Alas, I must keep this truncated, as I had severe oral surgery today that replaced two entire teeth, and left my jaw in a state of day-long woe. It got me thinking, however, that the entire modern era is basically defined by firmware updates.
My surgery, which replaced teeth that had become insufficient for the task, is nothing more than a firmware update. I have decided to bring my mouth up to Teeth 3.0, as Teeth 2.7 was subject to painful rebooting. Tessa has had only one cavity in her life, and is still on Teeth 2.0, and the Lulubeans, of course, is beta-testing Teeth 0.9 – (she still has two left to go).
My mom’s hip replacement in 1993 was a firmware update on her body, as was the replacement in 2005. In 1993, the hip was guaranteed for twelve years and lasted that long; however, the new one is good for fifty due to upgrades in the hardware.
Any time you learn a new language, master a sport, learn to quiet your anger, work a miter saw or surf a wave, you are upgrading your firmware, and curiously, making it easier to upgrade more and more things. However, one rule remains steadfast: firmware upgrades are never painless for the thing being upgraded.
You must endure the misery of shame, and the almost-unbearable sublimation of your ego, when upgrading your firmware on racism, just as I had to bear pain to get my teeth revised. These things were never meant to be easy, but they are meant to be.
Geneticists used to think that 50% of your DNA was useless junk, but a groundbreaking study has rewritten the rule books. In those vast stretches of the genetic code, we possess tons of traits that don’t seem to have any use now, but they could be called upon if the going gets tough, or if our environment changes radically. In other words, built into our genetic code is an infinity of firmware updates.
Like fire extinguishers and iodine radiation tablets, you hope you never have to use those traits, but it’s sure comforting to know they’re there. There are some chaotic shifts in our operating system I could do without, but I’m glad to know we were all born with the flexibility of endless upgrading.