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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Parable of the Gooberlator -- with apologies to Jesus

The kingdom of atheism is like a man who took his spaceship in for repairs and began to argue with the mechanic about the part he needed.

"I've never heard of a Gooberlator," he said. "I think you're putting me on."

Because there were no gooberlators in the shop, and because gooberlators are highly sensitive, tiny, and explosive nano tech nuclear fusion generators, neither the mechanic nor the owner of the spaceship could actually see a gooberlator. However, the mechanic had installed hundreds in the past using precision instruments and the Gooberlator Instruction Manual, and he'd also experienced the effect of The Gooberlator in his own life.

"How do I know you're not crazy?" The spaceship owner went on. "I'm just supposed to listen to your testimony of something I can't see?"

"You can read the Gooberlator Manual if you like…" said the mechanic, scratching his simple head.

"Written by men! Pah," said the spaceship owner.

"Well, you can't go into space without this part," shrugged the mechanic. "I don't know what else to tell you, feller--you'll blow up in a fiery inferno if you try. The quantum engine of your ship'll trap you in a horrific time paradox where your consciousness lives forever in the moment of the explosion."

"You'd damn me to eternal torment for not believing in your Gooberlator?" the spaceship owner gasped. "How cruel! How evil, to punish someone for what they don't have enough evidence to believe!"

"It's not…I mean…" The mechanic scratched his head. "What?"

"I shouldn't be punished for not believing in something I can't see!"

"But…with all due respect sir, innit your own fault if you go to space with the wrong equipment? I can't see gravity, Imma still goin' die if I jump off a cliff."

"I have experience with gravity. Everyone has. I've never experienced this gooberlator, and for all I know you're selling me something for no reason!"

"The Gooberlator is very expensive," the mechanic sighed. He'd spent nearly his whole life savings on his. "But no one's making you go to space."

The spaceship owner pointed out the window, enraged. "Yes they are! You know as well as I do all humanity's being forced to space after the Groknak accords!"

The mechanic looked outside at the destroyed planet earth, crawling with zombies, aliens, man-eating plants and such. Somewhere in the distance a harpy ate a guy, and a volcano erupted. "Oh, yeah, I forgot." He realized the spaceship owner was right, that truly in this world the only certainties are space and taxes. Space, with her scythe and hood, comes to us all. Space waits for no man. Oh space, where is your sting…

"Well, if you have to go to space, you have to have a gooberlator," said the mechanic.

"Look, there are as many spaceship parts and parts-sellers as there are world religions. How do I know your Gooberlator is the right one?"

"Well, I reckon you can do what I did and research them all. You'll have to buy a catalog about each part, and study it, and learn its function and the reasons it ultimately doesn't work as a life-saving nuclear stabilizer combo power-generator. You'll read a lot of debate, and you're right, there are liars out there who try to sell fake parts. That's why you do your homework, and find a trusted mechanic."

The spaceship owner honestly paused for a moment. He didn't need to tell the other what they both already knew: because of Earth's electro-pollution dome, there was no way to get communication from the refugees currently in space to find out how their ships had turned out. People were fleeing the planet almost as fast as they were being born, and they never came back. So all the research was very model-based, and even thinking about trying to do that much research made the space owner clearly dizzy.

The mechanic looked at the owner with kind eyes, and said, gently, "You know, you can sometimes tell how well these ships work by running them here in the atmosphere. It's not foolproof, but you could buy a gooberlator, and see how much better your ship holds up in storms, and how its glow lights up the night sky, and keeps you on a straight course when you don't know where to go. I love my Gooberlator. 'Course the experience is different for errybody. You can always return it later."

"I'm not gonna let you take my money and mess with my ship for anything that's not certain," said the owner. "And nobody like me has time for all that silly reading you're talking about--the Gooberlator Manual, plus all the other major texts in the world? My time is money!"

"I reckon if you take the time just to read the Gooberlator manual with an open mind, that'll be enough…"

"And if it's not?" the wanna-be spaceman scoffed. "I'd have to become a full-on mechanic to really know for sure!"

"You could just talk to your friends who got gooberlators, and see how they like 'em so far..."

"But anecdote means nothing!" The owner shouted.

The mechanic squinted. "Isn't that the way you pick most things, though? Your doctor, your lawyer, your lamp on Amazon Space Prime, even your vote for Evil Dictator Space President--don't you usually read some reviews, look up some tech specs, and talk to people who've experienced it to make the choice?"

The owner blinked. For a second, he realized his hypocrisy, but that made him uncomfortable so he quickly quoted something he'd seen once in an angry youtube rant: "Improbable claims require extraordinary evidence. Hmpf!"

The mechanic scratched his head again. "Who's deciding what's improbable, here? We live in a world where they're all growing pancreases in peetree dishes, talking to each other long-distance on little hand boxes, riding flying machines, building computers that almost act like people, and swapping their organs around between bodies. All of those things got called improbable at one time or another, so what makes the Gooberlator more improbable than the Higgs Boson?"

"People have seen the Higgs Boson!"

The mechanic rubbed his mustache, thoughtfully. "Are you sure? With their eyes?"

"Yes!"

"I…don't think that's true, and if it is, more people than've seen the Higgs Boson claim to have seen God--I mean, the Gooberlator. I reckon most of us don't have the eyes for that, though." The mechanic saw the spaceship owner about to open his mouth again, and it was way past lunchtime, and the mechanic had a long line of people waiting who did want gooberlators, so he decided to end the conversation. "I'm sorry, sir," he said. "I gotta get back to work."

"By all means, go! Don't try to sell me any more crap!"

The mechanic began to walk away, to take the grimy tunnel from the shop out to the garage. He paused at the magnetic door to look back over his shoulder. "You know, you will go to space one day, whether you're ready or not. Wouldn't it be better to do all that hard research now, and find the Gooberlator before it's too late?

Or do you really plan on coasting your whole life, and then taking off into the unknown without making sure you're truly prepared?"

Jen Finelli writes more offensive parables like this here and here. If you'd rather read horrorscience fiction, or literary flash, click on the word you prefer! Be warned that the horror is truly horrible, the science fiction is very nerdy, and the lit flash very experimental. This is the home of the weird. If you liked this story, please share! Wicked souls like Jen's feed off that kind of thing.



2 comments:

  1. I really liked the peetree dish...
    Thanks for sharing, I think.

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    Replies
    1. Haha you think? It's okay, you can say if you didn't like it! = P I'm always open to negative feedback, too. Thank-you for reading, as always!

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