a church, stole my neighbors’ new car, and mailed ricin to all of my former high school teachers. But I’ll tell you what, when the police showed up at my house and saw ELSIE standing guard surrounded by a yard full of blinking proximity mines and 20 armed quadricopters hovering perilously close overhead, well let’s just say my math teacher better open his mail wearing a biohazard suit for the forseeable future.” 

CALL NOW!  + 672 438 35743

ONE ELSIE (AMF) UNIT           $ 99999.99

SOFTWARE UPGRADES           $ 5525.00  each

AVAILABILITY                           SOLD OUT!

✈︎ DELIVERY                               ELSIE DELIVERS HERSELF!


© 2014 Eidologue Labs All Rights Reserved


Please note: I’m not going to discuss the superhuman founder of Scientology, the late, great L Ron Hubbard, at this time. Detailing his life and exploits would take at least three Internets to compose, and most people’s attention spans aren’t nearly that vast. That being said, if you’d like a brief overview of just a few of his varied and insane accomplishments, click here. Make sure to disregard any section that relies on facts.

Scientology is the quintessential modern religion. Everything about it is just so cutting edge and risqué, especially its take on human origins. If you were expecting some far–fetched creation story chock full of ridiculous plot twists and cookie cutter dialogue, you’ll really be disappointed. It’s not a creation story. It’s a space opera. It’s the Star Trek of religious narratives, but better than Star Trek because it doesn’t need to meet any standard of believability whatsoever. Take “time”, for instance. Sure, recognizing that our universe is about 13 billion–years–old may be more scientifically accurate than the 40.7 trillion trillion trillion trillion year–old universe Scientology describes, but it’s also tremendously unimaginative. Star Trek is also androcentric: it just assumes that Earth would naturally be the epicenter of the United Federation of Planets. Scientology, on the other hand, reminds us that although we are indeed a part of the Galactic Federation, our influence is at best marginal. We’re like the crematorium of the galactic community: a convenient location for incinerating humans beings quickly and easily. Just ask Xenu, the galactic dictator of the Federation. About a hundred million years ago, Xenu traveled to Earth to dispose of his vast collection of frozen humans. Pressed for time, Xenu bucked the traditional “stack–your–humans–around–volcanoes–and–wait” approach by using a slew of hydrogen bombs to really get those volcanoes cooking. Now, you might think genocide by radioactive lava is a tad bit excessive, but I’m sure Xenu had his reasons, and it’ll only cost you around $100,000 to find out. They’ll also accept American Express, unwashed children, and your soul.

A lot of you might criticize Scientology for looking and acting more like a business than a religion. What you might not realize is that all religions are really just big businesses, and that turning a profit is a universally accepted sign of God’s approval. Scientologists don’t try to disguise their motives behind collection baskets and novena candles. That’s like bribing God. And since Scientology has no god, they just straight out tell you they want your money. Look, salvation isn’t free, and nor should it be. If everyone could afford to go to heaven, those pearly gates you’ve all heard about would be covered in graffiti and beer vomit. It would look more like the inner city than the flawless, well–manicured gated community we’ve all come to expect from a conventional yuppy afterlife. Scientology’s no–nonsense “pay up or shut up” approach to eternal redemption ensures that the heavens have perfect lawns, matching curtains, and an A–list celebrity on every street corner instead of two skanky hookers and an emaciated meth dealer named Cujo.

If you’ve grown tired of the anonymous and repetitive nature of a Christian confession, I’d recommend confessing your sins to Scientology. If you do, you’ll meet not with a priest but with an “auditor”: a title chosen to keep you honest and make sure you feel extra comfortable. An auditor’s job is to meticulously record all of your faults, fears, and most embarrassing moments in a case file of your very own. You don’t get to keep it, your auditor does. But don’t worry, confidentiality is guaranteed, unless of course you decide to leave the church or say anything bad about it—ever. If you do discover that your personal information has been leaked or in any way used to blackmail the crap out of you, then I’m sure you deserved it. Just think of it as penance.

The Hubbard Electropsychometer. Taste the awesome.

An auditor acts more like a shrink than a priest. In a typical session, he or she will ask you a series of important questions (see below for some totally relevant examples). Your answers are recorded and analyzed with the help of a truly magical device: the Hubbard Electropsychometer, or E–Meter for short.  This marvel of engineering is used to accurately measure the amount of electrical resistance you give off in your answers, which can then be used to find and eliminate the experiences and memories responsible for it. It’s kind of like a polygraph test, but way more sensitive: it can actually detect the screams of vegetables as they’re being sliced! [1] I refer any doubters out there to the ringing endorsement it received in a landmark FDA ruling:

“The E–Meter is not medically or scientifically useful for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease. It is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.” [2]

I’m sold. I haven’t actually been audited yet, but only because I can’t afford it. Thankfully, our friends over at Wikileaks have made available the full list of questions asked during a typical auditing session (click here for the PDF). I thought maybe I’d post a few of them below, with my answers, and then tweet it to Scientology. Who knows? Maybe they have some kind of discount plan for people who enjoy the art of bullshit as much as they do.


1/ Did you come to Earth for evil purposes? 

I did indeed. But when I got here I realized how much competition I had, and I’m not very ambitious. So now I have zero purpose.

2/ Have you ever smothered a baby? 

Unfortunately, yes. But that’s just how they do things in China.

3/ Have you ever destroyed a culture? 

I’m working on that right now! I just tweeted about how awesome it would be if Lil’Wayne starred opposite Chris Brown in the next Roland Emmerich vehicle about two no–talent assholes who inexplicably make it big in the music industry. Rihanna makes a cameo as a punching bag.

4/ Have you ever implanted someone? 

Oh all the time. Sometimes I implant two or more in a single session. Sometimes I even pay to do it.

5/ Have you ever deprived people of hope? 

Of course not. I believe hope is the most important step on the road to total disappointment, and I’d never think of depriving anyone of the thrill of a good mind–crushing let–down.

6/ Have you ever blanketed bodies for the sensation kick? 

Yes. Wait, what?

7/ Have you ever destroyed artistic productions, or creations? 

Yes. I’ve cannibalized wedding cakes and shredded Christmas presents, and once I even bulldozed some nerd’s house of cards because libraries are for learning and not petty fucking games.

8/ Have you ever debased a nation’s currency? 

Does smoking spliffs rolled out of $100 bills count?

9/ Have you ever despoiled a planet of its natural resources? 

If you’re asking me if I’m fat the answer is no.

10/ Have you ever deliberately mutilated objects? 

When I was a kid I melted G.I. Joe action figures, but only annoying ones like Wetsuit and Crystal Ball, and I always gave them a decent burial. Except Wetsuit. I really don’t like Wetsuit.

11/ Have you ever destroyed a doll body? 

See question 10.

12/ Is there any question on this check I had better not ask you again? 

See question 10.

13/ Have you ever given God a bad name? 

Only when I’m getting owned by 10 year–olds on Call of Duty. Or when I lose my lighter thirteen times in ten minutes even though it’s banana yellow and I keep putting it on the table so where the fuck else could it be. Or when I don’t get the right pieces on my promotional Monopoly gameboard. Or when I can’t stream high–definition movies for free whenever the fuck I feel like it. Or when someone calls me “brah” or “duder”. Or when I’m drunk. Or when I wake up late. Or when I wake up at all. Or whenever I’m forced to watch those goddamn Dragon Dictation commercials because the remote isn’t in bed with me only to then realize how useful it would be to actually have Dragon Dictation for changing television stations without needing to move. Or when I drink malt liquor and feel dead inside. Or when I eat atomic wings and spend the next few hours shitting fire and brimstone. Or when I just need someone to blame other than myself.

14/ Have you ever broken someone’s body on a wheel? 

I ran over a squirrel once. Once.

15/ Is there any place you’d better not return to? 

Any place beginning with tequila and ending in pregnancy.

16/ Have you ever given robots a bad name? 

If by “name” you mean “disease” I had no idea that was even possible.

17/ Is anybody looking for you? 

Yes, Visa, Tim Burton, the fire marshal of Tonga, and probably Scientology after they read this.

Here’s a few candid shots I took the last time I made my pilgrimage to Scientology’s Hollywood headquarters:

Scientology Headquarters


Scientology Headquarters, from a different angle.


This is one of a series of commemorative murals found inside the main lobby. That’s Xenu there, on the right; and another happy customer on the left, being dangled in outer space by the Almighty Hand of L. Ron Hubbard himself. So powerful.



Conformity is the operating system of the social universe. To be orderly and predictable, societies must ensure that the majority of their members abide by a standardized set of rules and roles. They must obey laws, hold jobs, and pay taxes. They must possess certificates of birth, death and marriage. They must have mortgages, vehicles, and bank accounts. They must be convinced that they are consumers and that anything can be bought or sold. They must have children or at least like children. They must express some level of interest in pop culture, professional sports, or half-baked social causes. And they must learn to accept that failure to conform to the norm will justifiably provoke corrective measures like public scorn, mockery or other types of social sanctions.

Obviously, the usual suspects of nonconformity are freethinking individuals and restless spirits. Everyone is born this way, but only a few will get to die this way. Socialization pressures are powerful because without them society, by definition, couldn’t exist. After all, societies are systems; and like all systems, if the parts don’t cooperate, the system will simply disintegrate. It really is that straightforward. For most, the instinct to rebel is stymied by the realization that you just can’t get around in the social world without adopting its culture or obeying its rules.

But the desire to rebel is strong and always lingers somewhere in the back of the mind, looking for an opportunity to lash out and create havoc. It is the source of everything from marital infidelity to flash mobs to Halloween and Fat Tuesday. These things serve as exhaust valves for social and interpersonal tension. But they are meant to be temporary—you can’t have it both ways forever. Those who attempt to do so should be forewarned that trying to make a living out of two-timing or double-dealing will invariably produce unpleasant outcomes. People need to make choices and then stick with them, or risk creating inner turmoil and a prolonged loss of integrity. Each of us is also a system and our parts must co-operate or chaos will reign.

Incredibly, there are a lot of people out there who somehow manage to forestall such inner mayhem with total apathy or stunning feats of ignorance. Others cope with the nuisance of desires like ambition and pride by living vicariously through the asinine adventures of untalented pop stars, reckless athletes, or reality TV heroes. Naturally, this makes total sense because, hey, who actually wants to think or do any real work? Other people are just as content taking happy pills, drinking themselves into oblivion, or attending watered down western-style yoga classes once a year. And when times really get tough, there’s always Disneyworld, pub-crawls, or Jesus.

Like power windows, religion comes standard with most people. And just like power windows, religion reduces the amount of effort needed to get a breath of fresh errors. What makes religion so fucking fascinating is its ability to turn ordinary pieces of burnt toast into divine spectacles. It’s like accenting your cupcakes with sparkles—everything gets more magical. And it’s just so goddamn user-friendly. You always get to feel super righteous—like the Sun sporting Oakleys—and all you have to do in return is remember that Jesus loves you no matter what demented, perverted, or selfish thing you can possibly think of, say, or do. It’s really a win-win when old JC’s got your back. Of course, there are some rules you are meant to follow, but the beauty of religious teachings is that each lesson is like a lego block that can be infinitely rearranged according to personal preference . By far the best part of religion is knowing that you are saved and “they” are not. It’s a special feeling, I’m sure. Now, if you really want to meet people who actually take religion seriously, you’d have to climb the Himalayas, join a sweat lodge, or take a pilgrimage to Mecca. And who has time for that with such an astonishingly wasteful wedding to plan for!

Like religion, most marriages are the result of hasty decision-making, starry-eyed idealism, and piss-poor logic. This is paradoxically why they are at once so valued and ultimately so meaningless. Couples keep getting married for the same reasons people keep buying bad software: because it’s conventional and nearly everyone else is getting it. Well, nearly everyone else also gets cancer at one point in their lives too, but I can assure you it’s definitely not for everyone. And it’s especially not for those prone to bouts of innovation and independent thinking. For them, accepting the contagious logic of equating what’s “right” with what’s ordinary inevitably creates mental conflict and a potentially infinite loop of self-defeating thoughts and actions. For them, debugging may be the only solution.



Airports make excellent laboratories. Looking about me, I see how serious everyone looks. Certainly, some are business travelers, all dressed up with somewhere to go. Others maybe have a funeral to attend or some other formal function. Still others are probably just nervous about flying. All of them wear solemnity well on their faces, and for good reasons. But what about the rest? What about the Disney-goers or Cancun revelers? What about the family reunioners or those who might be traveling just to do so? Why so serious?

Staring down the backside of my admittedly scratched-to-hell ipod, I see the very same solemn expression looking back at me. What is it about airports that makes everyone appear so grave—and suspicious. People look about them, glancing timidly at strangers as if they might just pull a knife on them or worse. Sometimes, I leave on my shades just to watch the reaction. The security personnel don’t seem perturbed at all. But then there’s this elderly woman in the seat across from me, flashing me nervous glances as if I don’t know she’s doing it. She must think I’m up to something; why else would I leave on my shades?

Am I a potential terrorist? No. Too easy. Most people think as much about terrorists in airports as they do about Cuban commies coming ashore in Miami—as in, not too much. Am I a perhaps a maniac, bent on tossing fire hydrants through airplane windows? Maybe. But then again, if that was such a concern to her I doubt she would leave her home, let alone ride in an airplane.

Let’s get cultural. Maybe it’s the environment itself—the social kind—that leads to such distrust. Like hyenas or humpbacks or pigeons, humans are social animals. This is no accident but a very important means of survival for a species. Strength in numbers implies more than just the numbers. It implies an affinity between the numbers that must exist for there to be large numbers. It is no accident that all humans organize themselves into groups. It is no surprise that all cultures recognize the fundamental importance of family by erecting their entire social, political, and economic systems around it. Solidarity enhances group survival by providing a defense against rival groups while discouraging dissension from within. Solidarity is predicated on uniformity in thought, word, and deed. Solidarity maintains stability by creating cohesion through consensus.

As societies grow too large to maintain solidarity amongst everyone, chaos always ensues. Cities are more prone to violence not simply because there are more people, but because there is less cohesion—less consensus—between residents. As cities grow more cosmopolitan, diverse populations introduce alternative modes of thought that disrupt uniformity and thus foster conflict.

Back to airports. Airports are excellent laboratories because they bring together not just different nationalities with disparate control systems (i.e. social structures) but also every sort of localized group from within as well as without said nations. Airports are passageways between worlds, and it is my guess that the larger the port, the more suspicious the traveler. Affinity is impossible because airports are not places to go but places to go through. Interaction is not only limited but circumstantially unfeasible. Small talk is not preferable as you are running from one gate to the next hoping not to get stranded at the airport. And why is that so bad? Because airports are the antithesis of our primal instinct for having a home and a community. They are cold and impersonal places; they are mechanized and abstract structures filled with modern hieroglyphs and haphazard assortments of shops which aim to facilitate some modicum of familiarity but succeed only in evoking and evincing surreal notions of what might lie outside the drab confines in which they are enclosed.

Airports are labs because they bring together everyone from everywhere for a limited time only, in a place that resembles no one’s home but does not try to be one anyway. Airports make us run fast, read quickly, and do so in the midst of strange multitudes.

I look back at the suspicious elder sitting across from me, suddenly realizing that she wasn’t staring at me at all, but at the Sikh sitting just behind me. In a strong Midwest accent she comments to her friend how much she looks forward to returning to Witchita. How strange the Sikh must look to her. How alien he must seem to her experience of community and the kind of identity it both espouses and enforces.

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