Everyone loves the future. Not that dinged and blemishy future that gets so used up that we call it the present, but the future future, the one with the potential. That’s why I was so excited about the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is supposed to be the greatest gadget show of them all. All the major companies come to show off whatever future-tech they’re working on. It’s the show that shows you the Bluetooth enabled, HDMI compatible toaster ovens of tomorrow, today.
I had always read about CES from afar, but now I just happened to be in Vegas, and it just happened to be CES time, so I thought I would stop by and actually see it in person. Of course technically, it’s not open to the general public. To get a badge you’re supposed to work in the tech industry and have something called “credentials” to prove such. Unfortunately, years within the poker industry have left me far less credentialed than they want me to be.
Luckily though, technology comes to my rescue. The third day into CES I go online to fire up CraigsList Las Vegas, and with no trouble at all I’m able to secure a slightly used badge that someone doesn’t need any more. (Digging a little deeper into the Craigslist world I find out that they actually offer much more than just badges on their site. I also easily find a pre-op transsexual who would be happy to rub pantyhose with me. As it so happens this is not on my list of things to do while in Vegas, but of course it’s always good to have options.)
I end up paying $50 for the used badge which means that all I have to do to justify the cost of the show is to see 50 bucks into the future. I don’t imagine this should be so difficult, but to be completely honest I’m initially a little disappointed. I don’t see so much that really makes an impression on me.
I see some battery powered scooter shoes, I see an MP3 player that break-dances to the music it plays, and I see a 150 inch hi def TV. But for me, the difference between a 150 inch TV and a 120 inch TV doesn't feel all that important. If it doesn't make eggs benedicts or shave my back it's pretty much just a big TV as far as I'm concerned.
However I do eventually discover one item that lets me see plenty far enough into the future. Walking about the floor without any real plan, I come upon a vendor of security cameras. The company sells cameras that stream onto the internet, can see in the dark, and that are WIFI enabled.
Their booth has some show cameras that are set up to look down on you from the roof. As I walk by I can see myself in one of the monitors, or more specifically I can see that spot on the upper back of my head that is incredibly difficult to see under normal conditions. You can’t see it in a mirror because by the time you’ve turned your head enough that it shows up, you’re not looking at the mirror anymore. However, if you happen to position a night vision, internet streaming, WIFI camera on the roof, and use it to look down on you as you walk by, then it’s actually pretty easy. You can look at that spot all you want.
I had always assumed my hair was thinning somewhat back there. This was something I only know because of the “doth protesting” that Christi did the one time I asked her about it. "You? Going bald back there? Oh sweet zombie Odin! WHooSH! Why would you...?! That is so funny…, how could you think...I mean holy mother... That is so crazy!! Really. Ha Ha. Oh my... that you would think... Oh my…"
Still I had never actually seen for myself that thinning spot on the upper back of my head. That is I had never seen it until now, standing there on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show, peering into that security monitor and seeing far more than the $50 into the future that I had wanted to see. There it was for me to stare at for as long as I wanted: the minor deforestation on the back of my head that would only grow worse with time.
So that was the great awe inspiring discovery that I made at this year’s CES. I'm old. With the benefit of technology I leaned that my body is, year by year, ever so slowly rotting into oblivion. I just thought I should take a minute to thank everyone who made that discovery possible. Thank you CES! Godbless you... and all the wonders of tomorrow.