No, damn it! I am a human being! Our species does poorly thought-out things, and we must not take a back seat to any machine on that. Remember when I saw Bev at the Shelbys’ New Year’s Eve party and blurted out, in front of everybody, “Bev, how fabulous! You’re pregnant!,” when she had only put on a lot of weight? I defy any mere mass of circuitry to duplicate this deeply human feat. As I recalled the horror on Bev’s face, and on everybody else’s, my entire body contorted in a wince of shame and—I’ll be honest—a certain species-specific pride. Top that, techno-wizards! Other un-smart stunts came back to me: No computer will ever amass enough mainframe cluelessness to cut a big patch from the pair of bluejeans that it is mending rather than from the old bluejeans that it uses for patches. Nor will it ever finish filling out its income-tax return and then mail it, along with the check for the I.R.S., to a distant relative it hasn’t seen in years. You need to be a living, breathing, flesh-and-blood creature to achieve such things.
I calmed myself down, proceeded to the platform, got on the wrong train, and did not notice my mistake until Trenton. The train back to Penn Station would not leave for another hour and a half. I never expect to be as smart as a computer, but, by God, I can be dumber. A hard rain began to fall, and I left the station so I could practice not knowing enough to come in out of it.
You should treat yourself with a subscription to The New Yorker.