Breaking the Web

They’ve discovered that acacia trees die without giraffes to eat them and coral reefs die if too many shark get killed. In the same way, I expect the new Global Positioning Systems will lead to the destruction of the English language and the elimination of churches.

Acacia trees need giraffes even though the giraffes eat their leaves. The trees defend themselves against the giraffes by producing a nectar that attracts ants that sting the giraffes. But when there are no giraffes around, the trees stop making nectar, the ants stop coming, and the trees are invaded by a species of beetles that drill holes in them until they die. Likewise the sharks have to be there to eat the fish that eat the algae that kill the coral. Life is complex. Take one link out and the whole system collapses. So it is with GPS.

The family clubbed together and gave me a GPS for my birthday. Everyone else in the family had one so I wanted one too. But that small black box will destroy our way of life. First off, I noticed that the voice that speaks to tell me where to go mispronounces the word “route.” “Rout” is what happens to a losing army. “Root” is how you get from one place to another. My sister’s GPS is made by another company than mine, but they both say “rout.” I don’t want to be routed. But if everyone starts listening to GPS voices, the number of people speaking correct English will gradually be reduced to people in nursing homes who no longer drive their own cars.

But worse than that, no one will be able to go to church anymore. My GPS (and my sisters) have lists of “POI” (points of interest” to which you might like to drive. The lists include banks, and restaurants, and town halls, and gas stations and many more – but not churches. So as a larger and larger number of people come to depend on their GPS to get them where they want to go, they will no longer be able to find their way to church. It’s a better excuse than many I’ve heard!

The people that sell the GPS boxes may want you to think that they are adding to the convenience of American life. The people who kept the giraffes from the acacias thought they were doing the trees a favor. The web of life is intricate and easily broken. If you thought America was a dangerous place already, just wait until everyone has a GPS and all the churches are closed!

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