When my employer approached me about surgically implanting a microchip in my hand so that I could get into the office without having to take out my key fob, I was little reluctant. But then I read that other people had done it, so I knew it must be safe.
Having a computer chip sitting inside the fleshy web between my thumb and forefinger was a bit strange at first. But I quickly got used to it, and being able to get into the office with just a wave of the hand was both convenient and futuristic, and I was thankful to live in a time when such technology existed.
The following year, my employer offered a new chip that could not only unlock the doors, but would also allow you to purchase food from the company cafeteria. We normally used a special employee card for that, and although the card was very light, there were a few times that I left it in my pants from the day before, and had to beg for food from co-workers. I immediately wanted the new chip, and I could not rest or enjoy my lunch until this chip was part of my anatomy.
So I signed up to have my old chip surgically replaced with the new chip. But the fleshy web between my thumb and forefinger had been stretched during the first surgery, and so the doctors were afraid that yet another surgery to the same spot would cause the fleshy web to lose all elasticity, leaving me with my thumb permanently left hanging off to the side of my hand, and people would perpetually think I was giving their ideas the thumbs down.
So they had to implant the new chip in my other hand. I was a little upset having now two chips in my body, especially after they told me that the old chip would have to be deactivated per company policy. But this discomfort was more than offset by the convenience of being able to unlock the doors and buy lunch or a snack with just the wave of my hand.
The following year they released a chip that included a tiny receiver/transmitter so that it could also be a cell phone. I hesitated not one nanosecond before putting my name on the list that had been posted in the cafeteria.
Being able to make a phone call by talking into your hand – can you imagine? I was so excited, that I did not foresee that there would be any problems. So I was quite shocked when the head of HR told me that I could not have the upgrade done because both hands had already been operated on.
I begged them to reconsider. Was there another part of my body into which they could install this latest of chips?
Having a chip surgically installed in my upper leg was not as bad as I’d feared. The surgery was simple, the scar tiny, and making calls by talking into my leg was better than I’d imagined. I could just hunch over like I had dropped a piece of food on my lap and was looking to see where it landed, and say “Dial” and then the number. The volume of the chip was amplified so that I could hear the speaker easily from my leg. And when I received a call, the chip would vibrate, a nice sensation that had the unexpected effect of massaging my leg, and was quite welcome, especially at the end of a long day.
Naturally they had to deactivate the second chip, again per company policy. So unlocking the office doors, which I had to do now with my upper leg, was a bit more challenging. But hardly impossible. The real issue was buying food at the cafeteria.
It was disconcerting to my co-workers standing next to me on line when I suddenly kicked my leg straight up in the air so that the cashier could charge my meal to my thigh. I am not the most coordinated of people. Sometimes I jerk my leg up quickly and I can’t always avoid trays that are nearby. So people learned to avoid me when they saw me on the line.
I’d be lying if I said that this minor ostracism did not sadden me. I’ve always thought of my co-workers as friends first, and co-workers second. But when your employer offers you the chance to become a cyborg, friendship stretches only so far.