Bruce Cameron - Nov. 19, 2009
November 19, 2009
The Voice of GPS
W. BRUCE CAMERON
Over the years, automobiles have tried many different ways to communicate with us. The screeching voice of a car alarm, for example, means, “I’m lonely, and I want everyone in the neighborhood to wake up.” The “check engine” light means, “I hope you have lots of room on your credit card.”
And then there’s this voice: “Route changed. Recalculating direction. You are an idiot.”
The GPS has finally done for the dashboard what a mother-in-law does for the backseat. Even better, you can now download different celebrity voices and install them in your GPS, voices such as Clint Eastwood’s (“Go ahead, make my turn.”)
Now, I’m not sure my car needs Dirty Harry. And as long as we’re pondering odd voice choices, what would it be like to have the GPS speak to you in the voice of a teenage girl?
GPS: OMG, you totally missed your turn! Can you drop me at the mall? Don’t pull up to the door, though, I’ll get out around the corner. Don’t come in the mall! It would be so embarrassing for people to see me with you! I need money for lunch. Also, you owe me allowance. Also, I need money to buy a new wallet so I’ve got a place to put my money.
You: I’m going to the dentist.
GPS: Bo-o-oring! Did I tell you Trisha is getting braces now? Her parents thought her teeth would like spring back or something, so while everybody else is getting them taken off, Trisha’s going to have them on for, like, prom. I need a new cell phone. You were supposed to turn back there! Do you know how embarrassing this is? Like I’ll be at school on Monday and everyone will be like, “I saw you driving with your dad,” and I’ll be like, “I know, he made me go with him,” and they’ll be like, “But where were you going?” and I’ll have to say, “I don’t know he kept missing turns. “
You: Can you recalculate?
GPS: Why do I have to do everything? God!
You: I’ll turn left at the next light, then you tell me where to go.
GPS: Fine. What ever.
Smugly satisfied that this was a very accurate portrayal of how a teenage girl GPS would work, I showed it to my daughter, who was aggressively not amused. She took it upon herself to write a different version, one she claims accurately portrays what it would be like to have the GPS speak in her father’s voice.
DAD VOICE GPS: Be sure to adjust the mirrors and the seat and inflate the tires and also read the entire owner’s manual before you start the car.
Make sure you fill the tank even if you’re just driving to the store.
Take your cell phone, but it is only for emergencies and unless you need to call your dad it is not an emergency.
Don’t talk to boys or look at boys or have any fun whatsoever for your entire life.
OK, now turn the key and remember you can tell there’s something wrong with the car just by listening to it, which is impossible.
Now put your foot on the brake and carefully switch into drive and then SLOW DOWN and WATCH OUT oh no CAREFUL OF THOSE TRASH CANS and OH LORD THE MAILBOX and LOOK OUT FOR THAT LADY WHO IS STANDING IN HER YARD 100 FEET FROM THE CURB OH NO THERE ARE SQUIRRELS AND BIRDS AND BUGS WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.
“It seems to me that you’re saying the Dad GPS would serve as a safety device,” I noted, “providing urgent warning of unusually dangerous conditions, such as your driving.”
My daughter loftily informed me she missed the neighbor by a good 8 inches, she only “scraped” the mailbox a few times and that when she hit the trash can it didn’t count because she had her learner’s permit — “you’re supposed to hit things when you have your permit, that’s how you learn.”
I responded that, no, you learn by listening to your father. And, in the end, we agreed that we didn’t need a GPS because we had me to navigate.
Well, that’s what I agreed, anyway.
To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Website at http://www.wbrucecameron.com. To find out more about Bruce Cameron and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.
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