You, The Machine

written July 23rd, 2020

Look, I know what you’re thinking. You’re not a machine. But you are, aren’t you? A machine is a “device consisting of fixed and moving parts that modifies mechanical energy and transmits it in a more useful form”. That sounds like you.

It might make you feel gross at first, but this man-machine thing is pretty empowering. We look at ourselves in the mirror every morning and all we see is imperfection. Skin that doesn’t glow, bags under eyes that shouldn’t show, and off-white chiclets in a staggered row. What can we do about it all?

Well we’re machines! We can be reprogrammed.

I look myself in the mirror—I see hardware and software. My hardware was given to me at birth. My software was programmed as I moved through my thirty odd years on this pale blue dot. But it’s all temporary, y’know?

My hardware can be upgraded. It isn’t always cheap. You have to pay with sweat equity. You have to stick to the outside isles at the grocery store. No more buttered popcorn at the movie theatre or cheeseburgers from the Golden Arches. But it can be done.

My software can be refactored. I have all the bad habits from both of my parents. I was the obedient student absorbing the short temper, impulsive decision making, and preference for the path of least resistance. But these things don’t define me, I can clean up the code one day at a time.

You are a machine. You are constantly changing with each revolution around the Earth. Each year adds more rust, more dead code, and more bugs. So we have to keep up the maintenance. We have to stay intimate with the machine; the capacitors, transistors, cables, and operating system.

You can be the machine you want to be.

But it isn’t going to happen if you don’t believe it can.