“My husband spent a whopping $399 on the Pheromone Synchronizer to get our sex lives going again. He was so sure of it. Once and for all, we’d find our weekly optimal arousal moment. We wore the patented perspiration catchers—seriously, you need to wear a super-tight camisole with this one or you’ll end up looking like you have some kind of freaky, lumpy muffin top at the gym—and with only two weeks of data, we finally figured out what hour of what day we would be most physically attracted or attractive to one another. Apparently this can vary, rather widely, based on an aggregated data set, as opposed to just looking at your spouse and wondering if sex might be a go that night. Well, we found our day: a Friday nooner. Here’s the problem: His Charisma Aggregation for Financial Optimization App, the one free for download after watching 737 TED talks, indicated this would be the optimal day to finally ask his boss for a raise.”
“The problem started with a bug in the software. We’d been carefully calibrating our caloric and mineral intake since installing the Stool Analytic Meter in our Waste Excess Room. Everything had been going just fine. Really. The data got sent to the fridge, which analyzed the caloric, mineral and vitamin needs against the contents of our said fridge, and then sent the list via the cloud to the local grocer. The store then linked our commute data to the store’s logistics and operations database. The problem started when our pick-up got mixed up with the neighbors, octogenarians with a penchant for beet gardening. This caused our reading to get out of whack and we stopped getting enough potassium in everything else. That’s when the calve cramps started. We didn’t get the mix-up straightened out at the grocery drive-thru pick-up until six months into the year and it had already messed up John’s race times. It took another six months for him to get back on track to a new PR. How did we not know? I mean we hadn’t seen a banana for months!”
“When he dropped me off at high school last week, my dad gave me a hug, noting it was the 12,358 hug in my lifetime and based on the maximum optimization of intimacy for a father-daughter relationship, a threshold concept he’d developed based on sharing our hugging data with the other dads with teenager daughters in his self-hacker home group, which comprised a statistically anomalous 75.2% of the group—he was still trying to figure that one out—we only had 13 hugs left until I was 18. Really, I didn’t even want him to hug me! Joel was watching and it felt weird when we were making out later in his Tercel. And then even that got super weird. I started thinking about how many minutes we’d made out, even working up an algorithm for an optimal make-out session, debating the data-gathering methodologies I might deploy. Let’s just say Joel noticed how distracted I was. Stupidly, I told him what I was thinking. He mumbled something about locker-room talk and told me to get out.”
Whenever we were together, her Threshold Anxiety Level, a metric based on feeds from 10 biometric points gathered passively every 24 hours, I was the problem. No matter what I did, I couldn’t bring the TAL down. Every time I was in her presence, well, she didn’t know right away, but before bed when she pulled up the day’s spreadsheet on our flat-screen there was the evidence, staring us right in the face. We tested the levels with various actions—me cooking dinner, folding the laundry, and hanging those family photos that had been sitting in the basement workroom for the last three months. Nothing worked. We even tested scenarios within the Probability of Marital Change Matrix software program. The data just didn’t lie. It showed us what was wrong, well, at least it showed her eventually. She figured out Ben, her co-worker, well, whenever he was next to her, her TAL went south immediately, even when her overbearing supervisor was around. The data indicated this wasn’t just some loose correlation. I mean she started digging into data from five years back when Ben joined the office. The trend line was clear. Her TAL went down whenever Ben was around. At her annual LIFE REIMAGINED retreat with her circle of life-hacker girlfriends, she crowd sourced the decision. The data, again, was indisputable. Then came the lock-in. She met with our Life Coach/MD. He had determined that unless she could keep her TAL low, she would shave at least 10 years off of what he’d determined was her Optimized Potential Life Span. It was me or 10 more years of life with Ben.
Today marks day three of Fall Fiction week at the McSweeney’s store. We’re featuring a new fiction title every day—at a steep discount. Today’s seasonal delight is Adam Levin’s Hot Pink