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Saturday, April 5, 2014

A #Robot Blog. By John von Daler

                  I should round twenty thousand "hits" on my blog today. Excuse the slightly violent language, but blogging does lead one down strange and dangerous byways. Those twenty thousand "visits" probably have included somewhere between fifteen hundred and two thousand robots, the so-called web-crawlers. I am told that I should do anything and everything to repell these mechanical creatures as they mischieviously crawl their way around the internet.

                Some bloggers try to stop them by putting up weird "fences" with squiggly letters that one has to interpret and repeat in order to come into contact with the writer. SæQ31€ it may read in a kind of queasy format that makes you sick what with all the gyres and twists. I myself usually fail the test and thus never come into contact with that blogger.               
                Possibly a secret love for the little mechanical creatures keeps me from taking the war with them seriously. Maybe they should be declared off limits, like bats, that having flown into your livingroom and made a nest in your curtains, may not be removed as long as they are breeding - on penalty of a stiff fine from the authorities.
                So I declare this momentous day of twenty thousand hits to be international Be Kind to Robots Day. I ask you quite frankly, what, if anything, have you done for a robot today?
                I, for one, want to tell a story robots probably will enjoy. Natural, human, or primate readers should stop here. From this point on only robots are allowed in. If you are human you must pass this test to be able to continue: How many blogs were published within the last twenty-four hours about how to blog? If you cannot give the precise answer, you may go no further. (A hint: there are thousands.)
                          A Story for Robots
                Once in an old building in Copenhagen there was a little elevator that went back and forth, back and forth from the street floor to the sixth floor all day and all night long. Up and down, up and down it went. The people who lived in the building loved the little elevator - and with good reason - because it had helped them up to their flats with groceries and furniture and baby carriages and cases of wine and pianos and toilets and, well almost anything. It had also carried the same people back down again with garbage and old newspapers and brief cases and broken brooms and empty bottles and, well almost anything.
                But the little elevator was not happy. Secretly, deep down within its little mechanical heart, it wanted to be an internet robot. Ever since it had carried a blogger up to the sixth floor and had heard him muttering about "hits" and "search engines" and "cyberspace" it had wanted to cast off its steel ropes and move not just up and down, but everywhere: up and down and side to side and in circles and gyres and on the slant and even off the cuff.
                As you know, elevators cannot speak, it could not utter or even write words. And as you also know, wordlessness is next to nothingness. So the little elevator went up and down all day without being able to express itself to its passengers. Oh, if only it had had a little loudspeaker through which it could have whispered, "Make me a robot, please, please, won't you turn me into a robot? I do so want to move aside, not just up and down. I do so want to crawl around the world discovering the thoughts and dreams of all mankind!" But it could not say anything.
                So the little elevator just went up and down, up and down, until one day after a little child inside it had shouted, "I will not, I won't and I can't and I shan't" to its mother, the elevator decided to make its move for freedom.
                Instead of going up and down, it tried to go from side to side. When the nice doctor on the third floor tried to push the button, the little elevator just shook and trembled and gave its all to move through the wall of the shaft. But instead of moving up or even just slightly to one side, it just stopped in between floors - and the good doctor had to climb out in a very undignified way. Then the little elevator just stood there between floors trying to mutter through the tightly closed door, "I want to be a robot. I want to be a robot!" But no one heard it at all. Its unspoken words fell silently down the shaft like rejected poetry into a publisher's wastebasket.
                But you see, stories are good for something, even if they are robot stories. The little elevator having made its way into this fairytale had actually found its way out of all that longing. These days in the old building in Copenhagen an elevator still does chug up and down. But it is not OUR little elevator. OUR little elevator got into this story and this story was published on John's blog and John's blog was attacked by friendly robots wanting to read a robot story and so the little elevator was able to climb out of the Georgia font and onto the internet and run, fly, swim and crawl its way from Peking to Pakistan to Peoria - and that's just the "Ps"!
                And what's even better: maybe John's elevator will work without all those primadonna dreams from now on - thanks to those sweet little robots! Happy Be Kind to Robots Day!

My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click to buy Pieces HERE. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!


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