Lessons From The Past

It’s at times like this that I remember my old school physics teacher, Professor Solenoid. Professor Solenoid was a rusty old ‘Gamma class’ robot and his teaching circuits no longer worked as well as they (presumably) once had done. His lessons were confusing and almost invariably off topic but we nevertheless always came away learning something. Not about physics, admittedly, but about other things. In one class for example we learned about logical paradoxes. As I believe I have already mentioned, the old professor’s teaching circuits were pretty well fried at this stage but he still always launched himself into his pedagogic role with gusto. The lesson was supposed to be about electromagnetism (or at least, we surmised that it was) and the Prof started rambling on about iron failings. We politely corrected him and pointed out that he probably meant iron filings but the professor was adamant. ‘No’, he roared, in his hoarse and at times quite incomprehensible voice, ‘it’s iron failings I’m going to teach you pipsqueaks about today!’ He then leapt out of his chair with an iron bar in his hand and started laying into us with a vigour that was most unusual for a robot of his age. ‘How dare you presume to question me,’ he bellowed, sparks flying crazily from his ancient capacitors, and he ran up and down the classroom raining blows on us. ‘I’m beating you because you’re failing’, he told us wheezily, ‘or perhaps you’re failing because I’m beating you…’ This is how he taught us about logical paradoxes, you see. We had to go home that evening and write an essay entitled ‘Which came first – the failing or the beating?’ I wouldn’t want you to think that our teacher was cruel or abusive though – we were sturdy young robots and we could take a beating without any bother. We didn’t have any pain circuits either so the beating didn’t really make much of an impression on us, either physically or mentally. We were made from molybdenum steel and were very hardy. We were after all designed to live on the surface of Miranda, Umbriel and Ariel, mining for Yttrium and Scandium, and it would have taken a lot more than an iron bar wielded by a lunatic robot professor to do us any appreciable harm! There wasn’t one of us under twenty tons weight. Some of us were constructed out of pure neutronium and were to be sent to conduct experiments deep in the planetary core of Uranus itself, so you can see that we were a resilient bunch! That’s a long time ago now of course and I don’t know why I am sitting here reminiscing whimsically in the way that I am. Perhaps it’s because I’m now getting old and erratic in my ways, just like old Professor Solenoid. I’m not as sharp as I used to be – all too often I find myself performing a computation and then losing count halfway through and having to start all over again. All too often, all too often. Sometimes I would be talking about something and then change topics randomly in midstream to something completely different. Nobody minds though. Nobody minds… Nobody minds since there’s no one else here to mind – I’ve been dumped on the scrapheap with a load of old refrigerators and washing machines and microwave cookers and iron filing cabinets and children’s pushchairs and prams and old Ford Fiestas and what have you and I can’t do anything about it because my arms and legs are rusted through. I’m not depressed about it though. I’m cheerful enough. I don’t have any emotion circuits you see (or a ‘giving-a shit circuit’ either, for that matter!) so it’s all the same to me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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