Monday, 28 January 2013

The (w)hole in the wall truth

Is language an adequate medium through which to laud the dazzling wonders of our Information Age? I was especially impressed last week to find that one ATM in Hertford had broadened the range of articles it dispenses beyond the mundanities of cash and balance slips into pithy, if somewhat cynical observations concerning this complex web of phenomena we call our life on earth.

On the evening in question this new service took the form of the following piece of advice:


Given that this message emanated from a multi-national corporate uber-globule (I'm sure the designation is technically correct), we must surely rule out the possibility that an apostrophe is missing from 'strangers', and therefore conclude that I was being advised to reject, without qualification, the proposition that those unknown to us can render any form of real assistance.  This, of course, places the Hertford cash facility -  as a social and moral philosopher - in opposition to such luminaries as Tennessee Williams and The Bible, but then again when did they last provide anyone with  £20.00 and a list of their most recent transactions.

I waited for some time to see if the machine might either expand upon or add to this nugget, so that I would leave further enriched in mind and spirit as well as wallet, but - although it waxed eloquent on index-tethered isa compounds and double-indemnified mortgage bonds (more or less), no further mechanical Montaigne moments occurred.  I was hoping it might have enlightened me on the paradox of light being a wave and a particle, or even advised me to 'neither a borrower nor a lender be', which would have been amusingly ironic, but alas, it was not the case.

I waved a sad farewell to my Aphoristic Trivia Machine and strode off to encounter the 16.39 to Stevenage, bristling with a new propensity to shun the assistance of anyone to whom I had not been properly introduced.

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