By Mark Juric
It started, he thought, with the telegraph. “Technology strips luxury from language,” he could be heard saying on the days we could still understand him. “It squeezes thought into ever-shrinking spaces, so how and where you listen and watch,” he’d say before pausing and buffering “ha — ha — hahahahhahas — has become more important than content.”
On cloudy days, in rainstorms, and during heavy sunspot activity, static would stripe his voice in screeches like a misdialed fax, and his color would gather itself into great homogeneous squares in a shifting approximation of the man himself. “Oh no,” he’d wail on these days. “This just won’t d-d-d-d-d-d-do-EEEEEEEEEEEeee. I am quality! I will not be compromised for convenience.” But eventually, he would give in and carve the opulence from his words just to be heard. “Qlty!” he’d say. “nt jst somit 4 csual cnsmptn. lolz.”
Then one day during a terrible storm the power went out completely. His barstool was suddenly empty and we realized no one had ever backed up the pixilated man. Everything he’d ever done and everything he’d ever said disappeared completely. Once someone asked “whatever happened to…” But then the popcorn came by again and everyone grabbed another handful.