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If You Were 15 Inches Tall

2005-09-01

Category: philosophies

Here?s a thought experiment for you. It?s based on a short story I?m finishing wherein the main character awakes to find himself only fifteen inches tall. Eventually, he finds out that this has happened to everybody in the world. The finding out takes quite a bit of effort, as you can imagine.

The thought experiment is, what do you think you would go through in a similar circumstance? What if you woke up to find that you, your family, and your friends were suddenly action figure sized? How would you get around? How would you get the refrigerator open? Would your pet still recognize you as master or more as a snack?

One of the problems faced by the hero of my story is that his tiny vocal chords can no longer make sounds that his cell phone can pick up and deliver. His only contact with the world is his internet connection. That will only last as long as the automated power plant keeps pumping out the juice. Through hard work with the gigantic keyboard and mouse, he is eventually able to go online and talk with other Internet patrons. If you wanted to communicate to the world, how would you?

When he realizes there is no help coming, he has to plan for his long-term survival. One item of importance is getting out of his apartment. The lock on his door is too far up so he has to slowly cut a hole in the base of the door. Think about how you would get out of your dwelling. A pet door might come in handy, provided you could keep hungry things from also coming in.

Another dilemma with which he is faced is the lack of clothing. Though he shrank, his clothes did not. Lacking other skills, he put together a loin cloth and a poncho. This could be a dilemma if you found yourself a bit naked and at the mercy of a giant world. Ok, maybe some of you aren?t as concerned about clothing, but it gets a bit cold here in Iowa.

If you have dolls or action figures (same thing, there, I said it), then you could possibly borrow the clothes from them. If you?re a guy, you would get to run around in the latest, futuristic military fatigues just like G. I. Joe™. If you?re a gal, you would finally get to wear all of Barbie?s™ fashions. The tiara might come in handy. (The last statement was directed at the gals, Norman.)

Though a bit clich? in the ?shrinking? genre, my hero must deal with a large, crawly thing. What was an innocuous spider under the bed is suddenly a bit hostile. It?s much like dealing with an eight-legged schnauzer (my home town has a nuclear power plant). Are there any vermin in your home that would present a threat to a smaller you? Insects are bad enough, but what about mice?

How would you get around? Unlike me, my hero has no toys. He has no remote-control cars. He has nothing that could be used as a miniature vehicle. Do you have a way of covering the vast Living Room Plains? Would you be able to climb Back Stairs Mountain? If you really believe that your cat will wear a saddle?

The worst problem of all came when the hero realizes that he must use the toilet. Obviously he could not get to the commode, let alone climb into the appropriate position. I won?t tell you how he solved the dilemma. The question is, how would you handle the situations?

When he finally got on-line, the discussions followed tow primary threads. The first was about coping with the change. The second was wondering why it happened. Some thought it was an act of God. Others blamed space aliens. There were a few who thought the United States government had done it as part of some huge conspiracy. Do you have any idea which side you would take?

Try to think of this as a weekend assignment. Think about the problems you would have if you were suddenly doll sized. Think about what you would say and think. Think about how pissed you would be that you just bought a large screen television but now all televisions are large screened.


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