Full Disclosure

Daily Post, 16 July 2014

A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?

Oh yeah, I’m a used car salesman. I’m game. I need to know what people are thinking. I stretch out on his sofa while he inserts his Full Disclosure chip in the back of my neck. It stings a little, kind of like a flu shot. That quick it’s over. But it’s certainly not forgotten.

Closing my eyes, I visualize that I’m sitting on a bench at a frog pond during courting season. I hear nothing but a dull roar. I complain.

“Sorry, Charlie. That was part of the deal. We can’t take it out. Pretty soon the battery will loose some of its charge and the noise will become meaningful voices.”

No amount of pleading will cause him to remove it.

That’s no deal at all. How am I supposed to earn a living in the meantime, I wonder.

Fresh out of options, I drop in on another friend, an audio engineer/fabricator. He builds working models of stuff in hopes of patenting something.

He took me into his work shop and with a special microphone he’s designing he is able to hear what I hear. I share with him the mad scientist’s notion that the noise will be more tolerable in a month or so. And I see a spark in his eye.

“Lay down on my work bench,” he says, pushing aside a signal generator, an oscilloscope, and a pile of spare electronic components. “I’m going to parallel a 33 ohm resistor across those battery leads and drop some of that voltage. This might sting a little” he adds.

He’s right, and I clinch my fists to keep from moving as he does the job.

“How’s that?” he asks, pressing his microphone agains my neck

“Wow. Much better, but the voices are still pretty mushy.”

“Hang on. I’m going to try a 66 ohm resister.”

I cringe, but in a few seconds he’s finished.

“Can you hear me now?”

He’s not speaking the words. He’s thinking them while he backs away. After he is more than five feet away I hear nothing but silence.

“Perfect!”

The following day I step onto the used car lot early. I only hear the folk’s thoughts who are near me, the tire kickers. I field every objection before they can open their mouths. I’m selling cars faster than finance can do the paperwork. It’s a hoot!

The following day my engineer friend drops by to see how I’m doing.

“You wouldn’t believe it! I got a fellow in my office yesterday who was going to play along until he learned the size of the payments. I heard him getting ready to tell me he had to go home and talk to his wife. Before he could say anything, I made a big show of dropping my pencil on the desk and rolled my chair back and smiled.

“We really get some spineless jokers in here. Only yesterday a fellow told me he needed to buy a car, but then when it came time to buy it he told me he needed to go home and ask his wife. Can you imagine a grown man having to ask his wife if he can buy a car?

“He never had a chance. I bet her eyes popped out when she saw those payments.”

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