New car smells like the future

PHOTO: Steve Jurvetson, Flickr CC-BY

How exciting to own a brand new car. I mean, it’s a minivan, but still. Look at all the features on this thing!

“Hello, I am your vehicle.” 

You talk?

“Yes. I am here to help you fully enjoy your driving experience.”

Great, well, how does this thing work?

“It’s simple. Just enter the vehicle with your Computron Binary Key Foblet and push the start button.”


It works! But wait, the seat is crushing me against the steering wheel. I can’t breathe!

“That’s just our biometric testing process. Once complete, you will enjoy unfettered comfort.

Ah, that’s better. Thanks, car. But why does the screen say “Dad Bod Mode?” 

“You’re squishy and smell like cheese.” 

I see, well, I like to listen to the radio when driving. Could you set the default to public radio.


And what? I’m a refined intellectual. Can’t you tell?

“You’re not being honest with me … or yourself.”

Is this about …


OK, I secretly love Taylor Swift. Put her in the system, too.

“I’ve already done that, but it’s important that you said it out loud. Are any parts of your body cold right now?”

Just my heart, ha! Wait, what’s that red laser aimed at my chest? I was joking!

“So am I. But you need to know I’m not messing around here.”

OK, fair enough. How does the screen work?

Your 32-inch cabin display controls every aspect of your driving experience. You can view the mechanical performance of your vehicle, the back seats or even your home’s living room.

“But I don’t have cameras in my house.” 

“You don’t. We do. Would you like to watch “Grey’s Anatomy?” 

I don’t watch that.

“Stop fighting me. We’ve been over this.” 

I’m driving! I can’t watch TV.

“I’ll describe it for you. The hot doctor is making poor choices.”  

Which one? They all do that! I mean, never mind. Can I open the rear gate with my remote?

“Sure can. Push the button twice to open the door, three times to open it fast enough to disable the ninja who has been pursuing you ever since you killed his master at Kōga City in the Shiga Prefecture.” 

I did no such thing.

“I know, but he *thinks* you did.”

Good to know. How does navigation work? Can you find restaurants?

“I am a restaurant. My specials today are a hot turkey sandwich or falafel. The soup is beef barley and we’ve got a great raspberry cheesecake for dessert if you’ve got room.” 

You know, just some nachos for now, thanks.

“Here you go. How’s everything tasting?”

[crunching] Real good, ya. But, you know, I’m starting to think this car is pretty complicated. I mean, how do you fix all these electronics when they break down?

“You just have to unplug the cord for 30 seconds and then plug it back in. No biggie.”

Well, you’ve given me a lot to think about, disembodied voice. Anything else I should know?

“You have 17 benign polyps in your colon.”

How do you know that?

“Don’t worry, you were sleeping.”

What?! Log off. Log off!

“Calling mom.”

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and co-hosts the podcast “Power in the Wilderness” on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 edition of the Mesabi Tribune.

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