The evolution of a man

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

He stuck out his lone, bony index finger and touched the screen.

The last centuries had seen the gradual receding and eventual disappearance of the other three appendages, due to lack of use. Only the thumb and index remained, the latter used only rarely for grasping. In fact, the index itself was now transformed into a slender, barely bendable “pointer” that had lengthened but lost its once unique accessory know as the “fingernail.”

Gabriel Henderson sat, fixated, staring at the screen, his right arm moving, touching, scrolling. His eyes, like everyone’s, had become smaller, rounder, more glassed over as their lone focus was never more than two feet away. Distance vision had vanished entirely, as the necessity for such capability was replaced entirely by an endless display of options at his fingertip.

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Gabe shifted in his seat and entered the phrase “2013 humans.” Staring at the screen, the apparent differences intrigued him. The human displayed on his screen possessed an outlet just below the nose, the “mouth” as it had been labeled back then.

The need for verbal communication had long ago been displaced by screen technology and one’s dietary needs were now satisfied completely intravenously.

As a result, the mouth, through generations, had decreased in size and scope such that it eventually grew over completely. Gabe thought it seemed a cumbersome mechanism with its multiple configurations.

Likewise, he discovered, as humans left their technology-controlled habitats less and less, and eventually not at all, the legs grew shorter and shorter over time. The need for movement just ceased to exist. Any destination desired could be reached vicariously, with much less effort, by a simple touch of the screen.

And so, what were two legs became two stumps, and what were two stumps withdrew into the torso and faded away completely.

So there sat Gabe, lipless, mouthless, legless, pointing his one good finger at the screen, sliding it across the surface with ease, his every desire at his command — what food he wanted to enter his veins, whatever place he wanted to visit, conversing with whomever he chose, all while sitting on his stump of a torso in a 73-degree, low-humidity room.

Isn’t progress great?